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In Defense of Ticketing Fees

May 13, 2023

Go figure, the ticketing company thinks ticketing fees are good. Well, not really. Qwitix was borne from the philosophy that ticketing fees are a necessary evil:

  1. Ticketing platforms provide a useful service for event organizers and attendees.
  2. The cost of providing that service is greater than zero.
  3. Therefore, a fee must exist.

But ticketing fees are universally despised because the perceived value of that service is woefully less than the added price you encounter during checkout.

On Qwitix, like most other platforms, the ticketing fee includes the cost of payment processing, called the interchange fee. This is the percentage of the total transaction that the associated banks and credit card issuers (e.g. Visa, Mastercard) charge for managing the transfer of money. This fee is usually absorbed by the vendor, although sometimes you find smaller shops that offer a "cash discount" to offset the price of interchange. However, the convenience of card-enabled payments has proven itself worthy of its fee- now many businesses prefer it to the costs and hassles of handling cash.

The ticketing service also provides tools that help the event organizer manage the event guestlist and sometimes even reach out to potential attendees. These tools include the web page for the event listing, which organizers use to broadcast event details, reach potential attendees, and lock in sales in advance of the event. A ticketing service also helps check in guests at the event, shortening the time attendees spend in line waiting to get into the door. These services entitle the platform to keep some sliver of the event's revenues above the simple interchange fee.

However, at Qwitix, 10-40% of the ticket price is considered more than a sliver. Ticketing fees on other platforms are nowhere near commensurate to the value they provide. Some platforms willingly serve as the "bad guy" for venues and promoters who want to charge more for their events, but don't want to offend attendees with high prices. So the ticketing platform tacks on a massive fee and splits it with additional parties. Especially in the large music event space, monopoly dynamics play a role, as fans are begrudgingly willing to endure high fees to see their favorite artists, and ticketing platforms are eager to extract the most money that they can.

In the small events industry, ticketing providers have more competition, but fees still frequently drift above 10%. Ticketing companies often achieve some level of market penetration before raising their fees to compensate for their overfunded growth rate and overhead. They have to spread the cost of developing umpteen features and marketing to lure event creators to the platform, which is far more than the cost of actually serving the creators on the platform. Qwitix offers an alternative for event creators who need the essentials of an online ticketing platform, but don’t want to burden their guests with excessive fees. The resulting product isn't as fancy or shiny as some competitors, but the value is unquestionable.

If you are an event creator who is interested in this approach, please get in touch. If you are an event-goer, let your favorite creators know about Qwitix and how much you hate the fees from other platforms.