Q: Will The Sequester Affect My Ticket Sales?

Will The Sequester Affect My Ticket Sales

Many venue owners are asking "Will The Sequester Affect My Ticket Sales?" It depends on the type of event you have, but the ultimate answer will come from consumer sentiment. This post looks at how the sequester is impacting venues and events and suggests a way to offset any negative effects the sequester may have.

Sequester 2013

The national conversation surrounding the sequester (or "sequestration") peaked earlier this month when on March 1st the federal reduction in spending became an economic reality for everyone.

The sequester budget cuts looming today originate from the debt-ceiling crisis of late 2011. At the time, Congress passed the Budget Control Act as a way to resolve the issue of the limits of the debt ceiling. In the Act were pervasive cuts to government programs set to automatically kick in some 18 months from the time of the vote. Fast forward to 2013...

Since no counter-measures to stop or lessen the budget cuts were ever put into place during the 18 months that have elapsed, the cuts in spending have been triggered and are slowly beginning to be felt.

As it relates to events, the sequester has already already been postponed or cancelled outright various performances by the military. But what of public events at civilian venues?

In the context of performing arts theaters that receive government funding, the impact could be pronounced later in the year, according to Backstage Magazine.

Small and mid-sized theaters from New York to Los Angeles are bracing for the across-the-board cuts to federal funding mandated by the Budget Control Act of 2011. Those cuts will include the National Endowment for the Arts, which helps theaters fund production costs through grants.

Theaters are not the only venues dealing with the sequester. Sightseeing tours that operate in and around government funded national parks and monuments are asking "Will the sequester affect my ticket sales?" as well.

Parks & Recreation

The national park network receives the vast majority of its funding from the federal government so it may be feeling the effects of the sequester sooner, rather than later. But it is important to note that sequestration budget cuts do not happen all at once. Each reduction in spending is queued up to occur sequentially and then increase over time. NBC news explains the potential impact on national parks and the associated businesses:

If the sequester goes into [full] effect, the total amount of cuts required for the National Park Service would total more than $110 million, said John Garder, budget and appropriations legislative representative for the National Parks Conservation Association...The impact would be felt by not only park visitors, but also by the local communities that rely on national park tourism for their livelihood, Garder said. He urged concerned citizens to call their members of Congress and urge them to find a solution.

In the state of Maine, the livelihood of several venues and events are reliant on tourism at the Acadia National Park. Acadia has just recently seen its opening day delayed by the sequester, with nearby hard working small businesses adjusting to decisions made by the federal agency in charge of national parks:

To comply with sequestration, the park has extended its winter closures for an additional month, until May 19 instead of the usual opening date of April 15. While the entire park will be open to hikers and bicyclists, as it is year-round, several important motorist routes will be off-limits...Local businesses have been promoting visitation during the shoulder season in recent years, and say the park’s decision will wind back the clock on their hard work.

The popular sightseeing tour Oli's Trolley has been maintaining a positive attitude during challenging times. The company has been sharing last minute updates with the public on Twitter and Facebook to keep ticket sales going strong.

Outside the realm of national parks, to the wider scope of all venues and events asking the question "Will the sequester affect my ticket sales?", need only consult a source more powerful than the government or the weather - consumers.

Consumers Defiant

Syndicated columnist David Harsanyi recently cited a Rasmussen poll that "found that only 12 percent of Americans believe the sequester has had a major impact on them personally." That kind of consumer confidence should assure venue owners and event organizes that any forecasts of gloom and doom are artificial constructs of the media.

Supporting the Rasmussen poll data is Chris Christopher, an economist at IHS Global Insight, who says "We expect consumer confidence to gain ground as the shock value of the sequester disappears."

See for yourself!Even if the sequester stands as is, or is revised by Congress, the need for venues to be vigilant at monitoring costs remains. One critical tool to keep costs in check is your choice in ticketing software.

ThunderTix prides itself on helping medium to small venues lower costs by not charging per-ticket fees. And while we do not charge you ticket fees, our technology lets you apply your choice of fees, whether it's per-ticket or per-order. In addition to no fees, our annual subscription pricing and nightly deposits helps you make maximum use of your ticket sales dollars immediately. If your current ticketing software isn't working hard enough for you, give us a call, we can help.

What do you think? Will the sequester have an impact on venue ticket sales or will defiant consumers trump the federal budget cuts and buy more tickets than ever before? Let us know in the comments below!