As with any major investment, it’s not just about what something costs but what you’re getting for your money. Your ticketing and marketing platform is no different. Sometimes a solution may look like good value and be cheaper than others on the market. Whilst this might be tempting, it’s not an effective way to determine how much impact that new system will have on your organisation.
My dad always told me to keep an eye out for a bargain, but he also told me to invest in quality when it counts - “Spend money today and save it tomorrow”.
So, how do you make sure that you get what you need for a price you can afford?
With that in mind, here are some things you should think about when it comes to investing in a ticketing system.
What do you get for your money?
The important part of any purchase is knowing what you’re paying for. With ticketing systems, there’s a lot more going on than just selling tickets. There’s marketing, fundraising, data gathering; then there’s the support, the training and the upgrades. The list goes on. Ask your potential supplier what is covered in the annual or monthly fee. If you have to pay for support or upgrades, or fork out additional money for postcode look-up, then you have to try to guess how much that will be altogether. When cash flow is an issue, one price for everything, no matter what, can be very advantageous. It allows venues to plan the year ahead, knowing that there aren’t any unexpected bills on the horizon.
What kind of relationship do you want with your supplier?
Users of Spektrix get the most value from us when they work closely with the software and our Support teams in tandem. Understanding how your relationship with a potential supplier could work will be a really insightful way of evaluating what they’re selling to you.
At a practical level, it’s really worth asking your potential supplier how involved they are with their clients and how they’ll help you get value out of the system. What do they offer in addition to the system itself? A supplier that acts more like a partner, who offers support, consultation and gives access to a community of similar venues, where people can share ideas and spread good practice, can add enormous value.
At a philosophical level, does your supplier’s business model adequately incentivise them to support your mission? Are their values aligned to yours? Suppliers that are charging for their products by asking you to buy them outright are inherently incentivised to chase new customers rather than invest in their existing users.
Finally, ask your potential new supplier for their figures on client retention. How long are their clients staying with them and what reasons are given when they leave?
Will the system help you boost your revenue?
Arts organisations face challenges from all directions. We’re still in an environment with economic uncertainty, and with venues struggling to compete with other forms of entertainment for revenue, you need a system that doesn’t just sell tickets but helps you generate other sources of income. Upselling is a no brainer. The ability to be able to prompt customers to buy seats for other shows, purchase programs or order food and drink while they’re buying their tickets online means more money coming to you. It’s as simple as that.
Can it help you drive engagement?
If your marketing tools are a core part of your box office system, you can make sure that you keep audiences engaged and updated about other things they might want to come and see, helping to build loyalty. Having a ticketing and marketing system that works well is great, but if you then need a whole other system to manage donations and fundraising, this is a huge additional expense. It can save a great deal of money if one system can provide you with all the tools you need for your organisation and provide a single 360 customer view across all departments.
Time is a valuable resource within an arts organisation and the right system can save you loads of it. So when it comes to choosing a system, there’s more to think about than just selling tickets. The right system can save you time, open you up to better ways of working as an organisation and actually help you to make more money. When the rewards are big, it’s worth investing.