5 Ticketing Platforms for Event Registration
Lately, I’ve been doing a TON of research about the best ticketing platforms for events.
It seems to constantly be a struggle for event hosts — trying to figure out how to sell tickets when you don’t even really know what you need. And can’t you just use PayPal for people to buy tickets?
(Note: I did that for YEARS before it became too cumbersome from a registration and reporting perspective to just have a money-taking tool. I digress.)
For a while, I had been using a pretty common platform for all my events and clients, but my relationship with that platform wasn’t great, so I was looking for a platform that had better customer service and was able to deliver some of the features that my clients were looking for (specifically, automatic email integration, an easier refund feature, and a better waitlisting feature). As a third-party planner, our clients trust us to do this research in advance and usually, unless the fees are high, they don’t have a preference which platform we use.
This makes it DOUBLY important that we not only use a really robust software to help our, but also a software that is easy for us to use and has great customer service, because we’ll be using it for ALL of our events.
I know it can seem daunting to do the research on different platforms, so I decided I would tackle some of it for you. And also, the bummer with event softwares is that you can’t REALLY know which ones are going to work for you if you don’t have anything to compare them to OR if you haven’t worked with a ton of softwares before.
A NOTE: We haven’t used all of these softwares yet, but based on our types of events and our experience with a myriad of other event platforms, these are the ones that we are the most excited about demo-ing and testing with our clients.
A brief outline of the types of events that we do:
We primarily work with mid-size to large companies in the tech, SaaS, eCommerce, and corporate space (with a client who is a “solopreneur” or runs an online business every now and again) and we’re usually planning 1 flagship or 2-4 smaller community events per year per client. Their events are anywhere from 50 - 300 people, and there is a heavy focus on content and customer experience at each event.
This means we’re often focused on helping them generate some revenue that can cover costs, but more importantly build their community of customers or founders to raise their profile or awareness of their business/fund. Most of our clients already understand the ROI for events, so we don’t do a ton of convincing about the power of in-person experiences.
The reason we like to work with these businesses is:
They expect a high-level of customer service and we LOVE providing that. We are fast on emails, fast on problem solving and are consistently jumping in to offer solutions when things go awry. As a small business owner myself, I really prioritize quick solutions, because the number one thing I want from my employees and team is problem solving when no one actually ASKS them to problem solve. So this is the type of service we give our clients.
They are crystal clear on their desired outcomes and goals for their events and we have the ability (due to 11+ years in the events industry) to let them know whether their budget and content ideas are in alignment based on their goals.
They understand the ROI of hosting a connection-based in-person experience. They understand how great content and great programming can positively impact their community and they know that if people have a GREAT experience, they’ll tell their friends about it for days. Word of mouth endorsements are important to our clients, and we seek to create events that help blow people’s socks off!
We’re techies ourselves and we LOVE automation. The event world is REALLY behind in terms of automation, but we’re constantly looking for faster, better ways to do things (like automating registration and communication, helping our clients draft marketing emails by repurposing old emails, etc.)
SO! If you’re looking for a ticketing option for your 20,000 person trade show, or you’re an event marketer that’s trying to convert Facebook Ads at 3%….I’m not your gal. But for those people who want an intimate look at quality community-building and venture capital fund events, then I’m DEFINITELY your gal.
That said, below are the platforms that we’ll be investigating over the next few weeks, and doing demos or using their software for upcoming events. Got any other platforms we should check out? Drop a comment!
(PS that’s an affiliate link; we just started using them and are in love!)
Ticket Tailor has been at the top of my mind for my own events for about a year (ever since I saw that Ladies Get Paid was using them for all their NYC events), and we JUST have started using them with two of our larger, service based clients.
Best for: Companies who don’t need a TON of features, who are tech savvy enough to connect Ticket Tailor to other softwares through integrations, and who are on a budget.
Pros: Again, we work with pretty uncomplicated events…mostly, the people who are buying tickets are warm leads, and they have a pretty solid view of our clients and their mission. That said, there is a LOT of touch points that we have with our clients’ attendees, including:
Lengthy registration form so we can get their preferences right
Automated “Welcome” email sequence to help them know that their registration went through and to direct them to great resources
A robust waitlist on many of our events
Integrations with lots of different marketing or business softwares
Ticket Tailor handles all of our most basic needs listed above AND is by far the cheapest platform in terms of fees for paid events that I’ve ever come across. Right now, we’re “Ticket Tailoring” everything, and hopefully that means that more reporting functions will come down the line (see below for more on that).
I’ve been super into the ease of use as well. This platform is SUPER easy to set up, getting the registration list is easy as well, as is setting up a payment system through Stripe or PayPal. So far, we HIGHLY recommend.
Cons: This is most definitely not a metrics-loving platform. While they’re great at registration, their event marketing reporting and visual landing page capabilities leave lots to be desired. If you’re really looking at understanding HOW your possible attendees interact with your sales page and your registration landing page, you won’t get a ton of that information here. Better to look at an event marketing software like Bizzabo (below) or CVENT.
Splash is a platform that has a monthly fee (I’m unsure of how much it is, but I think it’s pretty reasonable PLUS they have a freemium version for you to try out the software) and they also include both ticketed and paid event options. They are a more design-heavy platform than the other ones and they are really interested in making their clients’ ticketing websites AND registration forms cohesive.
Best for: Companies with LOTS of events per year and want an easy event duplication process.
Pros: Splash really is an integrated solution, which means you can set up a ton of Zapier integrations and get almost all of your softwares talking to one another (which is a great feature). They also are a one-stop-shop for beautifully designed registration pages AND a ticketing software (though I’m a personal big fan of just setting up a Squarespace website since it’s easier to use). However, I know not everyone can just knock out a Squarespace page in a weekend, so this solution might be great if your marketing resources are slim and you don’t have someone that can custom make you a separate event website.
Cons: Ugh main, their landing page builder is NOT my favorite. It feels like a 2008 version of Wordpress, where you create an element and then view it and there’s SO much whitespace in between elements and you can’t figure out how to delete any of it. There’s no drag-and-drop option and I still cannot figure out why basic features (like centering the font on the header) don’t exist.
I get what they’re trying to do (create an all-inclusive solution for both webpage AND for registration), but honestly, the difficulty of website design use makes me want to just use Squarespace for everything.
Eventbrite is basically the Mac Daddy of event ticketing softwares, and is one of the oldest “new” event softwares in the book. They basically were one of the first platforms to exist and I used them a TON when I was just starting out and didn’t have many options. Over time, their company grew and they increased their fees, which is why I stopped using them, but they’ve always had a really awesome product.
Best for: Free events AND companies who want all the event marketing metrics with less of a cost than other event marketing softwares (like Bizzabo or CVENT, mentioned below).
Pros: Oh man, SO many pros for Eventbrite. They have the best ticketing platform AND they have a ton of really awesome reports that you can run about your event. They have a pretty good messaging platform where you can send your attendees messages after they’ve bought and they integrate directly with TONS of other platforms (meaning that you don’t have to go through Zapier to connect different APIs). That in and of itself is a game changer.
Cons: I’ve got nothing bad to say about Eventbrite except that, unless you’re looking for a bigger platform, it’s going to be the most expensive option on the market. Their fees are the highest (with just cause; their platform is awesome), so if you’re looking to stay on a budget and don’t need a ton of extra features, then possibly go somewhere else. The other thing that isn’t great about Eventbrite is that everything is Eventbrite branded and while that is ALSO true of most of the other platforms on this list, there is something about the orangeness of their logo that makes it REALLY noticeable.
Bizzabo was a software that I had used for my own conference back in 2017 and while it was really robust, we weren’t using it for the types of events that it was meant for. The experience was fine (their dashboard is really fun and fresh to look at) but for the types of events we were doing, I wasn’t super excited about it in the end.
Best for: Bigger companies that have a sizable event marketing budget and are hosting many events that attract the same people over and over. Bizzabo has a feature where you can see how many events a single email address has attended, which is AWESOME to know when you’re doing target marketing for future events.
Pros: Bizzabo is THE queen software of cross referencing attendees and marketing. If you host a lot of events a year and you’re constantly generating different leads from those events, it can be helpful to see who has attended certain events over and over again, and tailor a marketing campaign to any combination of previous attendees. They have a robust “list analysis function” which gathers lots of data per email address and can be used to sort and filter by different data points. Basically, if you’re an event marketer and you have a big budget for the yearly subscription, Bizzabo is going to open so many possibilities for you. They are the millenial version of CVENT and, if you’ve got the budget and the marketing brain to use it, it’s a great alternative to CVENT.
Cons: For me and the events we do per client, it’s the budget. In 2017, Bizzabo was like $5,000 for the year…HUGELY expensive. I’m sure their cost has gone up since then, so unless you’re working with a big-time event budget (on average $150,000 per event), then I’d skip it in favor of some of the less expensive softwares.
Full disclosure, we have almost NO experience with RegFox other than perusing the website AND the full blown adoration from our friend Nicole Ross over at Creative Quarter Horse. She uses them exclusively for her horse events and for clients’ events and she’s told me many times about how awesome the platform is.
Best for: Solopreneurs who need an easy solution for setting up their event management page AND those on a budget (they’re cheaper than Eventbrite, but more expensive than Ticket Tailor and there is no monthly payment option).
Pros: Okay, so again, we’re really just in the research phase with this one, but we’ve been told that the registration page and the dashboard is BONKERS easy to setup and view. If you’re hosting multiple events, it’s a really great platform as well.
Cons: Again, we’ll know more after we take a demo, but right now, it seems that they have similar features to Ticket Tailor but prices that are a little higher. We’ll report back after we know more!
Finally, other options I’ve used are CVENT (best for really large companies, with the pricetag to match) and Universe (not my favorite for features and customer service reasons, but they have an interesting social mission), but neither of those platforms would work for companies looking to do smaller, consistent events over the course of their year.
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Okay, your turn!
Do you have any awesome event ticketing softwares that you love?
Comment below and tell us why or why not!