If you are an event organiser seeking to maximise ticket sales, selling tickets is a crucial aspect of the event planning process. There are a number of ways you can attract attendees, create a sense of urgency, and generate buzz around your event, all which will increase the chances of reaching capacity and creating a memorable experience for delegates. From early bird discounts and limited time offers to social media advertising, the possibilities are vast. By implementing effective ticket-selling strategies, you can create excitement, drive engagement, and ultimately sell out your event.
Before Event Tickets Go On Sale
Before selling event tickets, event organisers must create a comprehensive event plan. This plan should define the target audience, establish a ticket price that reflects the event’s value, identify the most effective ticket distribution channels and encompass a marketing strategy to generate interest and drive sales.For a comprehensive resource on event planning, we recommend referring to our step-by-step guide that incorporates valuable insights and recommendations from ICC Belfast's award-winning event management team.
The timing for when event planners should start selling tickets depends on the event type and audience. For certain events like highly anticipated award ceremonies, it is advisable to start selling tickets as soon as possible to capitalise on early demand and secure high-profile attendees. This approach suits events where exclusivity or scarcity generates significant interest. On the other hand, for events with a broader appeal such as large-scale industry conferences, it may be more effective to start selling tickets when ticket demand is high for example, immediately after the previous conference has finished. This approach is suited for events where a similar audience will be in attendance for consecutive years.
How To Price Tickets For An Event
To calculate a ticket price, event organisers should consider factors such as venue costs, expected attendance, desired profit margin, and perceived value.
Value-based pricing - This strategy involves setting ticket prices based on the perceived value attendees will receive from the event. Event organisers must consider factors such as the quality of content, keynote speakers and networking opportunities, venue location and overall length of the conference or event programme.
Competitive pricing - This strategy involves setting ticket prices based on market competition and pricing trends in the industry. Event organisers analyse competitor events, similar offerings, and market demand to determine a competitive price point. Competitive pricing is effective for events with a broader target audience, such as exhibitions, or gala dinners.
By understanding these pricing strategies and their relevance to different event types and target audiences, event organisers can make strategic decisions between generating revenue and attracting attendees while aligning with the overall event budget goals.
How To Handle Event Ticket Refunds and Reselling
Event organisers should approach refunds and reselling of tickets by having clear policies in place before selling begins. This is important to manage delegate expectations, minimise disputes, and ensure a smooth ticketing process. By having well-defined and communicated refund and reselling policies, event organisers can maintain transparency, manage delegate enquiries effectively, and safeguard the overall ticketing process. These policies also provide organisations with a framework to handle exceptional circumstances and minimise potential financial risks associated with ticket refunds and unauthorised reselling.
Ticket refund policy - When deciding on a ticket refund policy, event planners should consider factors such as event cancellation or rescheduling, attendee emergencies or extenuating circumstances, and the financial impact on the event. By defining a refund policy, organisers can establish guidelines for refund requests, deadlines, refund amounts (full or partial), and any applicable administrative fees. A well-communicated refund policy helps set expectations, builds trust with attendees, and mitigates potential disputes.
Ticket reselling policy - Event organisers should consider implementing a ticket reselling policy to regulate the secondary market and prevent unauthorised ticket scalping. A reselling policy can help organisations maintain control over ticket sales, ensure fairness, and protect attendees from fraudulent or counterfeit tickets.
In the face of the global pandemic in 2020, ICC Belfast encountered unprecedented disruptions in the events industry. However, the organisation swiftly responded to the challenges posed by COVID-19, prioritising regular, clear and transparent communication with team members, clients, and customers through various channels such as phone calls, newsletters, virtual townhalls, and video calls.
For clients, the organisation's proactive approach involved closely examining conference objectives and providing expert guidance and practical support in areas like account management, logistics, technical production, and marketing communications. As a result, only a small percentage of bookings were cancelled, with 99% opting to reschedule their events for future dates.
How to increase event ticket sales and boost attendance
ICC Belfast’s expert event management team have curated a list of the 'Top 7 ticket selling tips' to empower event organisers in boosting ticket sales and increasing event attendance. These tactics encompass effective strategies and insights to enhance marketing efforts, engage the target audience and optimise revenue for successful ticket sales.
1. Sell Everywhere Including Your Own Dedicated Website
Event organisers should sell tickets both online and offline to cater to the preferences and convenience of a diverse range of attendees. By offering tickets in multiple places, conference planners can maximise reach, accessibility, and ultimately increase ticket sales.
Dedicated event website - Creating a dedicated event website provides a centralised platform where attendees can easily access event information and purchase tickets online. Organisations can integrate secure ticketing systems directly into the website, providing a seamless ticket purchasing experience. This approach allows for customisation, branding, and the ability to provide detailed event descriptions, FAQs, testimonials and additional resources. Check out ICCM23 for an example website promoting the ICCM 2023 conference at ICC Belfast.
Online ticketing platforms - By leveraging popular ticketing platforms and utilising venue and business destination websites, event organisers can successfully sell their events to a broader audience. This increased visibility on well-established platforms amplifies event exposure and drives ticket sales by connecting with prospective attendees actively seeking event opportunities tailored to their interests and preferences.
Online forums - Event organisers have the unique opportunity to harness the power of industry-specific online forums, such as LinkedIn groups tailored to their sector or dedicated event discussion boards and memberships. For instance, The Power of Events is a platform for the UK events community that maps out the seven core events sectors and signposts to the four key industry communities – the multiple trade associations, the support organisations, industry media and UK universities working as research partners to support the data needs of the industry.
On-site sales - Selling tickets at the event itself allows event organisers to capture last-minute attendees or those who prefer to purchase tickets in person. Having a physical presence at the venue provides a convenient option for spontaneous ticket buyers or individuals who may have missed the online ticketing window.
By utilising these different platforms, event organisers can ensure that tickets are available in a variety of places, catering to the preferences of potential attendees and maximising ticket sales opportunities. This multi-channel approach increases the convenience and accessibility of ticket purchasing, ultimately leading to higher event attendance.
Discover the key components of event promotion and delve into the fundamental principles and concepts that drive its success through our informative blog post on ’10 Practical Ways to Promote Your Event.’ This article offers practical and actionable techniques to enhance your event's visibility and ensure it achieves its desired goals.
Optimising tickets and the ticketing websites for mobile devices offers several benefits, including enhanced accessibility, convenience, and a seamless user experience for delegates on the go.
Buying tickets - Event organisers can optimise their ticketing website for mobile devices by implementing responsive design, ensuring the site adapts and functions well across different screen sizes. Simplifying the ticket purchase process, streamlining the checkout experience, and providing mobile-friendly payment options can encourage easy and frictionless ticket buying on mobile devices.
E-tickets - Offering electronic tickets (e-tickets) that can be easily accessed and stored on mobile devices eliminates the need for physical tickets. Organisations can send e-tickets via email or provide attendees with a unique QR code or digital ticket that can be scanned at the event entrance, improving convenience, and reducing paper waste.
Mobile event app - Developing a dedicated mobile event app allows organisers to provide a comprehensive platform where attendees can access event information, view schedules, receive updates, and even purchase tickets directly within the app. Integrating ticketing functionality into the app streamlines the ticket purchase process and enhances the overall event experience for mobile users.
By optimising tickets and the ticketing website for mobile devices, event organisers can cater to the growing trend of mobile usage, improve the attendee experience, and simplify the ticketing process, leading to increased ticket sales and overall customer satisfaction.
3. Utilise Social Media
Easy access to ticket purchasing - Ensuring that the social media posts and content provide easy access to ticket purchasing is crucial. Including direct links to the ticketing website or utilising features like ’Swipe Up’ on platforms like Instagram Stories can streamline purchasing for attendees.
Digital advertising and retargeting - Running targeted social media ads based on job descriptions, interests, and industries can effectively reach potential attendees who may not be following the event's social media accounts. Implementing retargeting campaigns can also keep the event top-of-mind for those who have previously shown interest, prompting them to purchase tickets.
By strategically using custom and bespoke content, tapping into keynote speakers’ followers, providing easy ticket access, and utilising digital advertising and retargeting, event organisers can leverage the power of social media to drive ticket sales, reach a wider audience, and generate excitement around their event.
4. Leverage Google Search
Google search is crucial for selling event tickets because it is the most widely used search engine globally, with millions of people relying on it to find information and discover events. By optimising event-related content and utilising effective search engine optimisation (SEO) strategies, event organisers can increase their visibility on Google search results, ensuring that their events are easily discoverable by potential attendees. Features like ’events near me’ on Google search can significantly increase event ticket sales by directly connecting potential attendees with relevant local events, providing increased visibility and accessibility.
Google Business Profile - Having a Google Business Profile is essential for selling event tickets as it provides a prominent online presence and increases the visibility of your event. A well-optimised Google Business Profile allows potential attendees to easily find key information about your event, such as location, contact details, and website. It also enables event organisers to showcase positive reviews, share updates, and engage with the audience directly. This increased visibility and credibility on Google's platform can significantly boost ticket sales by building trust and making it convenient for potential attendees to learn about and purchase tickets for the event.
Structured data or website plugins - By implementing structured data markup or using website plugins specifically designed for event details, you can provide Google with structured and organised information about your event, including dates, location, ticket prices, and more. This allows Google to display rich snippets, such as event dates and ticket availability directly in search results, increasing the visibility and click-through rates for your event listings. Ultimately, it helps potential attendees find and access the necessary information about your event, leading to increased ticket sales.
By leveraging the ’events near me’ feature on Google search and optimising the Google Business Profile, as well as implementing structured data or website plugins, event organisers can enhance the discoverability of their event, target local audiences, and boost ticket sales through increased visibility and accessibility on the Google platform.
5. Targeted Email Campaigns
The aim of sending targeted email campaigns is to nurture leads, build engagement, and ultimately sell event tickets by delivering relevant and targeted content to the reader's inbox. These campaigns can be advance scheduled or automated based on specific digital behaviours which can save time following the initial implementation.
Tips for email copy for a campaign that captures readers’ attention and assists in the buyer journey include:
Personalisation - Use personalisation techniques to address recipients by their name and tailor the content based on their preferences or previous interactions with the event or brand.
Compelling subject lines - Craft attention-grabbing subject lines that spark curiosity, highlight benefits, or create a sense of urgency to entice recipients to open the email. Examples include ‘Don’t miss out’ or ’Last remaining tickets’.
Clear and concise messaging - Keep the email content concise, focused, and easy to skim, using short paragraphs, bullet points, and bold headings to highlight key information.
Value-driven content - Provide valuable and relevant content that offers insights, tips, exclusive offers, or early access to generate interest and build trust with the reader.
Call-to-Action (CTA) - Include clear and prominent CTAs that guide recipients towards purchasing tickets, whether it's directing them to the ticketing website, a dedicated landing page, or a special offer.
Social proof - Incorporate social proof elements such as testimonials, reviews, or endorsements from past attendees or industry experts to build credibility and influence the reader's decision.
Visual appeal - Use visually appealing designs, images, and branded elements to make the email visually appealing and reinforce the event's branding.
Countdowns and reminders - Include countdown timers or reminders highlighting upcoming deadlines, early-bird discounts, or limited ticket availability to create a sense of urgency and prompt immediate action.
Follow-up and segmentation - Continuously track and analyse recipient engagement to segment the audience and deliver follow-up emails based on their interactions, ensuring tailored and timely content.
By implementing these email copy tips, event organisations can optimise their email campaigns, capture reader attention, nurture leads, and guide potential attendees through the buyer journey, ultimately increasing the chances of ticket sales.
6. Create a Sales Peak Strategy
The term ‘sales peak’ refers to a period of increased ticket sales or high demand for event tickets. Planning the ticket sales strategy around sales peaks can be beneficial in terms of maximising ticket sales and revenue.
To maintain the momentum of sales peaks at different intervals, event organisers can implement the following ticket pricing techniques:
Early bird tickets - Offer discounted prices for early bird tickets, incentivising attendees to purchase tickets well in advance. Creating a sense of exclusivity and limited availability for early bird tickets can generate early sales and build anticipation for the event.
Group tickets - Introduce special pricing or discounts for group ticket purchases. Target organisations or communities who can tap into the collective purchasing power and generate higher ticket sales through group sales.
General admission - Set a standard ticket price for general admission, ensuring that it is competitive and aligned with the market value and the event's perceived worth. This approach allows organisations to capture a broad range of attendees and maximise ticket sales without segmenting the audience based on pricing tiers.
Special tickets - Introduce premium or VIP ticket options with added benefits or exclusive access, such as backstage passes, meet-and-greet opportunities, or priority seating. Offering special tickets at a higher price point appeals to attendees seeking enhanced experiences and can generate additional revenue.
By strategically implementing these ticket pricing techniques, event organisers can capitalise on sales peaks and maintain a steady flow of ticket sales throughout different intervals of the ticketing process, ultimately increasing overall ticket sales and maximising revenue potential.
7. Promote Location and Venue
Promoting the event location and venue can be highly beneficial in terms of selling event tickets as it enhances the overall event experience and appeals to potential attendees.
Venue attractions - Highlighting the unique features, amenities, and capabilities of the venue, such as state-of-the-art facilities, seating arrangements, or special event spaces, can create excitement and allure for attendees.
City attractions - Showcasing the attractions, landmarks, and cultural offerings of the city where the event is taking place can be a strong selling point. For instance, Belfast's vibrant arts scene, historical landmarks like the Titanic Belfast and Belfast City Hall, or its authentic, local culinary offerings can entice attendees to combine the event experience with exploring the city.
Accommodation - Emphasising the proximity of accommodation options to the event venue can be influential in attracting attendees. By highlighting nearby hotels or alternative accommodation options and providing information on ease of access and convenience, event organisations can ease potential attendees' concerns about finding suitable accommodations, thereby increasing the likelihood of ticket sales. Belfast has a range of hotels dotted through the city centre, including Grand Central, Radisson Blu, Titanic Hotel Belfast and Hilton Belfast, which is located just a two-minute walk from ICC Belfast.
Promoting the event location and the destination’s key attractions, along with providing information about nearby accommodation, enhances the overall value proposition of attending the event. By leveraging these factors, event organisations can create a compelling narrative that entices potential attendees to not only participate in the event but also enjoy the city's offerings, resulting in increased ticket sales and higher event attendance.
Selling Events Tickets with ICC Belfast
With its state-of-the-art facilities and versatile spaces, ICC Belfast offers several unique selling points that make it an ideal choice for event promotion and ticket selling. The venue boards world-class facilities, including cutting-edge technology, and high-quality audiovisual capabilities. These features provide event organisers with the tools to create immersive and engaging experiences for attendees, enhancing the overall event promotion and driving ticket sales. We can also accommodate a wide range of event types and sizes. From large conferences and exhibitions to gala dinners and award ceremonies, these flexible spaces can be tailored to meet the specific needs of each event. Our central location in the heart of Belfast offers excellent accessibility for both local and international attendees with the venue conveniently located near major transportation hubs, hotels, and popular attractions.