Thursday, November 20, 2008

Minimize the Risk

The League has embarked on an On-Line Ticketing Market Research Survey. Try to say it (try to remember it). Anyway, Slover-Linnet, an audience research firm is doing the research for us and we recently completed some focus groups and I thought the preliminary findings were fascinating. The essence of it is this: ticket buyers are looking TO MINIMIZE THE RISK when they are buying tickets. We have talked a lot in the past about breaking down barriers to theatre attendance, but this is a concept I hadn’t heard before. Patrons consider going to the theatre risky…for most people it is a big deal, not something they do on the spur of the moment. Will the show be good? Will the seats be good? Where is the theatre? Where is the restaurant? Will the food be good? Will people be nice to me? Where will I park? Will it be expensive? The interviewers were astonished by the degree to which some ticket buyers will go to get information, including actual reconnaissance of the theatre to check it out before they attend. There is much more to come and in fact some of you will be asked to have your patrons participate in surveys, but I thought this was an especially interesting piece of information to share.

A happy and safe Thanksgiving to all of you and yours.



Anonymous said...

In dealing with some online ticket brokers, they have found one of the biggest factors to getting people in the theater is actual peer reviews. Who cares what the major critics said about a show if a peer review said that parking was horrible or the theater was hard to find. More and more patrons are turning to peer reviews for theater just as they are to find out if the latest gadget breaks too easily. To help them out, shouldn't all theaters have a blog or spot on their websites for such reviews - as a patron it makes you feel valued and also makes it easier to find this "insider" information. Then we at the theater don't have to search too hard to find out what our patrons really think. It's a win-win.

Unknown said...

This makes great sense to me. I've learned over the years that part of the art of holding on to our patrons is making the experience as easy as possible. Is there ample signage? Can our phone operators answer every question and do so in an informative and simple way? Is enough info on the website? Are we doing everything we can to prepare them for their visit? There's no question we're talking about first time patrons in this discussion. I've heard about some companies going so far as to put video on their websites walking them through the neighborhood and up to the box office, showing them what the average theatre-goer looks like (usually in jeans), etc. Of course it's a challenge to convince those patrons who are insistent on the content being satisfying every time (and some of them we may never please). But if we can demystify the variables that amount to logistics and pave a very clear path for our patrons to find us, hopefully we can demonstrate the value of the subjectivity of the experience.

Deb said...

Thanks Bridget and Tom. These are great ideas and questions for us to ask ourselves. I'd love to hear from people who have had success with patron reviews/blogs. All of this leads me to the thought that if a potential patron is on our website, we are in their space and in some cases not taking full advantage of the opportunity.