5 Urgency Strategies To Increase Ticket Sales

Urgency is a common marketing technique used for decades. A sense of urgency has a direct impact to increase ticket sales – there’s no argument. But be wise, you must use this tactic with professionalism.


I trust you are a skilled event promoter. You have ethics. You’re attracting big names and have built a name for commanding large audiences. There’s no question you host great events.


Yet, everyone hosts great events. There are more quality entertainment choices and conferences than any other time in history. The biggest risk is being squeezed out of calendars. Ensure your event is in the calendar first and they will plan around it. Early commitment is key.




There’s a certain human tendency towards procrastination. Even when I want to attend an event, I still procrastinate the purchase. What if something better comes up?


Procrastination is the event promoters enemy. It fills calendars, jams schedules and leaves venues empty. Procrastination lies, cheats and steal your profits. It plays for keeps and never sleeps.


Fear fuels procrastination. Master your clients fear and master their procrastination. It’s fear of missing out or FOMO. The fear of saying no to other events.


The professional event promoter is able to tame procrastination. The professional uses the fear of missing out as an advantage. This is done with a tool called urgency.




Be careful not to push people into buying tickets. We want to host quality events, where value is high and demand is strong. The goal is to eradicate procrastinating. Protection of trust and credibility maximizes repeat business.


Be genuine and transparent when wielding urgency. Ticket buyers easily spot manufactured urgency such as false cut off points. Well planned urgency and credible use of urgency can quadruple ticket sales.


If you’ve read our previous articles, you know we love to benchmark against the best. Here are three classic and simple examples of urgency from high quality events.


1. Indy Big Data Conference


The Indy does a great job of the classic early bird ticket incentive.




The method is simple and it works. Management often relates discounts to eroding profits. This superficial view assumes that urgency sells the same amount of tickets.


In practice, you will find that early bird promotions sell more tickets. Once procrastination is understood this phenomenon makes sense. The more procrastination we destroy with urgency, the more tickets we sell. Profits increase substantially.


This urgency tactic works well for events that do not sell out. It also works well for virtual events without attendance constraints.


2. World Domination Summit


The WDS team uses another timeless urgency strategy. These people are all about community so trust is paramount.




They use a simple counter as urgency. It’s a nice reminder to buy. It is a legitimate date and transparent.


3. Collision Las Vegas


Collision uses a more aggressive urgency strategy. I consider it aggressive as they increase prices each Thursday. They also have a live counter using second increments.





They’ve done a fine job of being transparent. Collision openly announces that prices increase each Thursday. Completely transparent and upfront, see the Songza.com advert below.




Advanced Urgency


Urgency strategies are considered advanced when coupled with other strategies.


4. Urgency and Valuable Communication


A deeper look at the World Domination Strategy reveals they sell tickets in waves. The first wave is an early bird strategy. Ticket sales are then delayed for a short time until regular priced sales begin.


This strategy couples urgency with valuable communication. It is well known that consumers welcome valuable communication. It is well known that the more valuable communication you provide, the more tickets are sold. Be careful, if the communication is not of value, it is spam.


WDS has given themselves the opportunity of providing valuable communication by announcing:

  • when early bird ticket sales begin.
  • when early bird ticket sales are about to end (urgency).
  • when regular ticket sales begin.
  • when regular tickets are almost sold out (urgency).

5. Urgency and Increased Value


Recognize that many types of buyers exist. Some people are willing to pay more money for a VIP experience or more access.


This model works well for venues or events that regularly sell out. The Big Data Innovation Summit has coupled urgency with a 5-package pricing structure.




Analyzing and optimizing package pricing is mathematically intensive. Even a simple two package system requires a lot of assumptions.


Experience shows that most profit comes when ticket sales are split evenly across two packages. This happens when one package is close to double the price of the lower package.


Most suspect that profit is greatest with sales of more top packages. However, if most people are buying the upper package then the price is too low. Focus on changing price to evenly spread sales.


Multiple packages levels require an iterative approach. Keep in mind, you will not sell as many of the top packages but they will drive the most revenue by far.


Remember to allow for constraints. Backstage is only so big so even splits are not always realistic. This method is more achievable for conferences. This method also works well for multiple early bird pricing packages.


Urgency Implementation


I think we have provided a lot of actionable information. This information is useless unless put into practice. Get out there and experiment.


Start small and try one early bird ticket sale. Or try a small VIP package if you are confident the event will sell out. Remember keep things ethical and transparent and you cannot go wrong.


Rafiq is the founder of Crowdflow.io and is on a mission to create technology to help organizers sell out great events.