Selling earlybird event tickets

How guys I’m wondering what people’s experience is with setting earlybird ticket prices and quantity?

What’s the right discount to go for, and is it common practice to set the quantity very low so that, to the consumer, when earlybirds go quickly, it looks like the event is selling fast and therefore it creates urgency and gets ticket sales rolling?

All thoughts welcome!

Great topic to discuss Nick.

Ideally between 20 - 40% discount off the full price. The higher the discount the earlier out from the event it (the discount) should expire.

Yes setting a low quantity of tickets to create a sense of urgency to the consumer, is a great tactic however it’s always difficult to gauge how many tickets to initially set. Depending on the ticketing system you’re using you can always edit the amount of tickets once ticket sales begin.

I think EBD are a great thing and consumers love them, as they believe they’re getting better value for money.


We’ve found the discount amount does not necessarily drive sales. Seems to be more about missing out on any possible discount.

Our price tiers are sometimes hidden so its an unknown discount to the purchaser. Other times only future ticket amounts are shown.

We normally hide past/unavailable discounted tickets so visitors don’t feel like they missed out and are a sucker for paying more.


Interesting. What proportion do you allocate to each ticket tier? Or do you keep it flexible to demand?

The early bird tickets seem to always be purchased by the same people. These are the ‘lifers’ who always attend our events. Does not seem to be a sales advantage but does give a discount to this loyal crowd.

Admittedly, have not analyzed this data but see familiar names when reviewing registrants. Some confirmation bias is likely at play.

One time we tried limiting the ticket capacity for the early tier but there were howls of protest from those who missed out. Looking back on it we realized that arrangement is biased against older folks who tend to check their email less frequently.

Since email responses have a short response window, we throttle ticket sales with email campaigns. After 30-hours nobody clicks through to purchase. Timing campaigns seems to control how many of each tier are sold.

Discounts + campaigns seem to be the effective tool to influence last-minute purchase behavior.

That’s a great insight - thank you

Hi everyone, this is an old discussion so might fit better somewhere else @nick_lawson?

ANYWAY - was toying with the idea of doing tierd ticket release this for a small conference I organise this year. So… Tier 1 - £40, Tier 2 - £60…you get the idea.

My question is, should I limit these tickets by date (e.g. tier 1 being sold until 10th August so grab them now) or on availability (e.g only 10 tier 1 tickets left, grab them quick!) Would be interested to know thoughts.

@Conferences - do you guys have input? Thanks!

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Hi Claire, is the purpose to drive sales by offering cheaper priced tickets to early (or earlier) birds or is there a difference in what the tickets offer?

Hi Belinda,

The purpose would be to drive sales. People usually leave it until last minute to buy tickets so I thought if I offered tiered pricing, it would encourage people to buy quicker? That was the theory anyway!


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I agree it’s good to put in a bit of jeopardy! How many tiers do you plan to have and what would be the price difference between them? It has to be substantial enough to get people to buy earlier than they would otherwise. I think, psychologically, the latter option works best for motivating people. The airlines and hotel booking sites do it by saying ‘only x flights/rooms left’ at a certain price - although they come under fire for these practices lately!

I was planning on doing three tiers and having them expire after about a month. We don’t charge a lot for our half-day conference - to keep it affordable for people - so really, the price difference wouldn’t actually be too much.

Initial thoughts are

  • £36 Tier 1 (available until end of Aug)
  • £48 Tier 2 (Available until end of Sept)
  • £60 Tier 3 (Available until end of Oct)

@Top_Members do you have experience of doing pricing tiers at all?

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Pricing tiers feeds into a persons fear of missing out. Everyone loves a bargain.
I usually market tiers as a percentage off because the it gives the impression of a larger discount. When you give 75p off a £5 ticket it doesen’t look like much of a discount and you don’t get immediacy but if you present it as 17% off until end of August it gives the impression of a better bargain.

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That seems like you’d be getting a great bargain if you got a tier 1 ticket. Perhaps you should do some A/B testing on the two models and see which performs best? Would love to hear about the results if you do!