I co-founded Afton Tickets in 2012 with my wife Amelia Kintz. As event organizers and concert producers ourselves, we wanted to build a ticketing company that focused on event organizers and the end-user, aka the event attendees. I wanted to briefly talk about our company’s beliefs and core principles, and share the “why” behind everything we do.
Our mission: Afton Tickets. Where Event Organizers and their attendees exist as people, not ticket sales.
There is a huge disconnect in the ticketing industry between the large ticket companies and the end-user, aka the event attendee. Ticket companies make deals with their clients, the event organizers, regarding service fees without keeping the customer in mind. I’ve talked to many large venue owners who don’t even know what their service fees cost their customers! They are shocked when I tell them I just bought a $20 ticket with a $10.50 service fee. Service fees are 25% to 50% of the ticket face value for most concerts and larger events.
How Did Service Fees get so High?
Every consumer hates high service fees, and event organizers know that. So then, how does this happen? Because typically, the end user is forgotten and not brought into the equation. Deals are setup between the large ticket companies and the event organizer. Without that focus on the event attendee, decisions are made that result in long entry lines, clunky processes for customers on will call or customers that lost their ticket, harsh customer service policies, and high, exorbitant service fees.
Tickets for the People.
At Afton Tickets, we believe that you can treat both the client and the end user better. Tickets for the people. Democratized, not monopolized.
The client should be able to decide on their own transfer and refund policy – not the ticket company. After all, it’s their event. I bought tickets to an event that was canceled due to the artist getting sick. The ticket company emailed me the reschedule date. Unfortunately about 3 weeks prior to the concert, I could not secure childcare for the new date. So I emailed the ticket company asking to refund my ticket as that was what they offered in their original reschedule email. They told me the “fine print” if I had clicked the terms link in that email stated I had only 7 days to request a reschedule. They did not make that clear in the email, but as a result, I was out on two tickets $80 plus their $32 in service fees.
The client should also be able to decide if they want fair and low service fees, so they can pass those savings onto the customer. Many times, large ticket companies give huge upfront signing bonuses to the music venue and what they call a “profit share” on service fees. But in reality, the ticket company simply increases their service fee by 50% or sometimes even 100% in order to pay the music venue what they promised. Nothing was coming out of the ticket companies cut to give these perks to the venue – the customers are now just paying a premium to fund the promises the ticket company made to the venue. Shouldn’t a true “profit share” be a share of the ticket company’s normal service fee? Should a conversation happen between ticket company and event organizer on what the impact to the end customer is going to be if the service fee is increased from $3.50 per ticket to $8.75 per ticket?
We believe that the end user (event attendee) deserves 5-star customer service, and a team that will work hard to advocate for what’s fair in the given situation. There have been times where I’ve refunded a customer out of my own pocket because I felt the situation warranted it.
The client deserves direct phone and in-person support from their ticket company when they need it, especially during an emergency. Clients deserve to have changes or updates to their ticketing link right when they need it, not 4 days later. When we book national touring bands, it sometimes takes 3-4 days for the club’s ticketing company to make a small change to the ticket link or to create a promo code for me.
At Afton Tickets, we commit to do better. That’s why I started this company with my wife Amelia. To provide better solutions, at a lower cost, and to give white glove service to our clients and our ticket purchasers.
Some larger ticket companies have slowly started to address these issues. But the problem is, they are huge corporations that are used to high profits, and it’s hard for them to quickly make changes when they’ve operated this way for so many years.
It’s hard for a ticket company with 800 or 5,000 employees to quickly adapt and vastly transform their core business model in order to treat their event organizers and the event attendee better.
We are fortunate enough to be able to listen to our clients and our ticket customers on a 1-on-1 basis, and then quickly adapt to their needs. We can optimize every facet of our system, our service, and our operations 10x faster. Which is a key reason so many clients are making the switch over to us. There’s a better way to do ticketing, and as we continue to grow we commit to hold on tight to everything we believe in now, and believed in back when we started this journey.
Thank you to every event organizer, cashier, ticket taker, and event attendee that joins us on this wonderful ride.