How do booking fees work? A guide to booking fees

Posted on 02 September 2018

Ticket booking fees have been a hot topic in recent years due to the dramatic rise in how much we have to pay when we purchase a ticket. As a consumer we all know the feeling of adding a ticket to our shopping cart, going to checkout and seeing a much higher number than expected - that’s all down to booking fees.

What is a booking fee?

In short, a booking fee is a charge that a ticketing company add onto the price of a ticket they are selling. When a ticket is sold, say for £45, the face value of the ticket (£45) goes to the event organiser, in order for the ticketing company to make any money they have to add a booking fee which will cover their own expenses and payment processing.

The problem is created by there being no booking fee law set in place to cap what the ticketing agencies charge, it is totally legal for a ticketing company to charge whatever they want as a booking fee.

Let’s look at a market leader, how much is TicketMaster booking fees? On a £45 ticket, Ticketmaster will charge a £8.55 booking fee per ticket. Thats a huge 19% increase in price, to a consumer that ticket just became £53.55, it’s no wonder that increasing numbers are put off buying a ticket to an event at all.

Ticketmaster is, of course, for large scale events, so what about for smaller independent events being held by your average local business? Let’s say a yoga instructor decides to hold an all-day retreat showcasing her services and wants to sell tickets for it to ensure it doesn’t get overbooked.  The price of an individual ticket is going to be £45 covering classes, brochures, food, drink and equipment. If the yoga instructor decided to use WeGotTickets her customers would actually be paying £49.50 per ticket and she would not see a penny of that extra charge. This doesn’t sound fair for the event organiser or the event goer.

This isn’t limited to music events either, booking fees for theatre tickets, exhibitions, sports matches are all likely to have the same booking fees applied.

What are TicketEase booking fees?

TicketEase was built with the ambition of changing the event industry to be fairer for everyone, that’s why our fees are so low and we let the organiser charge whatever they like as a booking fee - with any money left over going straight to their pocket.

In comparison to other ticketing agencies, skiddle booking fees are typically around 10% of the ticket price, while TicketEase is a flat 36p, regardless of ticket price. We don’t claim to be free ticketing while charging your customers, we are open and honest about how our ticket pricing works.

Why do we charge booking fees on tickets?

We charge a very simple, minimal booking fee to cover the payment processing (using a secure third party, Stripe) and 36p to cover our server costs which keep TicketEase running. That’s it.

Why aren’t unlimited ticket booking fees illegal?

Currently there is no cap on how high a booking fee can be, as shown above this can lead to companies charging up to 20% on top of a ticket cost. Due to business deals with venues, the ticketing companies can get away with charging whatever they like as there are few other options available. It’s certainly not cheap to keep a website running when thousands of tickets go on sale.

How to avoid paying a booking fee?

For TicketEase, event organisers can charge what they feel is fair to their customers. If they only want to charge £1, they can, or if they want to charge £20, they can also do that. The booking fee is entirely set by the organiser who has the event-goers interest in mind.