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The Truth About Your Advance Ticket Sales

Early_event_ticket_sales Over the last ten years, I've hear the follow statement said by event organizers countless times, "We have to get our tickets on sale as soon as possible!" My rub with the previous statement is as follows . . . Too many event organizer think that because their tickets are on sale early, people will buy. That's rarely the case.

Here's a question to carefully ponder, "Are you giving people enough incentive to buy tickets early?" If you don't provide a compelling enough reason (that resonates with the target market) you won't sell many advance sale tickets for your event - regardless how early your tickets go on sale.

Six Months of Lousy Ticket Sales
Just the other day an event promoter was telling me about their advance sale ticket woes. Ticket have been on sale for over SIX MONTHS! But nobody is buying tickets.  A closer look at the promoter's event marketing shows that there is little reason for people to buy tickets early.  The event promoter now has to bank on last minute sales, which is a potential recipe for disaster.

Give People a Compelling Reason to Buy Early
If you want people to buy tickets to your event early - you need to create an IRRESISTIBLE OFFER. Remember, people are motivated by their own self interests, not yours! You need to go beyond the flawed logic of "tickets that go on sale early = more advance sale tickets being sold." Put your effort into creating an irresistible offer that your ticket buyer ACTUALLY cares about! Your offer needs to supercharge the demand for advance sale tickets. If not, it's not an irresistible offer.

A Discounting Example
Look at what hotels do in Las Vegas during the off season . . . they offer deep discounts on their rooms. You can find a hotel rooms for $42 a weeknight that normally sell for $150 (or more) during a busy season. Room pricing is adjusted according to the simple rules of supply and demand. Hotel owners know that you can't give up margin on a hotel room that nobody intends to book. By significantly discounting price, hotels are incentivizing people to buy. The same analogy can be applied to ticket sales.

The Classic Irresistible Offer - A HUGE Event Ticket Discount
One of the easiest ways to create ticket demand is to significantly discounting your event ticket price. You might want to consider 50-60% OFF a general admission ticket to your event. Your first response to the previous suggestion might be, "but I'm giving up large massive amounts of revenue by discounting." The reality is - you're only giving up ticket revenue if the demand level is high enough to sell tickets.  You can't argue giving up ticket revenue, if people aren't interested in buying tickets.

Protect Your Margin - Even While Discounting
A great way to protect your profit is by blocking your event tickets. Ticket blocking means you limit your discount offer to 500 tickets at 50% OFF.  Once that block of tickets sells out, the price goes up. Blocking tickets works even better if you know your numbers. When are most people buying tickets for your event?  I know for outdoor events - approximately 70-80% of ticket sales occur within two weeks of the event. The reason for this . . . People are waiting for the weather forecast. If you have an outdoor event, you need to come up with an offer that trumps the weather forecast. 
Here's the bottom line . . . If you want to maximize advance ticket sales to your event, you NEED to give people a really good reason to buy tickets early! If you don't want to offer a discount, are there other ways to move people toward buying tickets early?

If you have your own ticket sales start, please share it in the comment section below.

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Hi, Eugene.

You mention in this post that approximately 70-80% of ticket sales occur within two weeks of the event. What is the stat for indoor events? I have a show that's a bit over a month away and have sold almost 50% of the tickets. I'm wondering if that's typical. Thanks for your blog!

Eugene Loj


Thanks for the kind words!

- Eugene

Karen Brown

nice blog. .
i have learned a lot from it. .
keep writing. .

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