When we launched TicketSignup in February this year, we entered the very large market of online ticketing. Rather than trying to build a product that solves problems for every event, we focused on building great technology for haunts. There are several reasons why we chose to focus on haunts as our initial market:
- Multi-day, timed entry ticketing: Many haunts happen across multiple days with time slots. This is a specific ticketing solution that is neither general ticketing nor expensive admissions software. We built our first version of free ticketing specifically for multi-day, timed entry events. Along with TicketSignup’s self-serve ticket management functionality, free email, free websites, and robust reporting, we had a best in class ticketing product purpose-built for haunts.
- Complex EventDay technology needs: From ticket and attraction check ins to on site ticket sales, haunts have high volume and complex needs on EventDay, and they need dependable technology that works so that they can focus on delivering a safe and enjoyable customer experience. Our EventDay team has a combined 80+ years of experience building technology for and working directly with large and complex outdoor events, which accelerated our team’s ability to deliver best in class EventDay tools for haunts.
- Existing customers: We had two large RunSignup customers with complex multi-day, timed entry ticket events (one of which was a haunt) that informed initial product priorities, ensured that our platform worked well from ticket sales to EventDay for events with more than 50,000 tickets, and gave direct feedback on what we needed to improve.
- A large market that’s underserved: The haunt market could be as large as $1 Billion, with more haunts starting to sell online tickets and a large customer base of people who like scary things. While there are horizontal ticketing platforms like Eventbrite and many smaller competitors like TicketSpice, HauntPay, TicketSocket, and more that offer ticketing to haunts, we see a gap in the market. There isn’t a free ticket event solution with best in class and integrated marketing tools and EventDay technology.
- Adjacent vertical markets: While we will continue to focus on haunts, we will be able to sell and market the same set of product features to other large verticals like holiday lights, beer fests, farm events, and wine events that often have similar multi-day, timed entry ticketing with complex EventDay technology needs.
We worked with dozens of Halloween events this year. For this report, we take a closer look at the top 10 haunts that used TicketSignup in 2022. Here are the stats for the top ten haunts:
- 172,450 tickets sold
- 2.74 average number of tickets per purchase
- 5.17% of all tickets transferred to a different date and/or time slot
- 55% of ticket purchasers added a store item or upgrade when available
- $81.66 in ticket sales for each dollar spent on refunds via TicketSignup Referral Rewards
- 100% of events used the TicketSignup CheckIn App
- 95% of tickets checked in with the TicketSignup CheckIn App
- .28% of ticket sale revenue refunded
- 2.8 average chargebacks per event
Automated Referral Rewards are one of the most cost-effective tools to grow your haunt. TicketSignup makes it simple to set up your rewards (i.e. Refer 5 friends, get $20 back) and we automatically refund the ticket purchasers’ credit card when they reach that threshold. Several of the top 10 haunts implemented a Referral Rewards program this year and generated about $37,000 in ticket sales for the cost of $452 in refunds. That’s a dollar spent for $81.66 in new ticket sales!
One of the best ways to promote a Referral Rewards program is a custom pop-up with the ticket purchasers’ referral link on the checkout page and automated follow-up emails. Because there is often a quick turn around between buying tickets and attending the event, several haunts set up an automated email to send 1 hour after someone purchased tickets with the customers’ unique referral link to share with friends and an explanation of the rewards program.
Free Email Marketing extends beyond automated emails. One haunt, Terror on the Farm, sent 4 marketing emails to a list with about 13,500 contacts in September and October. Previously they had used Mailchimp credits to send these 4 promotional emails, which cost between $1,050 and $1.575. With TicketSignup they sent these emails for free with impressive open and click through rates.
Free Email Marketing integrated with ticket data is also key for pre-event and emergency communications. Some haunts had to cancel one or two nights due to Hurricane Ian. They emailed ticket holders for those dates with a secure link to let them transfer their tickets to a different date, reducing the risk of chargebacks and refunds.
Websites are how customers find haunts. This year some haunts used TicketSignup as their primary website and some used as a link from their own website. Next year, more haunts will transition their websites to TicketSignup because TicketSignup’s free and data-driven websites offer a number of advantages to haunts:
- Mobile and SEO optimized
- Easy to make updates – no need to wait on (and pay for) a webmaster to update the website to let customers know Friday is rained out
- Customizable tiles and/or calendars
- Full capabilities to create unique and beautiful websites – add pages, menus, images, video, content, buttons, and more
- BYO domain or subdomain for free
- Sticky “Buy Tickets” call to action buttons
- Email capture to grow marketing lists
TicketSignup’s ticket purchase flow is optimized to get customers checked out quickly whether they are on a computer or their phone – no clunky log ins or password creation steps and no confusing carts or extra clicks to make a payment.
With more than 55% of ticket purchasers adding a store item to their cart, TicketSignup’s purchase flow works well for haunts that are looking to upsell additional items.
An average cart has 2.74 tickets. The only cost to use TicketSignup is a transaction processing fee that events can pass on to attendees. Because we only charge per transaction and not per ticket like Eventbrite and other vendors, attendees pay less in processing fees. Since fees are very inelastic and customers are used to paying fees per ticket, haunts have room to grow profits by increasing the TicketSignup processing fee and keeping the difference.
Integrated financials make it easy (and free) to issue refunds, although just .28% of ticket sales were refunded. Refund notes indicate that this was often due to Covid or sickness. The top 10 haunts had an average of 2.8 chargebacks. TicketSignup fights chargebacks on behalf of customers; we have already won and reversed 5 of the chargebacks from the top 10 haunts, and this number will go up in the coming weeks.
The TicketSignup dashboard has real-time analytics and easy options to deliver customer service like a quick attendee search and flexible management options that make it easy to help attendees. Haunts were able to reduce their customer service burden by enabling self-serve ticket transfer options, with options to charge fees and set rules by date. With 5.17% of all tickets for the top 10 haunts transferring to a different date and/or time, enabling customers to do this on their own is key.
Haunts have extensive responsibilities at their events and they need on site technology that works. All ten of the top haunts used the Ticket App for CheckIn at their events, checking in 95% of tickets sold. The 5% of tickets that weren’t checked in are no shows – that’s revenue that haunts kept and additional capacity to sell more on site tickets.
CheckIn stats can be monitored in real time from the CheckIn App or dashboard. This enabled haunts to adjust caps in real time, also easily done from the dashboard at any time.
There were several ways that haunts handled on site ticket sales. Some required that all tickets were purchased online. To make on site sales easy, they used QR codes and/or quick text so that customers could purchase from their phones if they hadn’t bought ahead of time. We had several customers use TicketSignup’s Square Point of Sale to sell tickets on site, which keeps ticket, caps, and sales tax data streamlined. Others accepted cash or used their existing point of sale solution. Haunts were overwhelmingly happy with the Ticket App for CheckIn because of how quickly lines moved with almost no bottlenecks as well as the extra revenue that TicketSignup generates compared to other point of sale solutions, so they all promoted online ticket sales to customers.
We are very lucky to have a team of talented developers who ship a lot of software, great support and sales teams who help customers use those solutions, and fantastic customers who give us feedback on features they want. We’ve done hundreds of software releases this year to support haunts, from ticket bundles and attraction CheckIns to more reports and website features.
Our team also attended a number of the top haunts to meet our customers and better understand the problems that they are trying to solve. Scott (UX and EventDay Developer) spent a weekend at Scaregrounds PDX, Allison (VP Product) travelled down to the Haunted Forest at Panic Point, Jake (TicketSignup Sales Director) visited Harvest Tyme Farm, and Bryan (VP Sales) helped Terror on the Farm start selling online tickets for the first time and spent several nights working the haunt.
We will continue to invest to improve our ticketing and EventDay technology for next year’s haunts. Some of the key priorities for our ticket development roadmap include:
- Multiday and Timed Entry: Our product works well but there are some limitations with reporting, display, and ease of use. We will be investing significant developer time to transition to more calendar-driven set ups that enable easier management and reporting across multiple days and time slots, getting closer to a perfect solution between general ticketing and admissions software that is purpose-built for haunts.
- Fast Checkout: We will be removing the need to enter billing address for transactions greater than $5 – ticket purchasers will only need to scan/enter card details and zip code. This makes it even easier and faster for attendees to buy tickets online.
- Attraction CheckIn: We learned a lot about checking in tickets by attraction this fall. We will continue to improve ease of use and reporting for haunts that want to scan and check in attendees by attraction.
- Email and Websites: Haunts can cut a lot of overhead by moving to TicketSignup’s free email and free websites. This is a major platform investment and we will continue to release more functionality from data-driven components and image sharing to pre-built templates and more design components.
TicketSignup is purpose-built to help haunts elevate their brand and marketing, grow their ticket sales and bottom line, and make EventDay easier with best-in-class technology. We’re excited to work with more haunts in 2023 and beyond!