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« Event Marketing: What is the Perceived Value? | Main | Do You Make These Costly Web Site Mistakes? »

Smart Advance Ticket Strategies

Swiss_flag_event_tickets Today's post is another riff from my involvement with air shows and event marketing. Advance sale tickets are like gold for almost every event producer.  Who wouldn’t want to cover their costs prior to an event?  Every event producer agrees on the importance of advance sales tickets, yet few are able to capitalize on the concept.  It’s one of those things that’s “good on paper.” In many cases event producers are risk adverse when it comes to discounting ticket prices and creative ticket bundling.  For those that are willing to assume a little risk there is the potential for great reward. 

Some Swiss Schooling
One of the most powerful lessons I learned about event marketing came while attending the European Air Show Conference.  There was a Swiss Air Force Colonel who gave an excellent presentation highlighting various aspects of his air show.  The air show took place every few years and featured some amazing acts.  Their last event featured 6 military jet demonstration teams. One of the most compelling success stories from the air show encompassed advance ticket sales.  The Swiss Colonel illustrated important marketing techniques related to ticket discounting and family pricing.

Discount Tickets
Perceived value is crucial in getting people to purchase advance sale tickets.  One leverage point for purchasing tickets in advance is discount tickets.  Many event organizers are very hesitant to discount ticket prices to their event. In the case of the Swiss air show their advance sale tickets were discounted 40% for adults, children, and family tickets. Most event organizers would gawk at such a discount.  Yet in the Swiss example the air show was paid for entirely before a single person entered the gate courtesy of advance sale tickets.  Can you think of creative ways to get the consumer to purchase early?  Does your event offer online tickets?

Family Packages
Another successful aspect of the Swiss air show came in the form of family ticket packages. The decision was made that an average family was 2 adults and 2 children. The family ticket price was set accordingly.  Regardless of how many children in a family the ticket price stayed firm.  Most event producers get concerned with lost potential revenue.  Did the event organize lose a few dollars of potential revenue on the ticket price? Yes.  But any lost revenue was made up in food and beverages purchases once a family was inside the air show.

Event organizers need to look beyond just the ticket price as a source of revenue. Thinking of creative ways to get people to buy early can help almost any event organizer offset cost and risk.

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