Paul Campbell

Added “Booking Fees” on Tickets (Or How We Want to Reduce Stress)

Last week, Doc wrote a bit about our decision making process for why we don’t prompt for information before people can buy tickets. Another feature request has come up a few times: the ability to “pass fees along to the customer”. I wanted to explain a bit about why we dislike the idea of that feature and why we decided not to implement it.

For example, if Tito charges are 3%, credit card processing is 2.4% + €0.30 (eg. Stripe EU) and an organiser sets their ticket price to €95, the fees listed would be something like:

Customer pays: €95
Tito fee: €2.85
Stripe fee: €2.58
Organiser receives: €89.57

The one argument that I could potentially see for separating fees from ticket price is that it increases transparency. As an organiser, say, I want to be clear that I’m only receiving €95 of the €100 or so you have to pay for a ticket. Transparency is great, and I wrote about some great examples last week. I’m not sure it’s necessary at checkout.

It’s a common technique. I’m no longer surprised by a “booking fee” appearing when I buy concert tickets. I’m used to a “credit card fee” appearing when I buy airline tickets. The price quoted to rent a car might as well be fiction compared to what I ultimately pay. The rental game is an extreme case, but Silvercar gets it.

Here’s the thing though: just because something is prevalent doesn’t make it right. I don’t think it’s just me. In fact, I’ve never met anyone who told me they love it when a price is listed as one thing, and they get to pay a bonus fee.

For me, as a customer, the price I pay is the price of the ticket, whether it includes fees or not.

Even though it seems counter-intuitive, I am always happier if I’m told that the ticket price is €100 from the start, than if I’m told that it’s €95, but I end up paying €100. In the case where the fees are less, I dont think anybody will complain if the price ultimately paid is less than the price quoted.

Tito is opinionated software. We’ve decided to take a side. As Doc wrote, there’s a balance between serving event organisers and ticket purchasers. Ultimately, we want to be flexible, but we feel strongly that by making things simpler for purchasers, everyone wins.

The market for software to accept registrations for events is very crowded. Just check out all of the ads on a simple Google search. I suspect we get this request so often because other software providing event registration offers this feature.

In such a crowded space, it’s often hard to differentiate ourselves. We’re trying to build software that people will love. We certainly don’t enjoy building features that we think will stress people out. If we can make the world a little bit less stressful for even a small number of people, then I feel like we’ve done a good job.