I try to use this blog space to speak plainly. One of our greatest challenges is impressing on people not only what it is we do, but why it is we do what we do.
The whole idea of season tickets, of being forced to commit to any kind of package, is a concept that’s getting more and more alien to people. We get it. People don’t want to buy season tickets to the sports franchises here in town, we like the idea of service plans without long-term contracts, no one even wants to be forced into a gym membership. We want what we want when we want it — who knows what tomorrow will hold!
The truth is, arts organizations haven’t exactly done ourselves any sort of favors by and large.
We offer season tickets at a solid discount, sure, but then we can do stupid stuff like release all these last-second deals that are even better offers than what we do for our absolute best customers — those who support us in advance through the purchase of a season ticket. So what if we offer a 30% off discount a year in advance if we’re just going to offer buy one get one offers the week of the show?
We’re pretty good at training bad behavior as an industry. And in our specific case it’s not like the people buying tickets in advance via the season ticket are getting better seats — which is often the case in many situations. Because the Shimberg is a flexible black box with open seating it doesn’t matter if you buy a year in advance or 5 minutes before curtain, the doors still open a half-hour in advance of the show and so you get the seat you get depending on what time you arrive.
In general the whole last-second price-slashing sets a dangerous precedent. Yes, at a certain point a show just needs an audience, and marketers and bean-counters will be quick to remind you that revenue is revenue and a butt in a seat is a butt in a seat — but at what sort of long-term costs do those sales come?
We made a commitment at the start of this season. We had to raise ticket prices this year after a six-year price freeze. We assured our season ticket holders we’d take care of them, and made a big deal about keeping that promise and being honest with the rest of the public that we were taking all those last-minute discounts off the table. The best deal on tickets (apart from the preview price and rush seating for students, seniors and military) would be the season ticket price. If we have to offer a discount it won’t be as good of a deal as season ticket holders get.
With only one show remaining in the 12-13 season, we’ve managed to keep that promise. Might we have liked a few more audience members for a few shows? Absolutely. But, you know what? We’re also having our best year in terms of both box office receipts AND in the number of people actually coming through our doors. I can also look my season ticket holders in the eye and assure them they’re getting the best deal on tickets. We’re asking for their money up front, pretty far in advance, we’re asking them to trust us with the season as a whole and in return we’re giving them the best deal. And we’re sticking to this plan for 13-14.
There are a ton of reasons to become a season ticket holder in addition to savings. We’ll take care of you, too. As a Jobsite season ticket holder you can reach out directly to us at any time to add seats, move to another night in the event something comes up on the night you are supposed to come, to help you out with special considerations at the theater, or any other need you might have. Just write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’ve got some really great shows coming up this season. If you’re excited by what we have to offer the best deal is going to be through season tickets. We won’t be doing fire sales or BOGO offers or anything to shows like Hedwig, Macbeth, Baskervilles or Crimes. Just ain’t happening anymore. When we do that. we’re all making the artist carry the burden for both the company and the audience, and that’s just not fair. As a result to our commitment to this philosophy, we’ve also been able to increase artist pay this season by about 35%. That alone has made this all worth it.
Please, let this be the year you take the most meaningful step possible in ensuring that Jobsite is here for years to come and that our artists be paid a living wage. Become a season ticket holder by July 15 and get our best rate of 30% off. You also pay a one-time handling fee instead of per-ticket surcharges. All told you’re saving about $70 per person over the course of the year, which is like seeing a few shows for FREE. For two people, your final cost per ticket out the door inclusive of everything is about $20. You’ll also get a discount on tickets to our first co-production in the Jaeb, Return to the Forbidden Planet.
Hope you decide to join us for a great season of shows at our best possible price. You’ll be making a difference.