Are you working for a small and/or start-up arts organization and looking to sell tickets to an upcoming event but not sure where to begin or how to get started?
If so, Brown Paper Tickets might be just the ticket for you (pun intended).
As an independent musician, presenter, and small concert promoter, the ease of use and functionality it provided me with as of late proved invaluable. I am also fairly certain the events that I planned would have been administrative headaches (and potential disasters) without it.
So, what is Brown Paper Tickets?
Brown Paper Tickets is a self-proclaimed “fair-trade ticketing company” that allows anyone to sell tickets to an upcoming event in a Do It Yourself (“DIY”) fashion. However, with BPT, you are not doing it entirely by yourself, because the company’s benefits include a team of staff available 24/7 who can help you or your customers by email or phone. These support staff can help with anything from ticket sales assistance to helping lost customers find your venue. Even better, Brown Paper Tickets employees are fluent in English, Spanish and French.
How much does it cost?
Selling tickets through the portal is free for you as an arts manager, but it charges customers an additional $.99 plus 3.5% of your ticket cost to account for credit card processing and ticket delivery.
How long does it take to set up an event?
Once you have your date and venue picked out, it takes about 15 minutes to get your event ready for potential customers. As soon as you set up your account information (user name and password required), you can enter all the relevant information about your event for customers to see, including event description, time, date, address, cost (it allows you to set different prices, such as student vs. general rates), images, keywords (helpful for your SEO) and more.
After you've entered in all the juicy tidbits about your event, you can submit it for approval to one of the site’s administrators. While they say that it can take up to three days for approval, in my experience, each event was approved in less than 48 hours. I found it comforting to know that all events must pass through a human’s inspection before going out into the world, demonstrating the integrity of the company.
How does the site interact with social media?
The event set-up portal includes specific fields to add Facebook, Twitter, and video URLs.
What are some of the cool features about Brown Paper Tickets?
One of the features that I found most helpful through BPT was the free promotion and partnerships with local organizations. For instance, because I tagged one of the concerts that I organized as “folk music” in the keyword search, Brown Paper Tickets took the initiative to contact Calliope Folk Music Society (the local Folk Music organization in town) to inform them about the event. To my surprise, when I was browsing their site for a different purpose, I saw my event on both their calendar of events and home page! How could you not love free advertising from relevant partners?
One of the other major benefits to the site that I found was how easy it was to sell tickets and not worry about handling credit card processing on my own. Customers can easily pre-purchase through the site, or can even purchase in person at designated BPT walk-up locations. You can also select how you want to run your ticket collection at the door. BPT gives you the option to either create a list of attendees (an automatically generated report that you can use at the door), or provides a free app to scan barcodes. If you want to sell physical tickets, you can purchase up to 10,000 tickets at just $.10 each, and once ordered, BPT guarantees that they will ship them to you within 24 hours.
For the analytics lover, BPT has a full report generation system that allows you to look your customer segmentation data and more. You can also elect to have customized reports emailed to you daily so you can easily stay on top of your ticket sales figures. I would be lying if I said I didn't anticipate those emails every morning to see how many more people had decided to attend one of the events I was planning!
Concerned about how you are going to pay the performers and staff who made your event a success? Don’t be. Within days of each event, I received a check in the mail for exactly the amount I was expecting.
BPT also includes a number of add-on features that enhance the user experience and can do good for the community - such as the option for customers to donate to an organization or cause of your choice.
BPT gives you the power to easily make events successful, even with a small staff, a limited budget, or when you are running short on time. It has helped me bring concerts in both large and small venues to fruition. I’ve also recently started using it to aid in registration for educational workshops that I run and manage. As arts managers, Brown Paper Tickets gives you flexibility and allows you to be creative in your event planning. Browse through the site on your own to discover the features that it offers that are most applicable to you and your organization!