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Apr 03, 2024 · 1 min read

The truth behind online ticketing fees

The truth behind online ticketing fees

If you’ve ever found yourself looking to ticket an event online, it’s near certain you’ve bumped into a perhaps unexpected expense – namely, ticketing platform fees.

If you’re not careful, these fees can end up eating a hefty chunk of your ticket revenue – we’ve seen some ticketing providers taking up to 10%. And even if a platform claims to have lower fees, this isn’t always the full story. Many charge extra to use basic features, or even fees to run free events!

It’s also important to consider the full cost of ticketing your event, including handling payments. Many ticketing providers require you to use a third-party payment processor only, such as Stripe, PayPal or Square, with no other option – adding an additional cost that’s often not mentioned in their headline fees. And whilst this can be advantageous in some cases, it also introduces more admin hassle for you as an event organiser.

So, sit back as we take a dive into the truth behind online ticketing fees – the ins and outs that can be both enlightening and frustrating. We’ll also share plenty of tips and tricks on how you can make your event ticketing budget friendly.

Here's what you'll need to consider:

  • 1. Ticketing platform fees
  • 2. Mythbusting payment processing
  • 3. Contracts, upfront fees and subscriptions
  • 4. Additional fees for features

Ticketing platform fees

The ticketing platform fee is the fee you’ll see advertised on a platform’s website. This cost covers the day-to-day running of the ticketing platform – such as customer service, hosting your booking pages and future development of the booking platform. Some ticketing platforms will also include payment processing as part of this fee.

Different platforms, of course, have different ways of presenting these fees. There can also be significant differences between what’s included – from no payment processing, excluding VAT and additional charges for basic features to all-inclusive platforms like TryBooking.

When choosing your ticketing platform, it’s important to check the asterisks and compare the functionality offered for the cost. For example, whilst a platform with a flat ticket fee may seem cheaper on the face of it, you’ll often end up paying more after you’ve setup your payment processing and included VAT.

It’s also worth considering whether you’re going to absorb fees within your ticket price or pass them on to your ticket purchasers. If you’re planning the latter, you’ll want to pick a platform that includes payment processing – as third-party payment processing platforms won’t let you pass these fees on.

Keep an eye on those pesky upfront fees. Big multinational platforms, such as Eventbrite, now charge additional fees depending on the number of tickets you’re planning to sell – even for free events. Other platforms, require you to pay up front to receive the best value ticket fees. Consider looking at British players, such as TryBooking, that don’t charge any upfront fees – and often provide more functionality, too.

Mythbusting payment processing

There’s plenty of myths about the best options for processing ticketing payments. Some ticketing platforms will say that built in payment processing prevents you from getting the best rates, whilst others will say that using a third-party processor is more costly overall.

The truth is, whilst each option does have its advantages, the best option is entirely dependent on your event setup and pricing. Here’s some guidance on how to pick the best option for your event.

Consider using built in payment processing if:

  • You’re running an event with lower ticket prices. The percentage fee offered by ticketing platforms can often be lower than the mixed fees incurred using a third-party payment processor separately.
  • You want to pass all fees onto the ticket purchaser. You can often pass on the full cost of using the ticketing platform to your guest, but third-party payment platforms don’t offer this option.
  • You want to simplify managing payments. Using a third-party processor introduces additional responsibilities, such as managing payment disputes (chargebacks). If you’re using built in payment processing, this is handled by the ticketing platform.
  • You want to offer multiple payment options. Whilst nearly all payment processors provide the option to accept card payments, using a third-party processor may mean you’re not able to offer other options such as PayPal.

Consider using third-party payment processing if:

  • You’re running an event with higher ticket prices: The lower percentage fee offered by third-party payment processors plus ticketing fee can be cheaper than the all-inclusive booking fee charged when using built-in payment processing.
  • You want to receive all funds immediately. There’s plenty of costs involved in running an event, and these need to be paid. Most ticketing platforms offering built-in processing don’t allow you to receive funds until the event has passed.
  • You’re already using a third-party processor. If you’re already handling payments through a processor such as Stripe or PayPal, it may be easier for your finances to process payments using a single platform.

Some ticketing platforms will only allow you to handle payments through them, whilst others force you to use a third-party processor such as Stripe. If you’re using TryBooking, you can use both a built-in and/or Stripe processing depending on your needs.

If your event schedule varies in price, take a look at using a platform that allows you to process payments through both methods. This means you’re not paying more than you need to sell tickets – meaning more money to run your event!

And don’t forget; look beyond the headline fees! Companies that don’t include payment processing can look better value than they actually are – always check to see if the platform includes processing and include third-party payment processing rates if they don’t. Here are some popular ones:

Stripe processing fees

PayPal processing fees

Contracts, upfront fees and subscriptions

Ever heard of lock-in contracts? Whilst they may look better value on the surface, look deeper and you’ll find yourself trapped in a maze of fees.

Some major ticketing companies strike deals with venues and event organisers to secure exclusive ticketing rights, but this often results in higher ticketing fees for attendees. It's a scenario that can stifle competition and limit choices.

More recently, we have seen some major players introduce fees dependent on how many people are attending the event. For example, in addition to having some of the highest ticketing fees in the industry, Eventbrite now charge a flat fee to host an event with more than 25 attendees.

This means, if you’re hosting an event for 100 people, you’re paying either a flat fee of £7.99 per event or forced to sign up to a £19 per month subscription. It’s just another reason why so many event organisers are looking for an alternative.

Remember, there are plenty of options which don’t charge these fees or lock you into contracts, including TryBooking.

Additional fees for features

Not all ticketing fees are created equal – the devil is in the detail, so it’s important to check for all ugly hidden fees.

For example, a platform may advertise a flat fee on their pay-as-you-go package, with no pricing tiers. However, taking a deeper look reveals that this doesn’t include seating plan functionality – an essential for many events. To access them, you’ll have to pay an additional fee – doubling your cost per ticket. This can be up to a 60% increase on TryBooking’s equivalent Stripe offering!

It's therefore always a good idea to look beyond the headline fees and consider the true cost of running your event with all the features you need.

Our final tips

Whether you're an event aficionado or just starting out, remember this: accessible event ticketing is within reach.

Here’s what to remember when looking for your next ticketing platform:

🔍 Look behind the headline fees: there may be hidden nasties that can increase the cost of ticketing your event.

💺 Check what features are included: ensuring you have everything you need included from the start can help save you money later on.

💳 Don’t forget payment processing: make sure you pick the right option for your event depending on your financial requirements.

If you’re looking to start saving today, TryBooking offers some of the simplest and lowest fees in the industry, alongside award-winning customer service and all the functionality you need included. There’s no hidden uglies!

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