How to Create Complementary Event Tickets

Easy event ticketing with Chirrpy extends to creating and quickly distributing complementary tickets to your event.

By using our Comp Tickets functionality, you can give tickets away, for example, to business partners, sponsors, vendors, and media.

What are Comp Tickets?
A complementary ticket is simply a ticket you don’t charge for. Want to distribute free “Saturday After VIP Special” or a “Family of 4 Fun Pack” tickets? It’s easy with Chirrpy. Here’s how:

NOTE: You will need the email address of every individual you want to send comp tickets to. If you’re creating 10 comp tickets for a radio station giveaway, you’ll just the Promotions Manager’s email address. Use it for each ticket. If you’re sending one comp ticket to a sponsor, you’ll need that person’s email address.

i. Log in to your Chirrpy account and click on My Events.

ii. Click on the event in your event list.

iii. Click on the “Orders” icon in the left column.

iv. Just above the list of ticket orders for your event, click on the Comp Tickets link.

v. You will see every ticket type you created for your event. Select the quantity of the ticket that you want to send out as a complementary ticket. Click Send Tickets button.

vi. You will then see an Order Summary/checkout page for your event. You need to complete any Registrant Information and Attendee Information required fields. The email address is the individual who is going to receive the emailed ticket.

NOTE: Any fields that are required during a normal checkout for the event are still required when you create a comp ticket. For example, you may have to provide fields such as First Name and Last Name. If you don’t know the information, you can use something such as “KCBS Contest Winner.” Remember, you’re the one who is going to have this data after the event so make sure it is useful.

vii. Once you’ve completed the fields, simply click the Submit Registration button. The tickets will be emailed to the address given.

Tracking Comp Tickets Usage
It’s easy to track which comp tickets were used at your event. Just download our free mobile app, and use it for event checkin. After the event, you‘ll be able to sort by ticket types to see how many comp ticket holders actually came.

Selling Event Tickets Online: When to Put Them on Sale

You know when your event is. You know the venue. You know how much you’re going to charge. Do you know when to put tickets on sale?

When Should You Start Selling Event Tickets?
Some of the beer festivals Chirrpy works with put their event tickets on sale 5-6 months before the event. Other events put them on sale 4-5 weeks before. Why the difference? The basic answer is basically traction. Consider the following:

  • Is yours an existing event?
  • Are you launching a new event?
  • If your event is new, do you have an existing population of potential attendees, a portion of whom will buy tickets? (At least you hope they will).
  • If your event is new, are you essentially starting from scratch in terms of audience building?

You Have an Existing Audience: Put tickets on Sale 6-8 Weeks in Advance

NOTE: Remember that these are dates when tickets go on sale; it’s not when you start event promotion and marketing. That needs to begin much earlier.

An event planner with an existing community of followers, fans, customers, club members, Facebook fans or Twitter followers living near your venue, etc. begins with a not insignificant advantage.

What’s most important is that you have a ready audience that knows who you are, what you sell, or share’s your interest, such as raising funds for the local school district. This list comprises your primary audience, the people you are going to contact first. If you already have an audience of people whom you can honestly project as likely attendees, you don’t have to put tickets on sale as early. This is true, even if your event is new.

TIP: Make sure a “Tickets Available on…” notice is highly visible on your event website when you begin event marketing.

TIP: Add a “Contact Me About Tickets” invitation and an email address field so you can capture names. Email everyone who registers two reminders, one four days in advance, and the second 24 hours in advance of the tickets going live.

Six-to-eight weeks should provide ample time to sell as many tickets as you are going to sell. Hopefully, this means a sellout. This is also enough time to implement an incentive selling program using early-bird discounts, discount codes and coupons, and partnership sales channels as needed. (Free sales-driving features and tools are built in to Chirrpy’s event ticketing platform to help you sell out).

You Need to Build an Audience: Put tickets on Sale 4-5 Months in Advance
If you’re truly starting from scratch, as a new event without a ready audience to which you can market, you’ll need a lot more time for event promotion and ticket sales. Plan on putting tickets on sale 4-5 months in advance.

Understanding that your event marketing will begin even earlier, 16-20 weeks of ticket sales allows you the time to implement a Plan B or Plan C should revenue from your initial sales efforts fall to meet projections. You’ll then be able to explore and test alternate sales channels, including Daily Deals sites like Living Social, and discount coupons.

Ticketing is not an exact science, even if you are an experienced event planner. When it comes to deciding when to put event tickets on sale, choose more time than less.

Event: First Annual Centennial Wine Expo

Date: April 26, 2013

Time: 6 p.m. - 9 p.m.

Cost:
General Admission: $38.66
General Admission + VIP Tasting: $49.71
(Prices include tax)

Venue:
Centennial Malt House
2017 Chouteau Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63103

Organizer: Moulin Events and Meetings

What:
At the Centennial Wine Expo, adventure through the world by exploring 200 different wines from across the globe. Everything poured by the 20 distributors will be available for purchase by the bottle or by the case. Upgrade to a VIP ticket, and enjoy ne plus ultra appetizers (definitely better than airplane peanuts).

Who should attend:
Those unfamiliar with wine and those seeking an opportunity to expand their collection with wines usually allocated solely to restaurants and wine shops.

Why:
With its easily manageable tasting sheets, and on-site ordering, connoisseurs and wine amateurs can look forward to an evening of spectacular wine in a fun and classy atmosphere. Postpone that trip to Southwest France for a while longer, and save your frequent flyer miles for something else.

Buy Event Tickets:
First Annual Centennial Wine Expo Tickets

Online Event Tickets-Where to Sell Them

In a recent post, Selling Event Tickets Online: What to Do Before Anything Goes On Sale, we gave you a list of seven event ticketing areas to think about before you put your event tickets on sale. We’ll divide the first one, availability, into several blog posts.

Where Are You Going to Sell Tickets?

NOTE: The comments below apply to pre-event ticketing. We’ll discuss options for selling tickets on site in a separate post.

You can either sell pre-event tickets in person, online or a combination thereof. Before the advent of online and mobile event ticketing options, tickets were always physical (printed), and sold either face to face or over the phone. Internet and mobile event ticket sales have certainly replaced phone orders. In-person ticket sales probably won’t disappear entirely, however, as they remain very common for events such as small service club (Rotary, Lions and Kiwanis, for example) events and school fundraisers.

In Person Only
Firstly, if you’re going to sell tickets in person, you need to design, print, distribute the tickets, and most likely provide receipts. Payment options for in-person sales will be cash, or check, unless you have a process to collect credit card numbers and process the charges.

Fewer and fewer events sell only printed event tickets due to the obvious limitations of having to personally meet buyers, or drop off tickets at the point of sale, such as a local business. Afterwards, you then have to collect the proceeds. If the event attendees come from out of town, you’ll either have to mail them tickets in advance or provide some kind of will-call service at the event venue.

Exclusively eTickets or Digital Ticketing
Online event ticketing using etickets is easier than ever. The larger the event, the easier it is to sell tickets entirely online, especially if you are talking about thousands or tens of thousands of tickets. For example, the Lincoln Square Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce sold out its entire 2013 Winter Brew beer festival inventory of 1,200 online in six days using Chirrpy.

NOTE: Eticketing means that attendees receive a digital ticket, usually in the format of an email. The email typically contains event details and some kind of unique bar code or QR code to ensure security. A single-use QR code means one ticket = one admission if you’re using a mobile app to scan tickets at the event venue.

What Does Online Mean?
We’ll handle this in two parts. First, are you going to sell event tickets online by adding a PayPal button to your site, or modifying your shopping cart? (Read a discussion of PayPal for event ticketing for additional information). Alternately, you might prefer a specialty online event ticketing platform from a vendor like Chirrpy. Online event ticketing platforms provide far more ticketing functionality and benefits for event organizers.

Second, where are the etickets going to be available for purchase in the online world? Online means available for sale on your organization’s website or a site created specifically for your event. Online also includes Facebook right now due to the popularity of the social network across most ticket-buying demographics. Additionally, it could also mean availability on other people’s websites.

Buying Tickets Using a Smartphone
We include buying tickets on a smartphone as part of online event ticketing. Smartphone-wielding ticket buyers typically launch a web browser to visit an event website or Chirrpy event page (i.e. the Rhythm & Blues Brews and BBQ Festival in Tallahassee, FL) to purchase event tickets.

NOTE: Over 35% of event tickets purchased through Chirrpy are purchased on mobile.

Combination of In Person and Online Event Ticketing
Some events offer both choices. The Downtown Organization or Retailers (DOR) in Waynesboro, GA, for example, sells physical and etickets to its annual Boss Hog Cookoff barbecue event in May. The event’s primary sponsor is the First National National Bank of Waynesboro, which sells tickets in its local branches. Chirrpy takes care of the design and printing of physical tickets, in addition to online event ticketing.

These are your options of where to sell event tickets before your event begins. Next we’ll discuss when to put event tickets on sale.

Bottle Rock Napa Valley: Why Camping is Your Best Option

The Bottle Rock Napa Valley music festival takes place in three weeks. All of the local hotel, inn and B&B lodging in the town of Napa is reserved (or appears to be). Your next options are to either look outside to neighboring towns like Vallejo (15 miles), Sonoma (15 miles) or Fairfield (12 miles), or upwards to your attic where your camping stuff is stored.

I live in Napa. Bottle Rock Skyline Park camping is your best option; logistically, financially and experientially. Here’s why:

Availability
The camping organizers have mapped out a 450-site campground. Campsites remain available but the registration pace has picked up substantially in the past week. There is no other camping available in Napa.

TIP: If you’re a runner, you can either enjoy a Skyline Park trail run or enjoy a flat run from the Park, crossing Soscol Ave. to the grounds surrounding Napa Valley College.

Logistically
Skyline Park is a 900-acre park in the southeast corner of the city of Napa.

the green, green grass of your temporary Bottle Rock camping home

It’s 2.4 miles on foot if you take the side streets from the campground to the Napa Fairgrounds, the Bottle Rock Napa Valley venue. (3 min. on Google Maps will show you the way). The route is Patton Ave., cut west over to Seville Dr., left on Shurtleff Ave., right on Terrace Ave., and a left on Coombsville where you’ll descend a hill to the party awaiting below.

Camping organizers have arranged for shuttle service to and from the venue. Depending on the wait, you might prefer to walk. If you’ve been sitting down all day, your legs will enjoy the motion. Alternately, you could drive your car most of the way and find a spot to park on Terrace Ave.

Financially
Bottle Rock Napa Valley camping costs $80 a night. That’s good for four people. In contrast, you’re unlikely to find any hotel accommodation below $60-65 within 15 miles of the venue. Event parking in Napa and shuttle to the venue is going to set you back $20, unless you park elsewhere in town and walk.

Experientially
If your hotel is anywhere but in town, count on a slow drive to Napa. The roads into towns are not interstates so there will be backups the closer you get. Current plans call for mass parking at the old Napa Pipe industrial complex, which is about 3.5 miles south of the venue. Once in the parking lot, you’ll have to wait for a shuttle.

If your hotel is in Fairfield (12 miles away), figure on 90 minutes to get from your room to the venue if you drive. Count on at least 50 minutes if you can take a shuttle that drops you close to the venue. Count on 60 minutes to get from a hotel in downtown Sonoma to the venue if you drive. No idea how long it will take at night when everyone is leaving at once.

Amenities
Skyline Park is very beautiful, particularly now when everything is verdant and green. There is a large plain at the north end where the Bottle Rock campground will be. There will lots of toilets, shower trailers and 35,000 stars overhead.

The mountain biking is incredible; the Park hosted a number of UCI World Cup mountain bike races a decade ago. The trail running is awesome in the mornings. Not into runner or biking? The terrain is great for walking. If you’re truly energetic and into disk golf, Skyline Park has one of the hilliest disk golf courses west of the Himalayan foothills.

ready for the Bottle Rock Napa Valley hordes

TIP: If you’re a Bottle Rocker into mountain biking, bring your bike. Do a ride in the morning, shower, enjoy a late-breakfast and then head (bike or walk) to the venue.

So if you’re going to Bottle Rock Napa Valley, and still looking for a place to sleep, camping makes sense. When you sum the nightly cost of a campsite and the time savings of Skyline Park camping, and compare them against the cost of an out-of-town hotel, the hassle and cost of driving or shuttle time, Skyline Park makes so much more sense.

If you’re not going to be in Napa in early May, but will be in Tennessee in late May, you can always enjoy camping and roots music at the Jammin’ at Hippie Jacks’ May Festival.

The Best IPA in America

Huffington Post Advice for Beer Drinkers

We don’t usually take drinking advice from The Huffington Post but we’ll make a call-out for its recent effort to promote American India Pale Ales.

Lagunitas Brewery, our local crafters of craft beer, made the“15 IPAs to Drink Before You Die” list for its Lagunitas IPA. #DidYouKnow it is one of the top three selling craft beer IPAs in the state of California?

Reviewer Samuel Merritt, of Civilization of Beer fame, was glowing, even highlighting the poultry-raising history of Petaluma in his review:

“This whole IPA “before you die” list is a little off for me since there is definitely beer in heaven. That said, I’m pretty sure that before you die, you’ll want to head to Petaluma chicken country in California to enjoy a hoppy West Coast IPA with one of the coolest bunch of people in the state.

You’ll want to go to the Lagunitas pub and listen to a great band and just sit there and take it all in. This is especially important if you’re from the East Coast. Lagunitas is simply a superbly Californian experience. Their slogan, “beer speaks, people mumble,” is important to remember before you die, and this beer and knowing how nice the people who made it are will remind you of that. It’s boisterous, lusty, chewy, strong, and oh so herbal.”

We know it’s popular because more than a few of our customers (such as Lincoln Square Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce, and Midwest Brewers Fest) that organize beer festivals, upon learning that Chirrpy is located in Petaluma, CA, exclaim something like “I just love Lagunitas IPA.”

Whether it is the best IPA in America is up to you. You might prefer something brewed by your local craft brewer. (Here’s a look at some of the offerings available from California’s best craft brewers that are available near our office).

P.S. If you’re going to be in Illinois in late August, and are looking for an outing on Saturday, August 24, and an opportunity to put some IPAs to your own taste test, the Midwest Brewers Fest is a great option. It’s just 40 miles southwest of Chicago.

Event Preview: Lincoln Square Ravenswood Spring Wine Stroll

Event: Lincoln Square Ravenswood Spring Wine Stroll

Date: April 25, 2013

Time: 6:30 pm - 9:30 pm

Cost:
The Lincoln Route (A): $40
The Lincoln Route (B): $40
Damen/Montrose Route: $40
All routes: $60

Venue: The Ravenswood neighborhood of Chicago

Organizer: Lincoln Square Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce

What:
An annual sellout—whether in the Spring or Fall—the Wine Stroll is one of the Lincoln Square Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce’s most popular events. Participants choose their route(s) based on the business district/street they want to visit. Each route includes wine sampling and hors d’oeuvres at various businesses.

The Lincoln A and B wine list includes 45 different reds and whites, while the Damen/Montrose wine list has 35. Start with an empty glass, then stop, look, eat, and sip at each of the participating locations.

Who should attend:
Don’t know the difference between cab, merlot or pinot noir? Doesn’t matter. The neophyte, to the credential sommelier will enjoy this spring stroll through the beautiful Ravenswood neighborhood of Chicago.

Why:
Adios to heavy snow. Auf wiedersehen to January’s deep freeze. Hello to longer days and potential additions to your home wine cellar. Socialize with friends. Enjoy the nibbles. Support your favorite Ravenswood neighborhood businesses. The Wine Stroll is the perfect way to welcome spring.

Buy Event Tickets:
Lincoln Square Ravenswood Spring Wine Stroll Tickets

Selling Event Tickets Online: What to Do Before Anything Goes On Sale

If you’re a Rotary Club member and raised your hand when the event committee chair asked “Who wants to be in charge of ticketing?” what do you do next? OK, you’re not in Rotary, but you are on the local Children’s Hospital fundraising committee. And like the Rotarian, you’re in charge of ticketing for the annual banquet. What’s the first thing you do?

Regardless of whether your next event is a banquet, crab feed, Oktoberfest, or arts and wine festival, event ticketing will be a key part of the its success and the profits you make.

With 34,000 clubs worldwide, Rotarians are veteran event planners.

Before you put tickets on sale, get answers to the following questions:

1. Ticket Availability
Where are tickets going to be available?
- In person from club members, for example?
- Sold in local businesses?
- Offered online?
- Available in Facebook?

When are tickets going to be available (sales begin and end)?
Are you going to use incentives like Early-Bird specials? (see #3 for more info)
Are you going to sell tickets on site during your event?
If so, what do you need to sell on site?

2. Ticket Formats
Are tickets physical or electronic?
Are you going to offer both?
What is the lead time to print physical tickets?
What do you have to do to prevent ticket fraud with physical tickets?
What do you have to do prevent ticket fraud with digital tickets?

3. Ticket Types or Categories
Is there a venue capacity limiting ticket sales?
Are there going to be different kinds of tickets?
- VIP designations
- Designated Drivers
- Pricing for children
- Extra tasting tickets
- Complementary tickets

Are you going to limit inventory of some categories like VIP tickets?
How many of each category do you want to, or can sell?

4. Ticket Pricing and Incentives
How much are you going to charge for each ticket category?
Has your event previously used incentives to drive sales? If so, how well did they work?
Do you want to use incentives like Early-Bird specials or discount codes this year?
How about bundle pricing such as “Fabulous Four Pack: Buy four tickets (regularly priced at $50 for $175”?

5. Payment Options
What payment options do you want to offer?
- Cash
- Check
- Credit/debit cards
- PayPal (or similar)

6. Ticket Security
How can people circumvent (basically cheat) your planned ticketing plan?
How can you reduce/eliminate ticket fraud such as people copying PayPal receipts if you offer multiple points of entry?
If you use wristbands, how do you prevent their fraudulent use?

7. Event Entry or Checkin
Is there Internet or cell phone reception at the venue?
How good is the reception?
How are you going to ensure an efficient and secure entry process into your event venue?
How are people going to enter and exit the venue?
How many points of entry or wine tasting wristband distribution areas, for example, will there be?
How are you going to check off attendees against the list of people who bought tickets?

Advance Ticket Planning = More Event Proceeds
Regardless of whether your next event is a winter banquet or an outdoor summer wine festival, plan ahead by answering the above questions.

You’ll sell more tickets. Your event will make more money and run a lot smoother. And—perhaps most importantly—you won’t burn out your volunteers with an experience they never want to repeat.

Here are two examples of how Rotary Clubs sell event tickets online with Chirrpy:
2013 Orange County Food and Wine Festival organized by the Brea Rotary Club
2012 Hoptoberfest organized by the East Grays Harbor Rotary Club

If you’d like to experience easy event ticketing with Chirrpy, call us toll free at 800-896-9965

Event Preview: Prohibition Party & Brew Fest

Event: Prohibition Party & Brew Fest

Date: April 7, 2013

Cost: includes tasting glass and unlimited beer samples
Session 1: 12:00-3:00 pm - $40
Session 2: 4:00-7:00 pm - $40
Designated Driver for either session: $10

Venue:
The Oriental Theater
4335 W. 44th Street,
Denver, CO 80212

Organizer: Denver Gourmet Tours

What:
Celebrate the 80th anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition. The Twenty-First Amendment annulled the Eighteenth Amendment. Without that event, you wouldn’t be able to spend three hours at this event. There will be craft beer, some of Denver’s best food trucks, and perhaps even early-Spring sunshine so you can walk to the venue.

Who should attend:
Prohibition era attire is encouraged. If you’re fed up waiting for the oft-delayed release of Leonardo DiCaprio’s Great Gatsby movie as an excuse to wear your Roaring 20’s outfit, get it out and come down to Denver’s Tennyson Art and Business District.

Why:
The math looks good; 25 established and aspiring Colorado craft breweries will be pouring 150+ amazing beers. Among the pourers are Wynkoop Brewing Co., Upslope Brewing Company, Arvada Beer and Hogshead Brewery.

Buy Event Tickets:
Prohibition Party & Brew Fest Tickets