Event planners are on a never-ending quest to measure the success of their events, and for good reason. Event metrics and analytics help us understand why some events are a hit and why others fly under the radar. While there are countless metrics you can analyze to evaluate your events, there’s one indicator of success that you do *not* want to sleep on—and that’s the data from your event ticket sales.
Tickets serve an important practical purpose, of course. But aside from getting people through the door of your event, ticketing also captures boatloads of valuable information. By taking the time to look at the nitty gritty of your ticket sales data, you’ll get an up-close view of your attendees’ interests, preferences, and habits.
Every event planner should look at ticket data when evaluating event success. But the way you go about it will depend on your business and your goals.
Start by determining what success looks like for your business
Think about the big picture: If you had to pinpoint your number one goal or the main reason you’re in the events biz, what would it be? Is it to generate profit and sales? To host events that attract a big audience? To build a community?
Decide what success looks like for you, and keep your ultimate goal top-of-mind as you make important decisions about event logistics, promotion, and programming. Frequently revisiting your goal will help you stay on track throughout the event lifecycle as you make decisions starting with planning and promotion, all the way through to the post-event evaluation period.
It’s time to dig into the ticket data
Chances are, you already keep tabs on your overall ticket sales and revenue. That’s an important metric, but it’s only one piece of the picture. Don’t forget about the other information you can glean from your event tickets:
- Ticket sales can tell you how attendees feel about the venue. If you’re hosting events at a venue with limited or assigned seating, look at which sections are most popular, and which sections are wide open—you’ll quickly get a sense for whether your venue is too big, too small, or if it just isn’t suited to your specific event. You can also compare ticket sales for similar events hosted at different venues, to compare if one venue attracts larger crowds than another.
- Compare ticket sales across types or tiers. If you routinely sell out your general admission tickets but you can’t sell an expensive VIP ticket to save your life, listen to the data: Either your VIP tickets are too pricey, or the perks aren’t enticing enough for your attendees to justify the higher cost. Use this information to adjust ticket prices and ticket tiers in order to give your audience more of what they want and to ultimately sell more tickets. Alternatively, if your business goal is more about drawing a crowd than turning a profit, consider selling more GA tickets and fewer VIP passes.
- Your ticket data can provide additional information about attendees. With the help of a tool like Event Tickets Plus, you can gather valuable information from people who RSVP or buy tickets to your events. Add custom fields to your registration form, with the option to make some fields required. In some cases, you may use custom fields for purely practical reasons—T-shirt size or meal preference, for instance—but you can also ask questions like “how did you hear about this event?”, “what are you most excited for?”, or “what’s your top priority when registering for an event”? By asking questions that tie back to your goals and your reason for hosting the event, you’ll come away with attendee feedback that can help steer your event strategy going forward.