In DepthIn Depth

Reinventing the Early Bird Ticket

Luis Sousa
17 Oct
2021
min read

The idea of the Early Bird Ticket is simple. Fans who book at the very start of a campaign, well in advance of an event, are rewarded with a cheaper ticket than those who purchase further down the line. It’s a tried and tested formula that customers have come to expect, and it’s no huge surprise that it is often enough to encourage a significant portion to book early.

But is it time to rethink the Early Bird Ticket? Could there be a better way to approach the idea, one that works better for event creators and fans alike?

Customers are always on the lookout for a good deal, but as a research study conducted by Professor of Neuroeconomics Dr. Paul J. Zak demonstrated, they are not only attracted to discounts on a purely rational level, but also on a chemical and emotional one. In the study, participants given a $10 coupon while grocery shopping were shown to have higher levels of Oxytocin – a 38% increase – as well as dramatically reduced stress indicators compared to those who received no coupon.

There are definite parallels to be drawn here between this study and customer behaviour when purchasing tickets. At first glance simply deciding on a price for the General Admission Ticket and then working backwards to create a cheaper Early Bird works, but there are better ways to approach the concept, and the benefits that a more holistic, strategic approach can offer to both promoters and fans should not be underestimated.

Value to Fan vs Cost to Promoter

There are more creative, innovative and ultimately more cost-efficient ways to offer the same benefit and value to customers than the aforementioned ‘tried and tested’ approach.

One obvious example would be to add cashless food and drink credit to Early Bird Tickets rather than just lowering the ticket price alone. Using a cashless/contactless system like Event Genius’ egPay, this credit could be applied to an RFID wristband upon entry or simply redeemed at any event bar or vendor via a barcode on a mobile phone.  

For example, £10 of cashless credit to spend on food and drink on site offers the same value to customers as a £10 reduction on the ticket price. But crucially this would no longer cost you, the event promoter, £10 in real terms, resulting in increased revenue on each purchase without the customer losing out on any value. Everybody wins…

egPay cashless in action at Lost & Found Festival, Malta

This is also a great way of promoting the fact that attendees are able to purchase cashless voucher credit in advance of the events and thus boost pre-event revenues.

Similarly, other extras could be added to an Early Bird Ticket Package. These could include discounts on:

•  Accommodation and travel packages. Read more about our egTravel solutions here.  
•  On-site facilities such as parking, lockers or charging stations.
•  Priority Entrance – ideal for larger capacity events.
•  Tickets for ancillary events – pre-parties, after-parties, boat parties etc.
•  Artist or festival merchandise.

Each of these could be used to offer value to the customer that is equal to, or in many cases greater than, a simple reduction in ticket price, while ultimately costing the organiser less in real terms.

If you’d like to know more about how our egTicketing, egPay and egTravel solutions can help you create unique Early Bird Ticket offers, get in touch today.

Flexibility

Another way organisers can offer added value to customers – without negatively impacting their own revenue – is with the use of flexible Payment Plans.

The ability to pay in instalments has proven to be immensely popular across a number of different ecommerce platforms and industries, and the world of live events is no different.

Since introducing our own payment plan, we have regularly seen that over half of sales have come from Payment Plan orders – and in some cases upwards of 60%, as was the case for this year’s Promiseland Festival in Australia, for example. And this has been the case for both shorter term campaigns of 3-6 months as well as longer term campaigns of 9-12+ months.

While the value offered to the customer is one of convenience and flexibility rather than a discount, the ability to pay in regular instalments is proven to have increased sales. Festivals offering fans the option to purchase via a payment plan benefit from an increase of 34% in sales according to our data, and we’ve found that offering a payment plan also increases the average order value by 74% – with the uptake of higher value items like accommodation and travel increasing dramatically.

Our Payment Plan options are trusted by the very best in the industry. Read more about how Primavera Sound, BST Hyde Park and Coachella utilise our flexible checkout options to increase sales during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Primavera Sound Festival

If you’d like to know more about how our egCheckout solutions, such as Payment Plan and Pay with Friends can help your events, get in touch today.

Impact of COVID

Naturally, like every other aspect of the live event industry, the Coronavirus pandemic has had a significant impact on the thought-processes behind ticketing campaigns.

For a start, the traditional timeline for a campaign has gone out of the window. Lineup announcements and on-sale dates are no longer as rigidly tied to the annual cycle as a consequence of postponements and cancellations. This means there is more scope for reconsidering the approach and adapting to longer campaigns – going on sale more than a year in advance will have a markedly different result than it would have done previously.

Similarly, the pent-up demand for live music experiences from fans has changed the way customers are purchasing tickets. Increasingly there is willingness and desire to buy tickets for events and festivals more than a year in advance.

This presents an opportunity to maximise immediate revenue with a considered long-term strategy which has been adapted in response to these changes – and a new approach to Early Bird Tickets should be absolutely central to that strategy.

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At Event Genius, our outlook is always end-to-end. Through the development of our 360 degree platform we have discovered the true potential of a more holistic approach to ticketing campaigns such as these and want to share the benefits with both fans and organisers alike!  

Whether it is combining ticketing, cashless credit and travel to create real added value packages for fans

If you’d like to work with us to reimagine your next early bird ticket campaign, get in touch today, we’d love to hear from you.

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