December 11, 2006

Tell Me What It Costs

There are two ways to sell tickets. The first way is to set a price, charge that price to customers, and then pay all the interested parties (performer, venue, ticket seller, etc.) their share. The second way is to set a price for the performance and then tack on fees for the venue, ticket seller, etc.

The first way is clean, fully operational, and easy to understand. Tickets are $40. OK. Here is $40. Thank you for the ticket. Tickets show up or are printed out and you stick them up on the refrigerator or bulletin board, eying them in anticipation for weeks. See you at the show. Everyone understands what the ticket is worth. Everyone understands that all the details are included.

The second way is overtly capitalistic. Tickets are $23. Facility fee is $6.75. Ticket seller "convenience" fee is $5.25. Shipping is $3.00. Printing the tickets directly, right now, is $5.00. Greed, confusion, and miscommunication are included - free. What other charges are going to come up by the time the show starts?

Selling tickets the first way shows thought and foresight. The second tactic demonstrates that a line has been drawn between creating a customer-centered experience and creating an easy to manage ledger for the promoter.

When in doubt, easier is easier.