Welcome to our bonus lesson of our event starter course! At the end of this lesson you'll have a solid understanding of how to decide on and set ticket prices that are relevant for your event.
This lesson is an extension of our Quicket Event Starter Course and covers everything you should consider before setting your ticket prices.
Feel free to use this lesson in any order that makes sense to you - there's a fair bit of info about what to consider regarding your ticket prices. That said, we do encourage that you give some thought to all the aspects mentioned here. If tickets aren't selling, it may mean the price is not right for your audience.
Before we start, a reminder that you can still edit almost everything later and use this course as a reference as you flesh out your event on Quicket, so if you’re unsure of certain details regarding your tickets or ticket prices, don’t let that hold you back. However note that once a ticket is sold for a ticket type, you can't edit the price of the ticket type.
Think of all the things
Deciding on a price for your tickets is no small matter. If tickets to an event aren’t selling, a big contributing factor is that the price is not right for the audience and the value being offered.
We can’t tell you an exact price for your tickets, but we can give you a how-to guide - both for crunching the numbers and to make sure everything is factored in. So how do you set a ticket price that covers your costs, leaves you with enough profit as intended, and doesn’t scare your potential ticket buyers away to give you the best chance of selling out?
First, you need to know everything that will impact the cost of your tickets: from what it costs to make the event happen, to the value that someone would get from it, to the time of year it’s planned for. Get a pen and notebook or take digital notes, and take some time to gather the info for all these factors. Write them down. You'll need this not only for your own reference, but for the rest of this lesson.
Set a budget. List out all the expenses your event will have and be sure to include costs such as marketing expenses and your ticketing fees! (Quicket has no contracts and no setup fees. We only charge on every ticket sold, so free tickets are free. If you want a refresher on Quicket’s fees, jump back to lesson 1 of this event starter course. And contact us for volume discounts for larger events.)
Tip: Our ticket price calculation tool later in this lesson covers what you’ll be charged by Quicket, and some crucial info that you need to know about VAT. You can skip ahead and get an idea of your budget first then come back to this section, or use the tool later on in the lesson instead.
Do you have any other sources of income for the event that may increase the budget you have available? Any sponsors on board?
Find out the legal capacity of your venue and set a realistic max capacity for your event. The rule of thumb here is one square meter per person. Don’t forget to include the bar, the stage and other structures that will take up space on the day.
Competition doesn't just refer to other events. Where are people financially in the year? Has Christmas and New Year just happened? There is a reason people call the first month of the year Janu-worry. People might not be able to splash out on a ticket - regardless of how amazing your event is - if they have already reached the bottom of their bank accounts by the time it rolls around. What date in the month is your event? Having an event just before pay day may make your last few days of ticket sales fall flat as people don't have money just before pay day.
What other events are happening around the same time? Are any of them similar? Would their audience take away from yours? If yes, make a note of which events these are. Find out how much their tickets are selling for and what it includes. Write this all down - you’ll use it in the next section of this lesson to measure your event up to your competition before you price your tickets.
Your event’s value.
What value are you offering your ticket buyers? Can you justify the price by what’s included in the ticket? If you charge people an arm and a leg for an event that cost you nothing to put on, people will catch on. On the other hand, if you’ve spent good money on getting the best of the best, be sure to make people aware of that fact. When you get to marketing your event, sell this hard on all of your marketing platforms and show people the value they are getting for their money.
If this is the first time you’re running an event or a new brand of event, it’s important to make your attendees feel good about spending their hard earned cash on tickets to your event. Since no one has any previous experience with what you are offering, you’ll want to make sure the first experience is a positive and memorable one that can enhance your brand image.
Remember, affordable tickets aren’t reason enough for people to buy - you need to give your market a reason to commit. In the next section we'll use all this info to measure your event's value.
Comparatively rate your event’s value
Pricing is all about getting into the head of your customers. It comes down to the value of what you’re offering your attendees, and how that matches up to your competitors. A lot of event organisers simply work on per ticket cost, but the most successful organisers assess the value they’re offering and increase or decrease their ticket prices from there - keeping budget in mind, of course.
Set aside some time and follow these next steps to rest assured that you’re taking a look at your event’s value properly. It’s important to be very honest with yourself here - your price needs to reflect the value you’re offering.
First, select your 3 top competitor events that you noted in the previous section.
Depending on the nature of your event, not all of these will be relevant, but use this as a guide to start. Consider each item noted here in case you’ve missed anything, leave out any irrelevant points, and add any additional event-specific value props that we might not have touched on.
Location & Venue.
- Is your venue interesting? Does it stand out from other spaces? ✨ More and more people seek out events with venues that are different to more traditional spaces.
- Is your venue easy to get to? By public transport as well as car? Does it have sufficient parking? ✨ Your event will be less appealing the harder it is to get to.
- Is it accessible to everyone who might attend? Is it wheelchair friendly? Does it have disabled parking? ✨ It's important that your attendees feel catered for.
- Do you know whether people are willing to pay for your event? Is there a demand for it? ✨ Even if your event is based close to your target market - for example in Stellenbosch as opposed to Cape Town City Centre - it might not be close enough to the demand to be viable.
- Is the city you're planning your event in a destination location? Is there anything else in the area that would be an extra incentive for people to travel to the city that your event is located? ✨ Things such as attractions add value it more likely that interested people will become actual attendees.
VIP & Other Offerings.
- Have you set up early access options? ✨ Early access benefits both you and your attendees: it brings you more revenue from those who would like to pay more to get into your event early, and brings more value to your attendees that care about arriving ahead of the masses.
- Does your event have any type of special or exclusive access offerings? ✨ Some attendees look for VIP tickets and are willing to pay even double the standard ticket price to get access to benefits such as VIP-only areas, shared lounges with your speakers or performers, etc.
- Do you have any offerings that include free drinks? ✨ A lot of people value being able to enjoy an event while not having to worry about needing to pay for each drink. The festival world is a good example here: almost half of festival-goers would pay an extra 50% of their ticket price for this offering.
Partners, Food & Beverages.
- Do you have any food offerings? Who are your food vendors? Are any of them draw cards? ✨ You might think that it doesn't make much of a difference, but think twice before you roll with that assumption. Aside from people being hungry and needing sustenance to enjoy your event, food & drink event attendees are 65% more likely to go if there are unusual or interesting food options or ingredients.
- What drinks offerings does your event have? Do you have anything unexpected or unusual? Will you have an expert onsite that can chat to your attendees about what you're offering? ✨ More than half of people attending beer or a wine festivals are looking to learn something from an expert.
- Are you catering for various dietary requirements? And for those who don't drink alcohol? ✨ In addition to having variety in the options that you offer to cater to different tastes, it's crucial that you have options for people who are vegetarian, vegan, sober, gluten intolerant, etc.
- Have you partnered with any local causes, non-profits, or sponsors that are philanthropic? ✨ A large portion of our world shares the outlook that in order to make an impact, people from all walks of life - different places, income brackets, of different genders and ages - need to collaborate and come together. Transparent partnering with a cause will leave your attendees feeling good and impact positively on the world around you.
Lineup & Headliners.
- What's the reputation of your headliners like? Will your lineup of speakers, presenters, teachers or artists draw your potential attendees? ✨ For a potential customer, this is a huge part of deciding whether to attend something and book a ticket or not. If people don't know anyone who you're advertising as part of your event, they're significantly less likely to attend.
- Do the main people on your lineup have a large social media following? How does this compare to your competitor's entertainment? ✨ A good sized following is brimming with potential attendees, regardless of whether your lineup has big names in it or not. Having your headliners recommend the event goes a long way - in the festival world, more than half of attendees find out about where their favourite artist is performing from the artist's own social channels.
- Has anyone from your lineup had any recent press mentions or news coverage? Was your event and their involvement mentioned in this? ✨ Radio and TV are also big touch points for attendees to find out about events. How your event is mentioned - and how often - will help you gauge your event's value. There are tools you can use that will help you track and see what's trending. Feedly or Google Trends are basic and free, or BuzzSumo is a more advanced paid option. Try out a few to see which option fits your needs best.
- Are you using ticket scanning? Or any ticketing tech for checking people in to your event? ✨ You could have planned the most awesome experience for your guests but none of it will matter if they have to wait in long queues. Regardless of how wonderful their time is inside, they'll remember those lines they stood in and most likely broadcast their negative experience on their social channels. The best way to avoid this is to get rid of manual paper guest lists and instead use freely-available and easy-to-use tech to streamline your access control.
- Do you have solutions for how to make onsite payments at your event as fast as possible? Are you using various payment options for your vendor setups? ✨ Particularly if your event has many different vendors (whether they're food, drinks or merchandise vendors or even your at-the-door ticket sales) - you need to ensure your guests don't spend all their time at your event in queues to buy things instead of enjoying themselves. Have a variety of payment options to cater to everyone (e.g. cash, credit cards, mobile payment such as Snapscan and Zapper). Even better, get in touch with us to run a contactless setup using Yoco devices - these are a lot faster than traditional credit card machines, require no paper, and are enabled with the RFID tech that's embedded in most South African bank cards - your attendees can just tap and go.
Lastly, once you’ve gathered all the above info, refer to the following guide to compare your event’s value to that of your competitors. There are a few scenarios that could play out here. Read below and make adjustments as needed. After this you should have a clear idea of the value of your standard ticket price.
What to do: This is great! You have an advantage over your competitors. Check your ticket sales. If your tickets are selling out this means that the value you’re delivering is at a price people are willing to pay. But if ticket sales are low, you should lower your ticket prices.
What to do: There’s potential money that you’re leaving behind here. Raise your ticket prices to be sure you’re not under-charging for the awesome value you’re offering.
What to do: Either find three more ways that you can increase the value of your event, or lower what you’re charging for your tickets.
What to do: Look for ways that you can increase the value you’re offering. Once you’ve bulked up your event’s value, reassess your pricing once more. Once way you can do this is by surveying your target market of potential attendees to see if the new price you’ve set matches what people perceive the value to be.
What to do: Your event’s voice will need to be louder than that of your competitor’s. Ramp up your marketing to make it clear to potential ticket buyers what value they’ll get from the event. It’s also effective to run competitions, and connect with social influencers and promoters. Read more about Quicket’s promoter network here - it’s a great feature that lets you easily track and compensate your promoters for their respective ticket sales.
What to do: It’s always good to have competitive prices, but it could really benefit your event if your audience is willing to pay more. Don’t be shy to raise your prices.
Set your ticket prices
For each of the tickets you’re planning to set up, you'll need a ticket price. Of course, this question is already answered for any free tickets, or donation collections that you’re running, since free tickets are - well, free - and donation amounts are set by the people donating.
Whether your event is simple and you plan to have just one type of ticket, or whether you plan on having tiers and different types of tickets - you'll need to know what the minimum amount is that you need to charge per ticket before you get to deciding on various prices.
Your minimum required ticket price.
As a starting point, you need to know the minimum amount to charge per ticket to cover your costs and clear the amount you want to clear.
You should now have more than enough info to be clear on the value of your event and what you need your ticket price to cover. With a clear idea of your expenses, you’ll be able to make use of our ticket price calculation tool, which you could use to help work out your minimum viable ticket price.
The tool is a spreadsheet in which you'll add some of the info you noted down in the previous sections, and acts as an indicator to assist with potential profit and loss on ticket sales, as well as assisting in working out a ticket price that covers costs adequately. It calculates a recommended standard ticket price for you, taking your VAT, and the VAT on the Quicket fee into account as well. Note: it should not be used as a final accounting tool.
Here’s the basic info you’ll need on hand to use the tool. If you don’t have the needed info, go back in this lesson to follow our guide for gathering this information.
- Total venue capacity
- Total amount you want to clear (what you you need to make your event happen)
The following is also useful to have if it's relevant to your event:
- Total amount you're getting from sponsorships
- Projected profit from bar sales
- Buy in amount from vendors that will be trading at your event
- How many vendors you'll have
Ready to head back?
Once you've got that baseline per ticket number, continue with lesson 4 for structuring and setting up your tickets on Quicket.
The rest of this starter course will walk you through the event creation, giving you more information about the crucial parts that you need to be aware of. We will also highlight all of the options available to you during this initial setup and help make sure your event setup is perfect for selling tickets smoothly.
Ready to head back to lesson 4? Click here.
Nina is the Marketing Manager for Quicket and is passionate about growing a community of event organisers into one that is empowered to create incredible experiences. An event organiser herself, she’s also worked across brand marketing, social media, and in the non-profit world. She’s a burner (AfrikaBurn) at heart, an avid baker, loves a good hug, and cooking dinner for friends over a glass of good wine.