Online Ticketing Systems: Is Ticketfly a Better Ticketing Alternative?

Are you in the midst of a search for an incredible online ticket booking system that offers your performing arts organization all of the features that you need at a price that you can afford? Look no further – I’m here to help!

This is my fourth instalment in a review of online ticket booking systems. So far we’ve taken a look at Eventbrite, Brown Paper Tickets, and Vendini. Today we’ll be focussing on San Francisco-based ticketing company, Ticketfly.

With an aim to make it “easy to discover events, buy tickets, and share events with your friends – all with world-class technology and customer support,” Ticketly has been tackling the event ticketing industry one acquisition at a time since it’s inception in 2009. Last week I wrote of their recent Canadian acquisition of Northern Tickets, so I figured it was prime time to take a closer look at how they operate and what they’re offering their venue and promoter partners.

Online Ticketing System Cost
After much searching, it was determined impossible to establish an actual fixed pricing scheme for partnering with Ticketfly. Capterra lists the starting price at $100/month, but not much more information could be found. What I did find was a lot of conflicting accounts of Ticketfly’s approach to service and order processing fees. For example, their support page regarding fees states that they try to be as transparent as possible during the purchasing process, meaning that these fees are clearly shown to potential purchasers prior to purchase confirmation.

Image via Epsos

That being said there have been reports of exorbitant service charges from 2010 right through to 2014. For example, in 2010 Korr Values wrote an open letter to Ticketfly regarding an $8.75 service charge on a ticket with a $20 face value. A prompt reply from Ticketfly explained that they don’t collect on the face value of the ticket, so essentially the extra fees are what keep them in operation. The letter closes by saying that “Ticketfly does not claim to be the cheapest ticketing alternative, but we are striving to be the better ticketing alternative.”

Call me crazy, but a service charge of almost 50% of the face value of the ticket does not sound like a better ticketing alternative. Curious if anything had changed, I set up a purchasing account to see what their service fees are now.

My first “purchase” was for The Good Lovelies, playing Cameco Capitol Arts Centre in Port Hope, Ontario:

The posted ticket price was $28.25 CAD.
There didn’t appear to be any service or ordering fees, even at the final purchasing confirmation screen.
Perhaps they have managed to work with this particular partner to build the fees into the purchasing price?

My second “purchase” was for Sufjan Stevens, playing Massey Hall in Toronto, Ontario:

The posted ticket price was $45.50 CAD.
Upon arriving at the final purchasing confirmation screen I saw that $14.55 CAD of extra fees had been added to my purchase, bringing the grand total up to $60.05 CAD.
Yikes! These extra fees boosted the total cost by almost 33% from the original face value.

While the cost of partnering with Ticketfly might vary from venue to venue, it seems fairly clear that their extra fees – which are subsequently passed on to patrons – are quite high.
Online Ticketing System Features
Ticketfly prides themselves in offering a “one-stop-shop” technology – with Ticketfly Backstage their partners will find an “entire suite of ticketing, website, social marketing, email, and analytics tools.” Their partners are also provided custom websites that are built and hosted by Ticketfly, and automatically update as a partner edits or adds event information to their Ticketfly Backstage account.

Ticketfly is also very focussed on providing easy, automatic social media integration, so all of their events automatically display a Facebook RSVP box and commenting, as well as a slew of social sharing options.

Image via Khalid Albaih

What Ticketfly doesn’t offer is box office management, concessions management, custom tickets, or fundraising management. The lack of these particularly popular features among performing arts venues is cause alone to rethink whether Ticketfly is a good option for your community theater or high school performing arts education program.
The Bottom LineImage via Guian Bolisay

While Ticketfly does offer a number of impressive technological applications and uses, we just can’t get over the very big question mark surrounding the service and order processing fees. If there are going to be extra fees passed on to your patrons that should be very clearly stated prior to reaching the final purchase screen. Period. End of story.

Of course, we think that you should also consider our own ticketing system, TicketPeak. Call us biased, but we truly believe that our system holds it own against our competitors and offers feature-rich software at a very reasonable and cost-effective price-point.And check popular weekly ads:
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Are you interested in learning more? Click here to find more information about TicketPeak and how it works!

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