Smart Ticket Service Fees

Some months ago I wrote a whole series of posts titled "Stupid Ticket Service Fees" which got a lot of responses. Today I counter that with something on the other end of the spectrum: finally a smart ticket service fee.

It all started earlier this month when I spoke at the INTIX conference in Chicago, which is the national gathering of the box office ticketing industry. I moderated a panel which included David Snead, Executive Director of the New York Philharmonic and Burt Dikelsky, Executive Director of the Center for Performing Arts at Governor’s State University

During our panel, one idea that was discussed was the concept of a "single ticket buyer exchange fee." The concept, now being tested and discussed at some arts venues, is that single ticket buyers should be afforded the same exchange privileges as subscribers, for a fee. From the discussion in the room, some are adding between $2 to $5 per transaction. The general fear is this practice might anger subscribers, by devaluing the benefit of the subscription. But from the comments made in the session it doesn’t appear that this has happened.

From my perspective I think this is a fantastic idea. It’s the same as when you pay a change fee for changing an airline ticket reservation. Not only does it remove the barrier that a lot of people face in terms of committing to something before they know their schedule, it also sets up a monetary value to the benefit of the ticket exchange when you become a subscriber.

The thing I’d like to add to the discussion here is, why not sell all single tickets with a "ticket return option" upfront? The box office could tack on that fee at the time of purchase – almost like insurance. Seems to me this idea is a no-brainer. I know I would gladly pay a few bucks for that option quite often.

What do you think?

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2 responses to “Smart Ticket Service Fees

  1. I was at that session and also loved the idea of single ticket exchange fees. Why not make it easier for people to attend your events? This is traditionally a “subscriber-only” benefit , but in a single ticket world, we really should be allowing our patrons to do what they need.

  2. GREAT IDEA! As a ticket buyer myself i’d rather pay that exchange fee at the time of exchange rather than in advance.

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