Ante Up, Attractions: How to Boost Your Revenue This Year
Blog | February 10, 2016
Updated: March 27, 2020 | Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn
Written by Carrie Basta, Instructor, Learning Solutions at Gateway Ticketing Systems; with contributions from Matthew Hoenstine, Principal – Destinations, at Gateway Ticketing Systems.
We know that venue closures or a sharp decrease in the number of local and tourist visitors is hitting many of our customer attractions hard. While we’ll never be able to recoup all of the lost revenue this year, we wanted to provide some out-of-the-box revenue ideas we’ve gathered from some of our customers as well as the experiences of our employees (many of whom worked at venues and attractions before they came to Gateway).
Create added value to compensate for cancelled events and closure dates:
Current and prospective season passholders and members may be open to purchasing if they can see real value in doing so right now. Consider adding additional special events, season pass only hours or additional guest tickets to your packages. Focus on high perceived value and not simply high cost, for example, the opportunity to participate in an exclusive experience like meeting a rare character or a unique animal encounter could be more valuable than providing everyone with a free tote bag.
Develop shorter term payment plans or validity offers:
While your current pass or membership offer may be for the full season, now may be an opportunity to create a new, shorter term offer to recoup some lost sales. If you typically only have a full season pass, look at offers for your fall and winter seasonal events or just the summer season at a cheaper rate for a limited time. Look at ways to encourage renewals of pass or memberships onto a monthly payment plan instead of requiring a pay-in-full renewal that may not be affordable come renewal time.
Create an offer that wraps into 2021 usage:
For example, sell passes or memberships valid through Memorial Day 2021, making it one year vs. one season for seasonal business, or an extra three months for “annual” memberships. One of the biggest challenges your customers face right now is uncertainty. So look to create offers that mitigate it. If your guest trusts they will receive value, even if it’s not immediate, they’ll be more willing to purchase in advance of their visit/right now, when you need the revenue most.
Sell a “Value Guarantee” ticket:
For outdoor venues, this could be a small modification to an offer already in place. If you provide a special bounceback offer for weather impacted days, try extending that type of “value guarantee” to a ticket you can purchase now with a guaranteed admission for a second use in 2021 if they are unable to visit soon.
Out-of-the-box, limited time offers:
What about a two year ticket? Can you create an extended validity offer of current pricing, but the ticket is valid for any day in 2020 or 2021? Or try sales with bundled offerings. You could test unique bundled offerings that include things like a free meal, drinks, souvenir, etc. at a more aggressive price point, offering incentive for buying now instead of waiting.
Adapt/modify offers vs refunding:
You likely have purchases that guests made prior to the current circumstances. Do you have to refund them all right now, or can you find unique solutions that allow the guest to still get value for their purchase? While refunding may be the only option for some, others may still be planning to visit when it is safe, so find a way to allow them to do that!
Prepare for limited ticket offerings when you re-open:
When you do re-open, it’s likely that you may have a limited offering and important operational decisions to make: for example, do you need to place some limitations to meet new grouping requirements. Prepare your new pricing strategy now for those “what if” scenarios, like less attractions, less operating days or hours to make sure that guests see similar value to the level of your product offering.
Rethink how you position/price your ticket offering:
When you reopen there will be a certain amount of “difference” from how you used to operate. Leverage this difference to re-imagine how you position and price your products to better illustrate the value and encourage consumer behavior. For example, take a look at Dan Ariely’s book “Predictably Irrational,” or check out his TED Talk (beginning at the 12 minute 30 second mark) to understand how consumers look for anchor products to judge the value of competing products and ensure your offering is designed with that in mind.
Offer incentives for signing group events during this time:
Consider bounceback tickets. Groups can schedule for a 2020 date and receive a ticket to return free or for a discount during a different season or year. You could also increase your comp policy. If you are currently offering one free ticket for every fifteen, maybe offer one for every ten or seven on orders booked before May 1. Make sure whatever you offer, you are being aggressive with your pricing. Schools, companies and the other groups you target will be looking to boost morale while also operating on tighter than normal budgets. For groups that have yearly events, see if you can lock them into a two year contract with a more aggressive price.
Finally, make sure you’re definitely targeting groups who are still meeting and communicating regularly. While schools are closed and teachers may not have regular communication with students, organizations like scouts, PTOs and companies are still operating remotely and as a social support system. You may have a better chance of connecting with these organizations.
Provide educational or entertaining content with the option to donate:
This will be the most feasible for venues that already have educational programming, but can be executed for any attraction. Are you able to offer entertaining or educational content for free on Facebook or YouTube? Then use this to market premium gated content like additional videos, workbooks, in-depth classes, remote classes, etc. Many people are looking for creative solutions right now to entertain and educate their children or pass their own time productively, and they may be willing to offer you a small donation for this content.
You could also offer remote delivery of your youth programming: physics days, science trips, career days. Even though these onsite visits are delayed or possibly cancelled, can you offer this content at a reduced price point remotely? Try using content already generated or new content to help bring these opportunities to life for those students who may currently be missing out. They can access your programming at home from their computers.
We’ve also seen online tours popping up. For a small fee, employees are offering a virtual tour of their museum or venue hosted by a docent.
Offer special incentives to donate:
You can also offer special perks for donations. If general admission costs $26, can you offer a free ticket for a donation of $20? Ditto for a season pass or membership. You may be able to kick start a fundraising campaign early, or switch the focus of an existing or planned campaign in the works. Instead of fundraising for a new exhibit, is it possible to re-purpose your message and marketing efforts to offer the same perks, but for the different, more important cause of sustaining the venue.
Position sales as a sign of support:
Finally, make sure you ask for donations! In this time of uncertainty, don’t hesitate to appeal to your base with a call to action for support. We’ve seen customers selling significantly discounted passes or memberships and posing the purchase as a sign of support – as a way of helping the venue survive. Many people want to help right now by spending money with local businesses. They just need to know where and how. Make sure you let your local audience know what a purchase will do for your venue.
Ready to increase your revenue, decrease your costs and make your guests feel great?