Pricing your tickets is an art — and a science. You want to sell as many tickets as possible, but if you price too low, your profit margins could plummet. Price too high, and you risk hosting a near-empty event. So how do you hit the sweet spot for killer ticket sales?
“One of the biggest mistakes event creators make is not spending enough time on pricing,” says Nels Gilbreth, VP, Pricing & Monetization at Eventbrite. “People are afraid to charge differently for things like VIP tickets or early bird tickets, but these are so common to the consumer.”
The reality is there are multiple sweet spots, and by using tiered pricing you can hit each potential attendee’s perfect price. Here are four ways you can sell more tickets — and make more money — using tiered pricing.
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1. Generate early interest with early bird tickets
Creating urgency around your event will boost perceived value and excite potential attendees. To incentivize interested attendees to buy their ticket early, offer an exclusive discount to early bird purchasers.
You can set a certain time period for the discount (say, the first week of sales) or limit it to a certain number of uses (say, the first 50 tickets purchased). By rewarding attendees who buy before a deadline, you’ll motivate them to commit earlier.
The words “sold out” are like gold for sales. Once people see that your early bird tickets are snatched up, they’ll rush to grab remaining tickets before they’re gone. Ultimately, that means you’ll sell more tickets and increase your profit.
2. Use dynamic pricing
According to Gilbreth, most organizers increase ticket prices three times throughout their onsale. Dynamic pricing is a smart way to gauge interest and learn what attendees are willing to pay.
For instance, BottleRock Napa Valley used time-based pricing to sell the majority of their tickets within the first five weeks of sales. They set one price for the first wave of tickets, and once those were sold out, they moved to the next (slightly more expensive) tier.
“Tracking helps us understand what our price points should be going out for presale, how many tickets should go out for the onsale price, and what our price points should be going forward,” says Dave Graham, BottleRock’s producer.
3. Incentivize big spenders with your VIP offerings
VIP packages don’t just drive interest. They drive ticket sales. In a survey of 1,000 music festival attendees, a third of VIP ticket buyers say the lack of a VIP package influences whether they’d attend the festival at all.
And these attendees are ready to pay the price. In general, around 45% of VIP buyers are willing to spend 50% than the cost of a GA ticket to upgrade. A little more than a quarter of them are willing to pay double. And about 14% of them are willing to pay more than double the GA price.
You just need to make sure the experience they pay for is worth the extra cost.
For instance, Arizona Beer Week sells VIP tickets to a Brewers Reception the night before the main festival kicks off. Attendees are treated to live music, 10 drink tickets, and a food voucher — in addition to their VIP status at the main event.
By offering a more luxurious experience for these enthusiastic aficionados, they build a loyal audience — and do it at a higher price point.
4. Charge more for tickets sold onsite
Still have tickets available on event day? Sell them onsite — for a higher price. If people are showing up at your door, they’re willing to pay more to come to your event — and that’s a good thing.
Don’t be afraid to let event-goers know that prices go up for day-of sales. If a higher price is a deterrent, they’ll be more motivated to buy in advance.
When you increase your fees in tiers over time, always show the full, at-the-door price next to the current price. This shows attendees what they’ll be paying if they don’t purchase soon, and incentivizes a faster purchase.
Pricing your tickets is one of the most challenging — and most important — elements of managing your event. Download Executive Strategy: How to Price Your Tickets for more tips to sell out your event — at the exact price attendees are willing to pay.