There’s a lot to consider when looking for a booking management system to list your next event. High prices, sneaky service fees and disgruntled customers can make it difficult for you or your organization to determine which booking platform best suits the needs of your team and your audience.
By writing this comparison, we hope to make it easier for you to decide between Mereka Connect and Eventbrite.
Eventbrite is a global company, headquartered in San Francisco and has been around since 2006. They have a range of services that allow users to browse, create, and promote events with seamless booking and ticketing services. Their pricing includes service charges as a fee to event organizers in exchange for online ticketing services, unless the event is free.
On the other end of this comparison is Mereka Connect, established in 2021 and is the sister company of Mereka Academy and Biji-Biji Initiative, two grassroot organizations known for deep collective impact in sustainability and driving positive change for entrepreneurs through value-based innovation and 21st century education.
Mereka Connect was founded along similar values, with an emphasis on giving local artisans and experts a platform to connect with other creative industry stakeholders. The company has also established community empowerment initiatives like the ‘Mereka Pass’ which gives individuals with limited monthly incomes the chance to participate in upskilling workshops (aka ‘Experiences’). The focus Mereka Connect places on educational access and community empowerment has gathered support from a number of creative hubs from the ASEAN region, with notable names like REXKL, VANS, British Council and Penang Art District jumping aboard.Nevertheless, how does it compare to a globally-recognised event booking management platform like Eventbrite which has reliably been providing seamless ticket purchasing and event registration for millions?
Here’s why you should choose Mereka Connect over Eventbrite.
Value for money.
Let’s first compare the price of a single ticket.
Say for example, you have a theater event happening next month and you are charging RM20 (or $4.52USD) per entry.
If you chose Mereka Connect as the booking management platform for this theater event, it would cost you an additional 3.5% of platform service fees, amounting to RM0.70. This would be combined with an administrative fee of 3% and an additional Stripe payment gateway fee of RM1.
The total fees a user would have to pay would be RM22.30 (or $5.04USD).
On Eventbrite however, with a fee per ticket of 2% + $0.79USD as well as a payment processing fee of 2%, it will cost RM24.30 (or $5.49USD) per final transaction on Eventbrite’s lowest-priced ‘Essentials Package’.
“What’s an extra RM2 though?”, you may ask. A lot, considering the features involved in the packages between Mereka Connect and Eventbrite.
Here’s where we dive into the crux of why selecting Mereka Connect might be better suited to you than Eventbrite.
[Need more clarification on the pricing and value for money]
The features in Mereka Connect’s cheapest pricing plan, that Eventbrite misses out.
Native Calendar Integration & Date Blocking Feature
This feature was developed with the small business owner and creative entrepreneur in mind to make the platform friendlier to users from all walks of life and not just professional event organizers.
The native calendar integration comes in handy for those who have recurrent daily, weekly or monthly events on a single listing. Need to plan your events around other significant dates? The calendar integration makes it easy for you and your team members to do precisely that.
The date blocking feature simplifies event date management, allowing users to block specific dates for recurring events, without having to key in specific dates manually.
Community & Forum
In the spirit of creating a network of creatives, the Mereka Connect team were fastidious in creating an online community and forum space for users, hubs and workshop experts to engage in dialogue.
The community and forum space serves as a way for people to ask key questions, discuss issues or positive developments and spark other eclectic discussions a gathering of creative people would come up with.
Eventbrite has a resourceful help center as well as a marketing toolkits page called ‘Eventbrite Boost’ that provides rich information and guides on how users can market their events.
While their informational support is worthy of commendation and should be implemented in every major booking management system out there, it does not serve the same purpose as an online community of users.
Marketing & Visibility
We’ve been mentioning that Mereka Connect was brought to life with the idea of giving a leg-up to small businesses. Here’s where it really shows. In all of the Mereka Connect pricing packages, they offer periodic newsletter and social media features on their own social media accounts. Their team members would create the content and send them over to you should you want to use the material. At times, they offer discount coupons for newly-listed hubs with growing audiences.There’s also complimentary copywriting and photo assistance for when your listing could use more shaping up. Mereka Connect recognizes that not everyone is a professional marketer or has the means to hire one, so they step in to give hubs and experts the best shot at getting bookings by offering complimentary copywriting and uploading high-quality pictures.In the higher priced ‘Scale’ and ‘Soar’ packages, Mereka Connect takes it a few notches higher and publishes Facebook and Instagram ads to promote listings. Eventbrite certainly has integrations for email marketing and Facebook event sign ups and ticket purchasing as well as a very resourceful event marketing platform, ‘Eventbrite Boost’ which charges an additional $50 - $100 per month without including the budget for digital advertising.
Tiered Packaging & Group Bookings
Tiered pricing makes things much easier for when you need to segment pricing according to age or student privileges and even membership prices.
On Eventbrite’s ‘Essentials’ package, users are limited to only 1 ticket type (e.g. ‘Early Bird’) and no group bookings.
In comparison, Mereka Connect’s free ‘Connect’ plan and cheapest paid plan, ‘Build’, allows you to use respectively two and four types of tickets via tiered packaging (e.g. selling tickets for the same event at different prices, e.g. ‘Children’ and ‘Adults’).
The free ‘Connect’ plan also offers group bookings (super useful for parties, classes and corporate team building) which is only available in Eventbrite’s more pricier ‘Professional’ and ‘Premium’ packages.
Feature Request Functionality
The feature request functionality is a unique addition for all users of Mereka Connect. The platform may be new and not have the experience or notoriety compared to other long-standing event booking management systems, but Mereka Connect uses this to their advantage.
Mereka Connect is going through a lot of development and every new configuration is a result of meticulous planning, trial and error as well as customer feedback. The team makes it a point to learn about the customer experience and engages with hubs and experts to learn about their goals and challenges.
Members of the Mereka Connect team often go to events in person and participate hand-in-hand with other attendees to get a better understanding of the products on their platform and to maintain a personal connection with their users.
More experienced and large-scale event organizers may not appreciate the start-up aspect of Mereka Connect, but this is a great opportunity to work with a fluid platform that is very receptive to customer feedback and are eager to please.
Mereka Connect Discovery Pass and Learner Pass.
Previously we mentioned that Mereka Connect works towards community empowerment initiatives like the ‘Mereka Pass’. Here’s where we dive a little deeper.
The Mereka Connect motto is "accessibility for all". In an effort to provide affordable services to a wider audience, they launched the Learner Pass initiative. A Learner Pass is a Mereka Connect sponsored opportunity for eligible individuals to book educational content worth up to RM1,000 on mereka.io with the use of credits. Users who are eligible for the Learner Pass are those whose monthly income is capped at RM4000 and below, to ensure that people from all walks of life who are only limited by disposable income are encouraged to apply and participate.
There’s also a Discovery Pass which gives every first-time user to book an experience for free. Listed hubs have the choice to include a number of Learner or Discovery passes with each experience. For example, a hub that lists a ‘Fashion Design’ workshop may choose to allocate two Discovery Pass users and two Learner Pass users to sign up to their workshop for free.
This gives hubs the ability to impact the wider community, including those from the underprivileged backgrounds and improve their visibility in the user community which then translates into more bookings in the long run.
Where Eventbrite trumps Mereka Connect.
By now you should have a rough idea of which platform may better suit you or your organization better. Both Eventbrite and Mereka Connect have visible benefits, however there is one area in which Eventbrite is notably one step ahead - analytics and reports.
All of Eventbrite’s packages come with event and ticket sales analytics, insights, high-level data exports, sales summary dashboards, Google Analytics and survey integrations, while the ‘Professional’ and ‘Premium’ packages offer detailed cross-event and ticket-type analytics in addition.
On Mereka Connect, only the ‘Soar’ plan which is the highest priced plan includes a set of analytics, such as Impact Indicator Metrics, Report Generation, Customer, and Financial analytics but without the integrations and summary dashboards that Eventbrite provides.
There’s also a nifty Eventbrite Organizer mobile app available on iOS and Android for those who want immediate access to Eventbrite’s features on their phone. Mereka Connect remains a desktop and mobile browser platform for now, with plans to create an app held later in the future.
The significant difference between Mereka Connect and Eventbrite's clientele is that Mereka Connect focuses more on creative experiences led by small businesses, artisanal experts, and grassroot organizations while Eventbrite sees a clientele that is geared towards larger events like concerts, exhibitions and seminars.
If you’re a small business owner or budding entrepreneur, you would certainly be more comfortable with the lower fee rates on Mereka Connect and the personalized support given to you as you onboard and list your event.
Like other creative hubs on Mereka Connect, you would find the network of creative and artistic stakeholders on the platform quite appealing as Mereka Connect places massive focus on growing the creative industry and participating in the gig economy.
Mereka Connect is branching out to include more types of events and experiences on their platform, but if you are a professional event organizer that wants to place attention on your event exclusively and don’t necessarily require the community and network perks that come with listing on Mereka Connect, you would feel right at home with Eventbrite.
Eventbrite’s seamless management system comes with fantastic features and high-level customer service support for you and your team to organize a successful event. Eventbrite has been around for a long time and the company has plenty of global experience with event organizers across various industries.
Takeaway & Key Points
So there you have it. Mereka Connect and Eventbrite both offer high-quality event booking management with competitive fees and priced packages. The difference lies in the extras. When you are setting up an event, factors like visibility, ease of use, support and customer satisfaction matter.
Choose Mereka Connect if you
✔ are a small business owner or creative entrepreneur looking for a user-friendly platform
✔ prioritize lower transactional fees
✔ want to be part of a larger network of creatives and skilled experts
✔ are a professional event organizer wanting to cut costs
Choose Eventbrite if you
✔ value a globally recognised booking management company that has been around for years
✔ prioritize detailed data and analytics on your customers and events
✔ like using a mobile app to access your booking management system
✔ are attracted to the Eventbrite Boost event marketing services
If you are interested in learning more about Mereka Connect and the packages offered, feel free to reach out to email@example.com. You’ll be up and running in no time.