Festival management 101


Ticketing (pricing) is the most important part of the festival from a business standpoint


1. Pricing can be one of the more stressful parts of organizing an event. A smart ticket pricing strategy is essential to driving a profit — but it’s not always easy to determine which approach is right. Many organizers simply price their event somewhere above their costs (“cost-plus” pricing). Others look at similar events and default to that price (“competitive” pricing). Both costs and competitive prices are important inputs. Unfortunately, there is a critical element missing in both of these frameworks — your customer. Ultimately, there’s only one way to get customers to put down their credit cards: price your event at the level they’re willing to pay. This is called value-based pricing, and it’s this framework that allows you to maximize your revenues, and — if you manage your costs appropriately — your profits.

2. Perceived value is what the customer thinks they will get out of your event. Here it is perception, as much as reality, that drives the transaction.

3. Next comes the actual price of your ticket. The actual price — which can be greater or less than the perceived value — is what the customer actually pays. Ideally, the actual price is as close as possible to the perceived value (without going over). When the actual price is below the perceived value, you’ve created what is known as “consumer surplus,” or the excess value the consumer gets above the actual cost of the good.

4. Finally, there is the per ticket cost to you for putting on the event. This completes the triad of value-based pricing. Taken together, these three components give you a full picture of the underlying economics of your event. In the value-based pricing model, your customer is comparing perceived value and price — and you're using your cost per ticket to determine the baseline price for breaking even. Put simply, if the customer’s perceived value is higher than your ticket price, then your customer will decide to purchase. And if your cost per ticket is lower than that price, you will make money.

5. Don’t let cost determine your price — let price determine your cost.

6. Pricing, when it comes down to it, is all about getting into the head of your customers. The most successful event directors include two important steps in their pricing strategy: a) Determine the value of your offerings for your attendees 2. b) Measure that value against your competition There’s no one-size-fits-all way to price events. But if you use value, instead of per ticket cost, as a starting place, you'll be miles ahead of your competition

7. It also could be that your ticket prices just seem too high for the bands you’ve lined up or your fest’s reputation. Or consider the opposite scenario: You’re worried you won’t sell enough tickets, so you set them at a price point you think will sell. It works. But you’re not making enough from those sales to turn a profit


8. Early sales are a great tool. Our research shows the average music fest has five to six different early-sale tiers, offering an average discount of 10%. A discount like that should be small enough to not compromise revenue — and appealing enough to early bird buyers to give you a nice boost in sales

9. VIP passes are an easy way to bump up revenue without pricing out lower-spending attendees. Recent research shows some events bring in 25% of their revenue from VIP sales alone. That could mean anything from exclusive areas to drink discounts to backstage passes to free merch.

10. One-day passes, two-day passes, all weekend passes

11. Send last year’s attendees discount codes that can only be used by new attendees, so they have an excuse to invite more friends — and widen your fan base.

12. Discount codes, for different selected groups

13. Tickets for groups

14. Special rates for neighbourhood area

15. Students

16. 65+

17. Clearly communicate any additional ticketing fees before purchase.


18. Choose the right ticketing company. Make sure you choose a ticketing company that offers a variety of tools in its software to promote the festival to prospective ticket buyers via email and text messages.

19. Awesome ticket sales page. The most important thing you need to do in order to sell more tickets to your event is have an awesome ticket sales page If your ticket sales page uses low quality images or poorly written copy, then you’ll lose sales immediately. Take the time to ensure your ticket sales page is as good as it can be before you start promoting your event.

20. The most awesome ticket page, combine marketing and ticket sales

21. Did you know that 40% of visits to a ticket sales page do not result in a sale? That’s because most people don’t buy a ticket on the first visit. They hear about your event and want to learn more about it before they actually buy. For this reason, it’s extremely important to remind them about your event!

22. Start many months in advance of the festival to ensure it´s as successful as possible

23. Make sure there are ways for loyal fans to register for updates to hear announcements, pre-sale offers, and receive engaging content about your upcoming artists.

24. Make sure to use direct mail to drive loyalty and ticket sale

25. Build a solid ticketing strategy

26. A trend tipped to rise, are that festival goers watch videos before choosing to purchase a ticket

27. You’ve got eyeballs on your ticketing page, but not all of those visitors are buying tickets. If your conversation (the percentage of visitors who buy tickets) is low, you may need a more streamlined ticketing process

28. 74% of music-goers are actively looking for information about an event before they buy tickets. While the most common information people are seeking out are the event date (82%), ticket price options (76%) and venue (70%)

29. Sell tickets: Once you’ve captured interest on social media, it’s time to make the sale then and there. Don’t let fans get distracted or redirect them to another website. A simpler checkout means more people at your events.

30. Get sponsors to help you out. More festivals than ever does not just mean more competition for fans; it also means more competition for sponsors. More than a third of event organizers struggled to stand out to sponsors. Among those who organize fests with less than 5,000 attendees, nearly 2/3 struggled But securing those sponsorships is critical to putting on a great show without driving up ticket prices. To stand out from the crowd, offer ways for brands to build real relationships with fans. A logo on the stage isn’t enough. Fans need to interact with the products or brand in new ways. From an interactive exhibit or social media photo pop to bio reactive wristbands, there are lots of ideas on how to get brands on board with your event. The most important step in this process, though, is to know who your fans are and what they want. In addition to demographic info like age, gender, geography, and income, you should be able to provide some idea of your fans’ spending habits, lifestyle, and why they choose to come to your festival.

31. Optimize the ticket page website for mobile sales


32. Get the best customer support for your festival goers, and all their ticket questions. Festival goers need most support the day before the event and at the day of the event, at the entrance. You cannot imagine all the things could happen. Make sure YOU are not occupied with all those questions

33. Star mark your high frequency event attendees because they invite the most friends, spread hype about your event, and of course, buy tickets.

34. Get prepaid possibilities for your partners and sponsors, as food, drinks, and/or merchandise, if your payment processing is slow, you won’t just frustrate attendees — you’ll sell less.


35. Get feedback No matter how successful your festival is this year, there will always be room for improvement and the best way to find out how to create a better festival experience for music fans is to ask them

36. After the event, be alert as: 47% looked for other music events they could attend 25% bought tickets to another music event

37. By re-engaging with fans within days of an event, you have the chance to capture them at a time when they’re most excited and ready for more live music experiences. The opportunity to sell tickets post-event is even higher: 63% looked for another live music event to attend.

38. Within the following days and weeks of your event, create tailored email communication, segmented on what type of ticket your attendees have purchased. By segmenting ticket types, you can use targeted email to sell merchandise, collect registrations for pre-sale events, and even upgrades to higher-tier tickets for your next event. With this approach, we’ve seen conversion rates improve by three to eight times