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Holding Your Nerve: The Last-Minute Ticketing Conundrum

Thursday, March 27, 2014   (0 Comments)
ArtsHub (02/26/14) Ward, Sarah

It is increasingly difficult to predict audience attendance and final box office numbers as many ticket purchases take place in the days leading up to a show's run, but an expert panel at the recent Ticketing Professionals Conference offers advice on last-minute ticketing strategies. A positive trend is a lack of growth in late buying, while experts observe that acknowledging the reality of and motivation for late purchasing behavior can help in developing tactics for combating worries, spurring buying during lulls, and holding one's nerve until purchases resume. Consultant Debbie Richards notes that last-minute sales have been consistent, while the sales cycle has lengthened, along with heightened industry anxiety. Meanwhile, the Queensland Performing Arts Center's John Glenn says of greater concern than late buying is aggressive discounting, and he warns "we are training people to wait for discounts. The pressure to discount earlier doesn't respect the artist, or respect the industry—and it can kill the market for a show." Along with the discounting scramble are the gains in electronic direct mail (EDM), and the attendant surge of promoting less-expensive tickets directly to patrons' in-boxes. Experts caution the sales spikes EDM supports can become addictive, ultimately devaluing the full ticket price. Experts recommend that ticketing organizations strive to stimulate earlier purchases, with Richards suggesting applying rewards to desired behavior and penalties to undesired behavior.

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