Thursday, May 21, 2015

Compare and Contrast - a review of three online ticketing sites in Australia


School disco action.
This is for Australian readers of my blog who may be involved in organisations that have to run events for fundraising - or just run ticketed events, or any event where you have to keep track of who has paid and how much money you have made.

Having been involved in a few functions for my school's P&C, I think that one of the most labour intensive parts of any function is ticketing, where you can't just directly sell tickets but have to send home information about how to purchase tickets remotely. From the flyer (designing, printing, sorting, distributing) to the tickets (designing, printing, colating, cutting) to receipt of cash and completed forms (money getting lost on way, wrongly completed forms with illegible names etc), or matching forms to bank deposits (snore!), then distributing tickets (cross matching deposits and cash with names, physically distributing ticket) to getting tickets from children into parents' hands ("Hello, we paid, but don't have tickets? What do we do?"), to depositing cash at the bank... it's a hassle.

Using an online site, it will cost a little bit of money on top of the ticket price, but when you are in a situation where volunteers with time to do the ticketing function are short on the ground, it's a way of equitably sharing the "cost" (in $ rather than time). 

There are 3 online ticketing sites I have investigated:

1. Eventbrite
2. StickyTickets and
3. TryBooking

Each site will allow credit card payments, and will tabulate ticket purchase details, including details of purchaser (so you can have a contact name for each ticket sold). (As I typed all this I wished I knew Excel and I could plug all the figures into a spreadsheet which would calculate the on-costs of any price ticket....)

Here are the prices for comparison:
Eventbrite
http://help.eventbrite.com.au/customer/en_au/portal/articles/428604

Eventbrite charges 2.5% of the ticket price plus AU$0.99 per ticket, plus a 3.5% payment processing fee in Australian dollars. Pay with Visa, Mastercard or PayPal. Can absorb or pass on costs (although can't absorb PayPal costs) or chose to absorb some and pass on some.

A $10 ticket will therefore cost $10 x 2.5% = $10.25 + 99c = $11.24 + ($11.24 x 3.5% = 39c) = $11.63 (or, if you absorb the costs, the organiser collects only $8.37).
(Calculations for $20 ticket - $20 x 2.5% = $20.50 + 99c = 21.49 + (21.49 x 3.5% = .75c) = $22.24 [Or organiser collects $17.76 if they absorb all the costs.])

There's a suggestion that not for profit organisations could get it for less -  "If your organization is recognized by the government as a nonprofit, you can apply for lowers fees on your events." - http://help.eventbrite.com.au/customer/en_au/portal/articles/428887-can-my-charity-get-lower-fees-for-our-events-

but the terms "non profit" and "charitable" are used interchangeably - and they are not the same thing - so it is not entirely clear which organisations will qualify (eg our P&C is a not-for-profit organisation, not a charitable organisation).

StickyTickets

The site offers a flat fee of $1.50 per ticket for tickets up to $24.99. You can decide whether to absorb this cost in your ticket pricing or pass it on to the purchaser. The site accepts Visa and Mastercard, but charges more for AMEX. No PayPal.

So for a ticket at $10, you could charge $10 and keep $8.50 or we could change $10.50 and keep $9, or pass on the full cost and charge $11.50.

(A $20 ticket - $21.50)

In addition, they offer a 10% rebate of fees charged for "not for profits" but you have to agree to display their logo on your web page. (https://www.stickytickets.com.au/community-clubs-ticketing-rebate)

TryBooking
http://www.trybooking.com/html/pricing.shtml

Different structure again - 30c per ticket cost for purchasers (which the organiser could absorb by dropping the ticket price by 30c), then organisers get charged a percentage fee plus a fee per transaction - not per ticket! So may work out more cost effective:

For a $10 ticket, the purchaser will pay $10.30 ($10 + 30c). The organiser is charged 2.1% of $10 = 21c + 50c per transaction - so the organiser collects ($10 - 71c) $9.29. Only Visa and Mastercard credit card payments; Amex attracts extra fees.

(For a $20 ticket, organiser collects $20 - [2.1% of $20 = 42c + 50c] = $19.08.)

Any way you dice it, TryBooking would seem to be the most cost effective site. Interestingly, it is used by two public schools in Perth - both Perth Modern School and John Curtin Senior High School - for ticket sales to their performances, so the site must be safe and secure.

Always be upfront, though, about whether you are passing on booking fees or not. I hate to see event advertised at "$25" but then once booking fees are added it's closer to a $30 ticket price!

3 comments:

  1. A very interesting comparison that I am sure will be useful to many organisations. As a parent, I'd be quite happy to pay the additional dollar or so for the convenience of online ticketing. It's much easier than finding the scrunched up note in the bottom of the schoolbag at the last minute, scrounging husband's pockets for change, making sure child remembers to give the money to the teacher etc. I bet the teachers would welcome it too. Great idea!

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  2. Hi Bronwyn, great article - it will help a lot of people :-) I will post a link to it on my website www.fundraisingdirectory.com.au Take care, Mandy

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