Are Personalised Tickets Worth It?

Not according to our independent survey of over 500 ticket buyers, nearly three quarters of whom reject personalised tickets in favour of generic ones.

In the UK, we are regular ticket buyers with more than half of us buying tickets once every six months.

Our survey revealed that music tickets were the most popular type of ticket bought online. However, personalised tickets are also common for comedy gigs, theatre performances and sporting events.

We found that people are incredibly sceptical about having their name and photograph on their event tickets. Only just over a quarter of people said they’ve ever had a personalised ticket before.

The aim of personalised tickets is to stop ticket touts and bots bulk buying tickets and selling them on for a much higher price.

This May, Radiohead tickets sold for up to 100 times their face value, while seats for Adele’s tour were scandalously advertised for £25,000 on secondary selling websites. And these scare stories are far from uncommon. Beyond the music industry, it affects the arts such as theatre performances and sporting events too. No one, neither the fans waiting for last minute tickets nor the acts themselves, wins – only the pesky touts.

Over 80% of the people we surveyed haven’t ever bought tickets from another person or ticket tout. Most tickets were bought online with 86.97% of people saying they bought tickets from Ticketmaster.

In a bid to clamp down on them, amendments were made to the Consumer Rights Act of 2015, insisting you provide your seat number, the face value cost and other details when trying to resell your tickets.

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Personalised tickets make it near impossible for anyone to resell tickets at an eye-watering cost and therefore pointless for touts to harvest tickets in their thousands using ‘bots’.

Glastonbury tickets have been personalised with photographs and names for years. To enter the festival, you must show ID which matches details on the ticket, you can’t give it to anyone else, because they’ll simply never make it through the gates.

Despite the obvious advantages of personalised tickets, our survey brought up several recurring reasons why event-goers aren’t so keen on personalised tickets. Aside from worrying that their identity will fall into the wrong hands if they lose their ticket, fans are annoyed that, like the touts, they can’t resell their tickets for genuine reasons.

“If you can’t make the show/gig and you sell the ticket on or gift it to someone then it will have someone else’s details on” – Tasha

“Great as a keepsake, but in my opinion they are not worth the extra money and they are harder to get rid of if you can’t make the event. If it was at no extra cost, I would prefer it as I would probably keep it, however, if I had to pay extra I probably wouldn’t bother – tickets are expensive enough anyway!” – Lanta

“If you can’t genuinely go for a valid reason and you lose money, but I think this is a minority and I agree with personalised tickets as it really makes me cross when people buy lots and sell them for ridiculous amounts.” – Lucy

Ultimately, fans who suddenly can’t make it for legitimate reasons can lose out if they have a personalised ticket – 29% of the people we surveyed say they’ve had to change their plans last minute. Aside from the financial repercussions if you can’t go, you spend longer queuing outside while everyone’s ID is checked.

And it’s not just festivals where personalised tickets are already in action. Adele fans faced a strict ticket screening process to get into her gig – name changes on tickets were forbidden, guests had to enter the same time as the lead ticket buyer, and they had to present photo ID which matched the information on the ticket.

The saving grace in this instance, however, was that these personalised tickets could be sold for face value or less through a vetted ticket exchange platform – Twickets, which bypasses ticket touts without punishing the fans too. Should more events follow suit in future and allow fans to do this?

While 38% of the people we surveyed thought that personalised tickets were a good idea, 73% of people would rather have a generic ticket when given the choice.

We’re sure more acts will move towards personalised tickets in the future and hopefully issues such as selling your personalised ticket if you can’t make an event will become easier.

For now, it’s best to steer clear of ticket touts and to sign up to pre-sales for the acts, festivals or events that you’re especially keen to attend – to ensure you’re the first to know when tickets go on sale, and maximise your chances of bagging some.