Entertainment team books ticket deals for a living — to the point where we’ve all closed our eyes and seen echoes of CAPTCHA security checks. We called on our team of experts to share their best tips on how to secure tickets to the best-selling shows we’re all dying to see.
- Subscription packages: If you’re a real showbiz junkie, it’s worth it to invest in your local theatre’s subscription packages. You can buy tickets to several shows at once, which not only saves on the price of buying them separately, but also makes you eligible for subscriber benefits, such as early access to the sure-to-sell-out shows. When the much-anticipated “Hamilton” comes to Toronto, for example, it will be part of Mirvish’s 2019-2020 subscription season, with the first tickets going to season-ticket holders.
- Group sales: Know a show coming to town that practically everyone you know will want to go to? This might be the route to go. You can get early access (before many presales) to shows and even discounts if you purchase for groups of around 20 or more. Look for group sales contact information on the entertainment company’s website; you’ll typically have to call to arrange your booking.
- Presales: Speaking of presales, keeping your eyes open early and doing your research will really pay off. You’ll get your tickets locked in early and you’ll have the first choice of seats. To get access, join a venue’s mailing list, look into your credit card’s perks, sign up for artist fan clubs and keep your eye out for Travelzoo-exclusive presales.
- Buy early: Get ready to act on the first day of ticket sales with apps from companies like Live Nation, Ticketmaster or Bandsintown. You can mark bands or teams as favourites and get a heads-up when they’re coming to your city; occasionally there are presales exclusively for app users, too. For big, multi-day festivals like Luminato, Coachella or Veld, we like to buy our tickets before the lineup has been announced. Locking in three or four days’ of passes early is often cheaper than waiting and trying to buy a single-day ticket to see the big-name weekend headliners once they’ve been set.
- Buy late: On the other hand, standby or lottery tickets can really pay off. If you’re travelling to a big entertainment area like New York City, look out for these last-minute ticket options. Sold-out Broadway shows often offer a day-of lottery system so everyone has a chance to see the show.
- Be flexible: Can’t find Saturday night tickets on sale? Well, who can? For shows with multi-day runs, be willing to try weekdays, matinees or Sunday evening performances, which often have more availability. But be careful: Do your research first if there is a big star in the show that’ll make or break it for you — understudies might be performing at these “non-peak” times.
- Stay social: Look to social media, blogs and local radio stations for ticket giveaways. Venues and artists often reserve an allotment of top seats at sold-out shows for these promotional opportunities. Good luck!
- Don’t give up: No luck with any of the above? Keep checking back: Most people don’t realize that tickets for seating sections are often put on sale on a rolling basis.