7 ways to increase season subscription sales
Three years after the term “novel coronavirus” began dominating headlines, most venues are still dealing with flagging ticket sales. For most venues, audience levels have still yet to return to pre-pandemic levels. One way to increase overall sales is to provide season subscriptions, so we wanted to explore ideas to increase season subscription sales. Subscriptions have the additional advantage of providing early access to ticket revenue.
Options for season subscriptions
- Discount ticket prices
Reward season subscribers with discounted tickets. When considering the discount as either a dollar off or a percentage-off, pay attention to an important rule: use a number that appears higher to the buyer. For example, if your $25 ticket is discounted by $5, it's best to express it as a percentage at 20% off. The higher value has a greater perceived benefit.
On the other hand, if the value of your ticket package is $750, and you are offering a 10% discount, it's best to express it as a dollar value at $75. This number has a greater psychological impact for buying decisions.
Choosing how you wish to express your discount will dictate the type of pricing you use in your offer: bundled flat price or a dollar or percentage off of each purchased ticket in the package.
- Offer more than one subscription type
Providing flexibility to pick and choose events and dates that work for your patrons is vital. Consider creating multiple season pass offers. For example, you can create a "pick any" package that allows patrons to choose the events that hold the greatest interest.
Some patrons appreciate heavier discounts such as "Opening Night" packages. Others may gravitate towards defined dates around a theme such as LGBTQ nights to mix and mingle.
Flex passes provide another sales selling tool for your arsenal. These permit patrons who make last-minute plans with the flexibility they need. Further, you can provide even greater flexibility by allowing additional "punches" to be used when they'd like to bring out-of-town guests.
Be sure to include clear messaging in your descriptions and package names to highlight the benefits of each plan. By offering different season subscription types, your venue experiences an increase in season subscription sales.
- Make purchasing easy!
If you are still relying on mail-in forms, or if your software is clunky and prone to errors, you are missing an opportunity to increase season subscription sales.
You may elect to retain your mail-in forms for those patrons who still like to pay by check. But certainly, you should offer an easy online purchase process, too.
Your software should guide users through renewal selections. If you are displaying a list of shows and forcing patrons to check tiny boxes for each show on their correct dates, or if "hitting the back button" causes an error, customers may become frustrated and leave without purchasing.
- Create reservations for past season pass holders
In the early 2000s, I had season passes for two aisle seats in row D to the local symphony. I was a reliable subscriber for years until one year, I failed to receive the mail-in renewal. When I realized the error, it was too late; I lost my seats and with it, my drive to attend. I never renewed my subscription and eventually moved away.
If your software has an online season subscription renewal process, use it! For ThunderTix users, we create reservations for every subscriber from the previous season. Patrons automatically receive an email with a simple link to renew the same seats. ThunderTix even sends gentle email reminders as payment deadlines to renew their season subscriptions draws near. Not only will your subscribers get their beloved seats, but they will love the simplicity of simply entering their credit card to finalize the purchase.
- Make exchanges easy
Patrons plunk down their money for season passes knowing events may be months away. Therefore, it's important to make exchanges easy. If your software offers it, ensure emailed purchase confirmations of season subscriptions include links for a simple exchange to a new show. You'll free staff up from the process, and patrons will appreciate the ease of changing dates.
- Have clear and flexible refund policies
How many times have you purchased from one vendor over another simply because of flexible return policies? It's important to prominently display refund policies, so they have confidence when considering a purchase.
When your patron makes the season subscription purchase, they did so without a clear understanding of any future commitments. Just as important, is honoring that full season pre-sale by providing refunds regardless of circumstances.
- Give branded merchandise
Utilize the capabilities for merchandise add-ons, and allow patrons to select from some of your branded merchandise options as an extra gift or incentive. Loyal patrons will appreciate branded t-shirts and give you an opportunity to spread the word about your upcoming season with these walking billboards.
Increase sales with season subscriptions
To increase season subscription sales, make use of every possible feature that enables patrons to make purchases easily, provide them with the confidence to buy early, and incentivizes them with discounts or merchandise or both.
Let this year finally get you back to pre-pandemic ticket sales levels!