You may have recently seen that the consumer monitor group Which? has carried out an investigation into the way ticket outlets (of which Skiddle is one) charge booking fees. The crux of Which?’s argument centres around their assertion that ticket agencies hide costs in the process, meaning the consumer has no choice but to pay the high fees. In the spirit of transparency we felt it was important to demonstrate how we operate for the peace of mind of the tens of thousands of event promoters and the hundreds of thousands of consumers that continue to place their trust in our service.
The tickets face value is generally set by the event promoter, it is inclusive of VAT, and it’s always possible to buy a ticket at that price, normally this is from the venue box office when booking in person or directly from the event promoter. It’s not always convenient for customers to purchase in this manner, so tickets are made available online, an option that event goers expect and one which is advantageous for event promoters due to the increased range it gives them when making sales.
Skiddle is a primary ticket outlet, this means we’re officially engaged by an event promoter to sell tickets on their behalf. By providing us with an allocation of tickets the event promoter wants something back in return, that’s our distribution channels and our marketing potential, in Skiddle’s case this comes in the form of us being the UK’s largest what’s on guide, our email marketing activities, our social media activities and our telephone support – we make considerable investments in all of these areas to ensure we deliver the best service to our customers.
Which? executive director, Richard Lloyd, said: “Consumers tell us they are feeling ripped off by the level of ticketing charges and the lack of transparency means it is almost impossible for people to compare prices when booking online.”
At Skiddle we’ve always felt it was really important to try to include as much information for the customer before they get into the purchase funnel, that’s why we spell out our booking fee alongside the face value of the ticket, clearly separating the two in order to be as transparent as possible (as shown below).
Most of the tickets we send out are e-Tickets. This means they’re delivered via email and are free (see the image below where it says e-Tickets), however if there is a postage charge this is shown on our basket page before entering your details, which is quite rare amongst other ticket agencies and other ecommerce websites. Also, in the event that our entry management solution RapidScan is being used at the venue there is a small charge that covers the cost of the technology and hardware.
Why do we charge a booking fees and delivery/processing fees?
A booking fee is added per ticket. This is the margin that Skiddle take to cover the cost of providing the secure ticketing service, as in the vast majority of sales, we pass the full face value of the ticket to the event promoter. This covers debit/credit card processing fees, VAT, customer services, call handling, account management, our secure server costs and profit. We try to keep these costs to an absolute minimum. In some circumstances, a portion of this booking fee may also be paid to the event promoter. On our average ticket purchase, the consumer will pay no more than £1 or £2 to Skiddle for our service. Without the booking fee there would be no Skiddle.
Delivery fees cover the delivery of the order, this is often determined by the event promoter and the tickets are delivered either through the Royal Mail network or via our alternative options such as RapidScan tickets. We keep these costs as low as possible and cover the costs we pay in delivering the order or providing technology such as barcode scanners at the venue. In a lot of cases where we provide an eTicketing service, we add no additional charges for this.
We hope that you’ve got a greater understanding of what it means to be a ticket agency online and how we make our money, likewise we hope you’ll agree we’re transparent in the process, ensuring the consumers using Skiddle understand what they’re paying, before they buy it. Although Which? has launched a petition for greater transparency in the tickets sector, we’re confident they’ll find Skiddle to be a positive trend setter in this area.
If you have any further questions please feel free to get in touch.