Ticketing provider Sistic has raised booking fees for the first time since 2008.
Tickets priced above $40 for shows that start sales after Sept 1 will be subject to a $4 booking fee. Fees for lower-priced tickets will not change. They will remain at $3 for tickets between $20.01 and $40, and $1 for tickets priced $20 and below.
During the last fee increase in early 2008, the booking fee for tickets over $20 went up from $2 to $3.
In an e-mail to show promoters, Sistic said "the significant increase of manpower and service charges in recent years has brought about challenges for us in maintaining our current fee structure". It said the booking fee hike would allow it to continue to provide "safe and secure transactions for both the show promoters and ticket buyers", as well as "pave the way for investment into better, more advanced ticketing technology in the near future".
In an e-mail to The Straits Times, a Sistic spokesman added that the fee increase "serves not just to match what has already been adopted by other venues, but also to serve Sistic's interests of remaining competitive by covering the rise in operating costs". The Singapore Sports Hub charges a booking fee of $4 on all its tickets, regardless of price.
The response from consumers has been mixed. Ngee Ann Polytechnic arts and business management student Brandon Tan, 19, thinks the increase is "reasonable". He buys about five tickets from Sistic a year, mostly to dance, music and theatre events. He said: "With inflation, prices are bound to increase, and I think as long as it's not over $5, it's fine. It's still affordable to people who are paying $40 and above for tickets anyway."
However, policy associate Au Yeong Yeen Seen, 25, disagrees. She pointed out that $4 is potentially 10 per cent of the cost of the ticket, and said: "The increase has to be justified because other ticketing companies like TicketMash, EventCliQue have not raised their prices." TicketMash does not charge a booking fee, while EventCliQue charges $3 per ticket.
She does not buy Sistic's explanation that manpower costs have gone up: "Why do they need staff to man the ticketing booths? At other vendors, you can print the ticket out yourself, scan it at the venue, and enter, or even use a QR code. It's a lot more convenient."
Event organisers do not think the increase will affect ticket sales. Singapore Repertory Theatre executive director Charlotte Nors said: "I remember when they increased it from $2 to $3. Initially, there was an 'ahh, it increased again', but it didn't prevent theatre-goers from coming."
This article was first published on August 5, 2014.
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