There is a lot more that goes into ticketing than deciding on a price. There should be entire courses taught on the psychology behind tickets (not that I have the expertise to teach it). But from our experience in the event space, and constantly researching related topics to stay on top of our industry, we have some ticketing advice for hosts.
Free to register, free to bail
Why do guests show up to an event? Hopefully most of why they attend can be attributed to the value your event adds to their life, whether it’s for social, charitable, business, or other reasons. But even if it’s been a long day and they’re feeling glued to their couch, there’s another motivation for going: they’re financially committed. If registration it’s free, there’s a limited barrier to join the event, but also less friction for backing out. One of the benefits of using an event planning platform like SquadUP is knowing exactly who is coming ahead of time. If you think that all 800 people that “bought” free tickets are going to be there when the doors open you’re going to have a bad time.
Don’t underestimate your guests
Inflated attendance numbers are more transparent than you think. It’s important that you have an solid guest list base when you promote the event so your guest list doesn’t look empty. If people go to buy tickets and see that nobody has registered, they will assume there’s a reason why and avoid being the first at all costs. We get that. But we’re firmly against adding fake guests to your list. If you claim there are 100 more people attending than there actually are, certain astute guests will notice when they show up and it will be very embarrassing. If you decide to remove fake guests at some point, guests will notice. Both are desperate and will damage your reputation.
If you claim that your event is sold out to make it appear like there was incredible demand and then people show up only to find empty seats and plenty of space it will be obvious what you were trying to do. People that tried to register and find out later that the event was far from sold out won’t be happy either. On the other hand, if you claim the event is sold out early on and re-release tickets 10 different times before the event, people will see right through your ploy.
There are plenty of little tricks you can use to get people to register early and improve overall attendance. But have some respect for your guests. If you employ shady practices and cross the line between exaggerating and lying, assuming your guests won’t pick up on it, you’re in for a rude awakening.
If you’ve have experience with hosts playing too fast and loose we’d love to hear about them. Leave us a comment or tweet @SquadUP.