There is nothing quite like seeing your favourite band up close and personal or experiencing the amazing atmosphere of live theatre. But what if you find out the person next to you paid half the price you did for their ticket? And are we all paying over the odds for this privilege?
- Great deals on NOW!
- How to get the cheapest tickets – step by step
- Avoid paying up to three times more than you need to by shopping around
- Compare, compare, compare!
It’s common knowledge that ticket touts make a fortune buying up tickets for events and re-selling them for double the price. On top of this ticketing websites often charge huge booking fees and seem to sell out incredibly quickly. So is there a way to avoid paying a fortune for the tickets you want?
Obviously there’s no fool-proof way to guarantee you’ll get the very cheapest tickets, but if you follow these six simple steps, you should be well on your way to bagging yourself a bargain!
Keep an eye out for great deals – some of the better ones can save you a fortune. Lastminute.com is generally a good place to start, regularly offering tickets at a cut price, with some costing just £10 apiece.
MoneyMagpie’s ticket comparison service constantly checks the suppliers of all the main shows for deals to save you money. (At present our comparison tool only covers London – but we’ll show you the best places to look for deals from across the country as well). Read on below to find out how.
It always helps to be well informed, so make sure you know about any forthcoming events you think you might be interested in. You can do this by checking out the official websites of favourite artists or shows, which should give advanced warning of any upcoming ticket sales.
Step 2: Find out the face value of the concert or theatre tickets
The best way to do this is also to use the official website, where the tickets should be displayed at their original value (before any booking or commission fees are added). Official London Theatre has a useful page which lists London shows alphabetically with links to the venues showing each play.
Another option is to use the Ticketmaster website. Although it’s not advisable to actually buy the tickets from here, they do usually list the original price.
Theatre goers could pay nearly three times more than they need to, according to research by theatre ticket comparison website SeatChoice.com. Always shop around before you buy a theatre ticket – as with any other purchase there is a big gap between the most expensive tickets and the cheapest. The only way to be sure you’re getting the bestprice is to compare.
There are tons of theatre ticket comparison websites helping consumers to avoid paying over the odds so make the most of them. Also, always include booking fees in your calculations. Booking fees are where consumers can really get stung – and they vary widely from less than £5 to as much as £15 per ticket.
Now you know the face value of your tickets you need to know what cheaper tickets are out there, and the prices they’re being sold at. The best way to do this is to visit a comparison website such as TixDaq which is an excellent one for music, comedy, theatre and sports tickets. It lists the top 10 best-selling concerts on its homepage, and provides a search option. Once you select a specific artist, it allows you to choose the date and venue, and then lists various ticket prices along with a link to the websites selling them.
Tickex is another useful comparison site which allows you to search for tickets for a range of live shows throughout the UK and the rest of the world, including theatre, sporting events and concerts. You just type the artist, team or show that you want to see into the search engine on the homepage, click on your region (e.g. UK and Europe) and then a list will appear of where and when that performance is taking place, as well as various ticket prices.
However, do be warned that many of the search results will be from eBay – so this can be misleading as these are bidding prices, not the actual price you’ll get them for. Also, there can be inaccuracies (when we tested it out there were occasions when it found a cheap price but when we followed the links, the price was much higher. Despite this, these sites are still very useful for getting an idea of where the cheapest tickets are – just keep your wits about you and follow the links carefully, making sure you check, then double check the price before you pay.
Armed with information from the comparison website you can shop around and try to find the best deal.
Have a look at some sites dedicated to the buying and selling of second-hand tickets; try Seatwave, Viagogo, and Scarletmist. People can advertise their unwanted tickets here at the price of their choice (Scarletmist also guarantees all tickets are sold for face value or less). They’re easy to use; just browse by date, genre or artist to find the event you’re looking for and they will display all the options available.
Another great place to find a bargain for both theatre and music events is Lastminute.com; it’s very straightforward to use, and does exactly what it says on the tin! Look out for special offers which sell out extremely quickly – often in the form of a one day sale or something similar – these can offer massive discounts on tickets to top shows.
For theatre tickets try Key2London, The London Theatre Box Office, Discount Theatre, and Theatre Tickets Direct. Once again they’re all pretty simple, just search the production you want, choose a date and check the availability. It’s also worth keeping an eye out for special offers listed on some of these websites; you can get tickets in these offers for up to half-price and deals which include a meal out, so there are some serious bargains to be had!
Step 5: Check out the ‘marketplace’
Before committing yourself to anything, it’s definitely worth checking out some marketplace websites. Try looking on Gumtree, Craigslist or the Facebook marketplace. These are basically like the classifieds pages of a paper and have ads for absolutely everything! They follow a simple and straightforward format; everything for sale is subdivided into sections so all you have to do is select the relevant category and just scroll through the ads.
Remember as well that you can post an ad on any of these sites for wanted tickets. Whilst there are no guarantees that anyone will be selling tickets for the event you want; if someone is, chances are you’ll get them for a complete steal! Don’t forget as well that it’s always worth a look on eBay.
Step 6: Avoid getting stung
Beware of scam ticket websites – these are rife. Firstly, perform a Google search for the website – then look out for consumer forums warning about the site. Also, ensure that the ticket agent is a member of The Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers Star – visit the Star website. This is a self regulatory body so members will have to comply with a code pf practice and you’ll have someone to complain to should anything go wrong. Finally, check for a postal address and give the phone number a try. If no-one ever picks up, this is not a good sign and you should try a different site.
If you buy a ticket from eBay, you must pay through PayPal – or risk losing all your money. PayPal covers you for the full price of the ticket as long as you make a claim within 45 days of the transaction. Seatwave is a site acting as a middleman for people wanting to buy and sell tickets for live events. The best thing about Seatwave is that they will replace tickets or issue a refund if you pay for a ticket that doesn’t arrive.