If you are considering event ticketing solutions, it is useful to consider what form you want to provide your tickets in. Traditionally, event organizers only needed to think about one form of ticket – the traditional card-stock ticket. Even just a few years ago, selling tickets online meant allowing the transaction to occur online, but delivering the actual ticket in an offline way – through mail or Will Call pickup.
Today, there are different types of ticketing solutions such as print-on-plain-paper, print-at-home and mobile.
Different event ticketing solutions have different capabilities with respect to the multiple forms of tickets. Some handle the traditional card-stock, but not the others. Alternatively, there are mobile ticketing companies emerging that do not provide any type of hard-copy ticket. Therefore, when selecting a ticketing system, it is useful to think about the ticket itself, what role it plays, and what form you want it to take for your clientele.
Let’s look at this question from both the event organizer’s and the ticket buyer’s perspective.
Event Organizer’s Perspective
First, a ticket is a proof of payment – evidence that the buyer paid for admission and has the right to attend the event. Traditional tickets, print-at-home and mobile tickets all serve this purpose equally well.
Second, a ticket is a platform on which the event organizer can deliver a message. Types of messages delivered on tickets include the event name, the venue address, special instructions or disclaimers. Traditional and print-at-home tickets serve this purpose well; mobile tickets, less so.
A ticket can also serve as a billboard on which to show an advertisement, if desired. Many venues have recognized the appeal of their audiences to advertisers, and have decided to allow advertising on the ticket. Again, traditional tickets and print-at-home tickets serve this purpose well, but advertising is difficult to present on mobile tickets.
Finally, the ticket gives the event organizer a method of checking in the patron. Checking in serves the purpose of ensuring the ticket is used only once and provides a record of attendance for the event. All forms of tickets play this role well.
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Ticket Buyer’s Perspective
When evaluating event ticketing solutions, you will want to also consider the ticket buyer’s perspective. Again, a ticket is proof of payment, yielding the right to be admitted to the event. All forms of tickets play this role well.
Second, buyers refer to tickets for instructions on date, time, venue location, and of course, section, row and seat number. Traditional and print-at-home tickets serve this requirement well, but it is more difficult to provide such information in a mobile ticket.
Buyers view a ticket also as an asset that can be transferred to someone else. Perhaps they bought it as a gift, or perhaps they can no longer attend the event and wish to sell the ticket. All forms of tickets can be transferred, but of course, transferring a mobile ticket requires the recipient to have the required mobile device.
Some event ticketing solutions require patrons to present the credit card that was used to purchase the mobile ticket. Such a requirement restricts the ability for a customer to give the ticket to someone else – frustrating your patrons.
Finally, many buyers view the ticket as a memento of the occasion. Some will put their tickets in a prominent place (e.g. posted on the fridge) prior to the event so they can look at them and joyfully anticipate the good time. And many will keep the stub at least for some period of time afterwards as a reminder of the good time. I uncovered the following quote on a discussion board: “I have every ticket stub to every event I’ve attended for the past 20 years“. Traditional tickets, because of the quality, play this role best; mobile tickets do not serve this need.
It is useful when assessing new ticketing systems or new forms of ticketing to consider these various roles played by the ticket. For example, if you embracing mobile at the expense of hard copy causes, you may lose the benefits of hard copy. On the other hand, ignoring mobile runs the risk of alienating those folks who are doing more and more on their smartphones.
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