How we could get rid of Ticket Service Fees.

Here’s a way to get rid of ticketing service fees.

Unless you’ve been buried under a rock under another rock used for the bottom of a rock foundation, then you know these two seemingly unrelated facts:

  1. There are more secondary market ticket brokers reaching more ticket buyers than ever before.
  2. All ticket buyers hate paying service fees.

True, right?  Especially that second one.  I don’t know what it is, but there’s something just so annoying about getting to the end of a purchase path and seeing another $12 or so tacked on after you’ve gotten yourself over the hurdle of paying the high price for the ticket in the first place.

Customers DO pay the fees, of course, but they just don’t like it.  Adding a service fee is what I call “nibbling,” a common trick in negotiating when a bunch of little things are added to a previously negotiated bigger salary (e.g. tickets, car service, make-up, massage, lunch between shows) because the agent knows if you’re paying a big amount, the little things will seem like diddly squat, and therefore you’re more likely to agree.

Nibbling, whether in a negotiation or in service fees, annoys me.

Another example of nibbling in e-commerce?  So-called “shipping and handling.”

Ugh.  You spend all that time shopping around to find the best price on a desk or a TV or new set of golf clubs and then you get through the five shopping cart screens (entering in your address what seems like 7 times) and you find a shipping and “handling” cost that you didn’t expect.

Makes you want to punch something.

And it makes you want to distrust the vendor.  And maybe think about going elsewhere next time.  Am I right?

So here’s why the ticket broker expansion and service fees I started this blog with are related:

We want more people coming to our official and primary ticketing sellers, right?  It’s how we guarantee that the most money goes to the Broadway Creatives and the Broadway Investors, and it’s also where the ticket buyers should get the most accurate seat location and info.

This desire for more traffic on one shopping site versus sending people elsewhere to get our product reminds me of another little shopping website’s desire to own the market for…well…everything.

They call it…

Amazon knew, I’m sure through research, that a major annoyance for online shoppers was that aforementioned shipping and BS “handling” fee…not to mention not knowing exactly when your purchase would show up.

They solved their customer frustration by introducing a service called Prime, a $99-a-year “club” that delivers your item in 2 days, for ZERO shipping and handling.  Nibbling turned into giving.

Prime has obviously been a monster success for Amazon, as people have flocked to the site, signed up for the service, and now exclusively shop at Amazon because of the “value” of the waived “service fees” (see where I’m going).  I know I do shop almost exclusively at Amazon.  Don’t you?  Shoot, I even got the credit card to save even more money, I shop there so much.

And, now Amazon has started holding a Christmas in July-like “Prime Day,” with special discounts for members (moving tons of products at a time when they otherwise probably wouldn’t move a lot).

So what if our primary ticket sellers had a version of Ticket Prime?  Pay $99 a year and get all your service fees for FREE.

You’d come back there, wouldn’t you?

And what if there were special deals just for Prime members, granting you early access to tickets before anyone else (including brokers) got in, or special prices for new shows?

Just like Amazon did, we’d not only improve our customer’s experience, but we’d also eliminate one of their greatest frustrations.

And that would lead to more ticket sales on the primary sites for sure.

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Ken created one of the first Broadway podcasts, recording over 250 episodes over 7 years. It features interviews with A-listers in the theater about how they “made it”, including 2 Pulitzer Prize Winners, 7 Academy Award Winners and 76 Tony Award winners. Notable guests include Pasek & Paul, Kenny Leon, Lynn Ahrens and more.