If you've ever purchased a ticket to a show or concert, you've probably wondered why the final cost is higher than the advertised price. Here's a breakdown of ticket fees, and a couple of tips to save a little cash:
The Fee -- Convenience:
You're probably familiar with the term convenience fee if you've ever purchased tickets online or over the phone. This money often is split between the venue and the ticketing provider (like Ticketmaster or Telecharge, to name a few) to offset the cost of these services. The per-ticket cost can be up to $15, depending on the contract between the venue and its ticket provider.
Most venues do not charge a convenience fee for purchases made in person at the box office. Call or check individual venue websites to confirm, but a trip to the box office usually can result in a significant per-ticket savings. Many convenience charges also are calculated based on the price of the ticket (lower-price tickets come with lower fees), so finding a discount or buying a lower price point can reduce per-ticket fees. In this respect, buying tickets using a Travelzoo promotion often can save money on fees.
The Fee -- Shipping:
Shipping charges can add up. Shipping is often a flat rate per order, but many ticket systems offer a print-at-home option that, while convenient, can be a per ticket expense.
Shipping charges vary from venue to venue, but most offer at least one no-cost option, so be sure to investigate. Often, standard mail is free, but this requires advance planning. Will call is another frequent no-cost option that can be booked at the last minute. If you go this route, be sure to arrive for the show a little early in case there is a line to pick up the tickets.
The Fee -- Facilities:
Facility fees (or restoration fees) are a minimal fee that can be up to $3 per ticket. Most venues charge this fee whether you buy online, over the phone or in person. The full amount of this fee goes directly to the venue to offset the high costs of operation.
Unfortunately, if the venue has a facility fee, there is no way around it. Every ticket sold will have this additional fee.
Some deals on Travelzoo have fees waived entirely, including this offer from the LA Opera. Tickets to next week's performance of "The Marriage of Figaro" have been cut in half, with some tickets at the historic Dorothy Chandler Pavilion as low as $10.