Indeed, and not only that . . . .
Originally Posted by HauntedMemphis
They are "absorbing" the fees regardless. You aren't "absorbing" anything. It's represented in the pricing structure. Price = Business Expense + Profit. The distinction between online or onsite is essentially apples and oranges. Both round fruits, but two very different species of fruit indeed.
Originally Posted by HauntedPaws
In both cases, the cost of swiping the card is negligible. The average swipe fee as of 2010, according to one financial blog, is about $0.44. For a $10 to $20 ticket, that's negligible.
In the online case, you are paying that for the processing of the credit card charge, and then, as in the Ticketmaster case, you are additionally paying for the additional service of securing a given seat or set of seats, generating the printable ticket with the properly coded barcode, and then removing those seats from the general inventory so that those seats don't get sold again.
Now, granted, with a haunt, you are probably only selling general admission tickets, whether regular or speed pass, but if you are licensing this function thru a third party ticket processing service, then they will charge the same customary and reasonable rates, which include the $0.44 swipe charge, plus other operational expenses, ergo, $1 or $2; and if you are doing this all by yourself, you have to pay for software and set it up yourself, which requires resources, and you pay to maintain the system. Ergo, again, a customary and reasonable $1 or $2.
Either way, you are providing a very specific service in offering online ticketing. You are basically handling the service of selling them a ticket at their desktop instead of in your queue line. You are also saving them the hassle of having to navigate the box office process at your location, waiting in long lines, having to juggle a bunch of kids and other guests in the process, and so on. Instead, they handle that transaction from the comfort of their own home, can drive up, park, pile the kids out, and walk straight into the park, avoiding the hour long wait at the box office, only slowing down to let the ticket taker scan their home-printed tickets.
That convenience and ease of service in online ticket purchasing is definitely worth a buck or two per ticket.
Compare that, however, to the process that they would be avoiding by doing ticketing at home . . .
The customer piles the family, plus friends, into the car. They fight thru traffic driving across town to get to your haunt, passing several competing haunts along the way (and given that you're a first year, they are also taking a chance on an untested commodity). They find a parking spot, get the kids out, and either one parent watches the kids while the other waits in line, or if it's one adult, they might have all the kids in line, with all the kids bouncing around and wanting to go in different directions. After waiting 30 minutes to an hour in line to get their tickets, they finally get to the window and ask to buy however many tickets.
Now, the ticket booth person asks the timeless question. "Cash or credit?" The patron opens their wallet. In one fold they have their paper. Another, their plastic. Both are forms of legal tender; cash in one fold, and plastic in the other, or in the case of debit cards, another form of cash in the other.
At this point, there is no true convenience offered for the one option over the other. If he chooses the left fold, he gets charged one price; if he chooses the right, he gets charged another. After he's waited in line just as long as anyone else, and went thru as much hassle as everyone else, you are now charging him an upcharge just for choosing one fold over another.
In fact, not only that, he's making your job easier, cuz most machines allow for the customer to swipe their card, and there is no counting out of funds, handling cash, or making change. Plus, for every customer who charges the tickets, that's less cash to count at night.
Now, what happens when he swipes his card, sees the slip to sign, and notices that he was "overcharged", as he will think he was? How is that conversation going to go?
Customer: "Eh, hey, I ordered 3 tickets. That's $30. What are all these extra fees?"
Box Office: "Oh, those are the processing fees. That's because you used a credit card. If you had used cash, you wouldn't have had to pay those."
Customer: "But why did you charge me those? No one ever does."
Box Office: "Because we didn't want to have to pay them, so we make you pay them."
That'll be a fun conversation.
Also, you need to consider the fact that this is your first year, and you are looking at maybe 800 to 2000 customers the first year, depending on your market. That's the beginning core of your burgeoning customer base. It is absolutely paramount that you start effectively building that base, and anything that alienates your customers or damages good faith can damage your long term success.
There's more to this, but basically the real key is to make it real easy for your customer to give you money, and make them real happy to do so.