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TechSoup Battles: Jane's Eventbrite Review

Event Planning

New to TechSoup Battles? Find out what it's all about and check out our other challenges. This review is part of our second challenge, on event registration.

Planning events requires patience, attention to detail, excellent organization skills, and most of all time: the most precious resource that most people don’t have these days. What I need is a tool than can streamline the process for me so I can focus on the event content to ensure its success. Eventbrite is it.

Overall impression:

Eventbrite offers everything you need to set up, manage and engage with participants pre, during and post event. It has a simple and intuitive interface while offering a robust set of features that will meet most of your event needs. You have the option of using as much or little of the functionality available, making it the ideal tool for large or small events within your organization.

Some highlights:

Event Promotion tools:

One of the key success factors for any event is making sure the right people find and attend. Eventbrite has a wealth of tools at your fingertips to help you promote your events. Integration with social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn means it’s easy to both promote and track traffic coming to your events page and the resulting revenue from ticket sales. Public events are automatically shared on the Eventbrite site and through their partner sites. Integration with newsletter tools such as Mailchimp allows you send out beautifully designed invitations and track open and clickthrough rates.

More details about the Eventbrite promotion tools can be found here: http://blog.eventbrite.com/eventbrite-promotion-tools-pay-off-part-2-of-3

Event Reporting:  

As soon as tickets go on sale for your event, visiting stats and resulting conversion rates are automatically calculated for you by Eventbrite as part of your event report. You can integrate Google Analytics or add custom channels for custom tracking. You can customize and filter the reports and export them in various file formats which can then be imported to CRMs such as Salesforce.

Improvements:

With such a feature rich application that is intuitive to use, it was hard to come up with a long list of improvement for Eventbrite. I found that despite automating most features so it’s intuitive, there are still some manual processes that can be frustrating. For example, when you integrate Eventbrite with Mailchimp and replace the Eventbrite template in Mailchimp with a nicer Mailchimp template, you have to manually link the registration button again. Releasing of tickets to waitlisted participants is currently a manual process, requiring you to release the tickets one by one; while I see the benefits of doing this, having the option to automatically slot waitlisted participants when a spot becomes available would have been much nicer.

Want to know more? Eventbrite in-depth:

Tierney came up with a list of criteria for planning an Toronto Net Tuesday event, let’s revisit the list and see how Eventbrite stacks up:

I can create free events for free.

Eventbrite is free for free events. Period. :)

I can create paid events and take payment online via credit card. I want to minimize the cost of running a paid event. I’m not too concerned about the ability to give refunds, but it would be nice.

Attendees can sign up (and pay, if applicable) online. The tool will automatically email them to confirm registration.

If you are going to run paid events, Eventbrite offers three payment options: online credit card processing, PayPal and offline payments. Tickets are sent automatically to registrants upon confirmation of payment; offline payment registrants get their ticket after completion of registration, so it is up to you to make sure they pay you. For online credit card processing and paypal, you are charged additional credit card processing cost on top of the Eventbrite fee. You have 96 hours after the end of your event to process any refunds if you choose online credit card processing. PayPal refunds are done directly within PayPal itself.

Payment Type Processing cost per ticket Eventbrite fee (Charity pricing) Total for a $100 ticket if passing on cost to ticket buyer Event Revenue
Eventbrite Credit Card Processing 3.5% 2% +$0.99 $106.99 Bank transfer 5 business after event
PayPal 1.9% +$0.30* 2% +$0.99 $103.49 Direct to Paypal account, monthly invoice for Eventbrite fee.
Offline Payment none 2%+$0.99 $103.49 own

*if you use PayPal you will not be able to pass the PayPal fee to the ticket buyer. Please note the 1.9% listed here is the Paypal Charity pricing.

I can easily create and update my event.

Once an event is created, you can go in at anytime before the event and edit event details.

I can embed a sign up form on my website, so attendees can sign up without leaving my website.

Eventbrite allows for embedding of a variety of widgets to promote your event. From ticket widget , registration form, link, button, event calendar, to an event countdown widget. All you need is to copy and paste the embed code generated by Eventbrite.

Attendees can be automatically added to a waiting list if the event is full, so that if there’s a lot of interest and someone drops out, the tool will automatically offer someone on the waiting list the spot.

Eventbrite allows you to create waitlist for specific type of tickets or when total capacity is exceeded. You can choose the size of the waitlist and customize the waitlist message. You are notified automatically when there’s someone on the waitlist. However, you will have to release tickets to waitlisted individuals manually. You can also set the time limit they have to respond to claim their spot, after which the link is no longer valid.

I can ask attendees custom questions when they sign up, so I can tailor the event to the needs of the attendees.

Eventbrite allows for custom order forms where you can build a questionnaire to get more specific information from attendees. You can even use conditional logic for custom questions, allowing for specific questions based on answers to earlier questions. You can choose whether or not the answers are displayed on the order confirmation (great for confirming details for accommodation, meal preferences etc.).

I can email attendees before and after the event, so I can let them know of any changes and send out a post-event survey and recap.

An organizer has the option to email any attendees at anytime, filtered by date registered, type of ticket purchased, and/or payment type. You can also schedule the email to send at a specific time or at a set time before the event starts.

I can print an attendance list, so I can check off names at the registration table.

Not only can you print off an attendance list so you can check off names at the registration table, you can also print out barcode for scanners, check them in online, or use the Eventbrite At The Door mobile app .

I can export a list of attendees, so I can track in my CRM who attended the event.

You can export a report of your event or list of attendees in csv, Excel or text format. Eventbrite integrates with several popular CRMs such as Salesforce to allow for easy import of attendee information.

Resources:

Event Marketing From A-Z:Infographic by Hubspot, it has everything you would need to know to plan an event.
Planning the perfect fundraiser: 8 part series on how you can organize a successful fundraiser by Eventbrite.

What do you think? Have you used Guestlist? Would it meet your needs? Do you have any insights, tips, or things to watch out for that you can share? Share your thoughts on Twitter (#TechSoupBattles), Facebook, below in the comments or send us an email.

Comments

Service fees

Hi Jane, nice review. The main issue with Eventbrite are the service fees. Have you tried Ticket Tailor http://www.tickettailor.com ? There are no per-ticket fees, just a simple low-cost monthly fee.

Thanks for the suggestion!

We haven't tried Ticket Tailor, but sounds like a great option for nonprofits that have a steady event budget and host multiple events through-out the year. We'll definitely take a closer look -- thanks again for the recommendation :)

Joyce Hsu
Communications Lead, TechSoup Canada 

Eventbrite Vs. Others

Hi Jane, I found your review of Eventbrite quite useful, and given your experience in the space, I thought I would ask your thoughts on another service: Picatic. Its a Vancouver based competitor to Eventbrite, and has some innovative features like FairPay, which allows users to pay whatever fee they think is fair. I think it is a bit cheaper than Eventbrite on average. Do you have any experience with Picatic, and do you have any thoughts on how they compare to each other overall? Thanks! Hash

Good question!

Hi Hash,

We don't have enough experience with Picatic to give a fair comparisonn but it does seem like Picatic may be better suited for organizations that would like the option to crowdfund their event, or save on ticketing fees. As wth any platform, there are some downsides: fewer users on that platform = less opportunity for people to find your event. 

I found this relatively handy side-by-side comparison of Picatic and Eventbrite that may help you decide which tool to use: http://online-ticketing-and-registration.softwareinsider.com/compare/7-556/Eventbrite-vs-Picatic 

Hope this helps!

Joyce Hsu
Communications Lead, TechSoup Canada