When Should You Stop Selling Tickets to Your Event?

Time plays an important role in ticket sales. Timing your event tickets to be on sale a few months in advance will satisfy the event attendees who are hungry to prepare as-soon-as-possible for any upcoming event.

The time of the year that you plan your event will dictate whether you need a backup plan for snow or rain.

And time-gating event ticket sales can spark FOMO in attendees — which can help you boost your overall ticket sales.

But, when does the time need to stop?

Eventually, you have to stop selling tickets to your event, right?

Should it be the minute that your event starts?

Should it be 30 minutes after?

Wait... should you even stop selling tickets? 

Great questions! There are two sides to this argument. Let’s dive into both.

right hand holding a mouse and left hand holding a card and laptop at the middle

Side A: You should stop selling tickets at a point

For many event marketers and ticket companies, this answer is simple. You stop selling tickets after the event starts.

Now, you may be wondering — “why would I want to stop making money?”

Well, the goal of stopping ticket sales early is to actually earn you more money... but in the long run. Here’s the theory.

If you stop selling tickets at the start of the event, people will want to purchase your tickets early, and that may lead to a sold-out event.

In other words, you want to spark FOMO (or Fear of Missing Out.) And there’s definitely power behind FOMO.

We even had a post talking about FOMO in relation to ticket sales (hint: it works REALLY well.)

But, we’re going to interrupt this party.

We don’t like Side A that much. Don’t get us wrong.

FOMO works and stopping ticket sales early will almost certainly lead to some people making an earlier purchase. But, will it be enough people to justify the strategy?

Here’s why we don’t think so.


Side B: Don’t stop selling tickets

As many as 45% of people showing up to your event want to buy tickets at the gate.

If you stop selling tickets, the moment the event starts, you risk alienating these groups. You may be thinking— “Ok, but how many of them are really going to show up post-event-start?”

The answer is... a lot.

According to surveys, 27% of live event ticket buyers purchase their tickets after the event starts. So, we run into a problem.

Should you try to stop ticket sales early and hope that 1/4th of your prospects are hit with FOMO fever?

Or is it better to keep ticket sales going and let them in late?

Well, since your tickets almost certainly have a no-refund policy, and since only 40% (if you’re lucky) of that 27% of people will succumb to FOMO, there’s really no point in stopping your ticket sales early.

But, we’re trying to ignore the elephant in the room here — popularity. If you’re planning a Bruno Mars concert, you probably don’t need toworry about whether or not you should stop selling tickets. If you’re planning a concert to show off your friend Bob’s rap game — that may be a different story.

If you’re not sure whether or not your event will sell out, we recommend keeping the ticket train rolling. Let them purchase tickets 20 minutes into the event. Why not?

You may think it cheapens your event.

But really, it’s just giving over a 1/4th of your attendees an opportunity to see the event. Remember, people love being fashionably late.

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