This article discusses how to sell tickets online. The author and ideas expressed are rooted in 17 years of experience. In each section below, I expand the sub-topic a little by providing “read more” links on the same topic.
I just came home from the gym, and it occurred to me that “choosing a gym” is similar to “choosing an event registration system”. Here’s what I mean. When choosing a place to exercise, you could buy all of the equipment (i.e. treadmills, weights etc.) for your house or you could pay a monthly fee and join a gym.
The costs of belonging to a gym are quite reasonable, usually between $10 – $40/month. Joining a gym is without a doubt a carefree proposition. There’s no maintenance costs, no hefty initial costs, no space concerns in your house. In addition, as technology changes, the gym will do a better job in innovating and keeping their equipment up to date than you will do.
With respect to event ticket management software, don’t the same points apply as they did with respect to the gym. Application service providers, i.e. ASPs, charge a monthly fee, and take on the burdens of buying the best equipment and keeping it up to date. As technology changes, the ASP will do a better job in innovating and keeping their software up to date than you will do.
If you’re not yet convinced, here are a few of the burdens that event registration systems are subjected too:
- managing credit card information
- buying and installing secure server certificates (i.e. https:// )
- web design for the registration pages
- PCI compliance (this one is tough)
- firewall setup with constant updates
- backup and/or replication
- avoiding SQL injection
- queueing to handle crowds (dealing with spikes of people registering at the same time)
- server software updates
- gateway or acquirer api’s
- transaction reporting & tracking
- guaranteeing up time (usually means moving to a data centre)
In conclusion, it is “nuts” to build your own event ticket management software. This includes convincing or contracting your current web designer to do the job. My advice is to concentrate all of your available time, in choosing the best application service provider, i.e. ASP to sell your online tickets.
Don’t try managing your ticket sales yourself! Choosing an ASP is a MUST!!
Choosing the Right ASP
How to Sell Tickets Online
Selling tickets online requires the right ASP. The essential items to be checked before committing to an ASP are:
- References: call several current customers belonging to the ASP
- what’s the customer service like at the ASP
- are their hidden fees
- is the ASP team committed to constant innovation.
- Using Google, find a few current customers that have registration pages active
- is the user interface simple?
- can you use your existing visa/mc merchant account? (note: it’s always cheaper to have a visa/mc merchant account of your own … than to use the ASP’s account )
- does the ASP have an electronic wallet feature? (note: this saves thousands of dollars in merchant discount fees)
Sell Concert Tickets Online
Selling concert tickets online requires the following components:
- a barcode scanner (it’s a must to be able to communicate in real-time with the server and the other scanners)
- web based eTickets
- mobile tickets, with barcodes that can be scanned off of the screen
- real-time numerical reports
- the ticket software must be able to deal with selling surges. Queueing ticket sales is important if a surge of people start buying tickets at the same time.
Free Registration Software
Beware of FREE software! The best free software is software which has a support team behind it and there aren’t a lot of those available. Since free doesn’t generate a lot of dollars of income for the ASP, few free ticket selling software packages have support teams. Support teams are like lifeguards at a pool. If you start drowning, you need that lifeguard. Selling my tickets online is easy, until it isn’t. What happens if a the busiest time before your event starts, the software “quits unexpectedly”?
The PCI requirements are constantly changing. ASP’s are scanned regularly to assure compliance. Free services may have trouble keeping up with the regulations. At our registration service company, we have a full time employee whose sole job it is to keep us up to date and PCI compliant.
Recent hacks on various service providers have also brought into focus, the need for tighting up security even tighter. For example, a recent university mentioned that they needed to be assured that the data saved on the SQL server was encrypted. That is, if someone hacks the server, the hacker will only receive encrypted data. Without the encryption key, which would reside in a hidden place on another server somewhere, the hacker’s goals of breaching account holder information wouldn’t be realized. Can free software keep up with the hackers?
Free Software – discusses how to achieve FREE software from a paid service using an Electronic Wallet.