3 Things to do to sell tickets during a snowstorm.
Snow is a beautiful thing . . . until you realize the effect it has on business.
Broadway is in the middle of its first big snowstorm this season, and as usual, it’s causing a whole bunch of problems with ticket sales.
Not only can people who bought tickets not come in, and not only do places like the TKTS booth become virtually impossible to visit, but people also stop buying for the future . . . as all of their attention is focused on the weather at hand. It’s true! When a big weather event hits, almost all buying just stops. It’s hard to get a consumer to focus on buying, when they’re focusing on how to get by.
But the show must go on . . . so what can you do in the middle of a snowstorm to sell tickets?
1. People can’t come in, but they also can’t get out.
Thousands and thousands of tourists come to the city every day, and Broadway counts on them for ticket sales. But flights ain’t landing in the next 12-24 hours, so our supply has been shut off. But flights aren’t taking off either. And this week, we’ve still got some holdover tourists from the New Year filling up hotel rooms. Can you flyer hotels (I got busted for slipping flyers under doors once)? Can you offer incentives to concierges? Just like you may be trapped in your home, a lot of folks may be trapped in their hotel . . . but a Broadway show is just a few steps away.
2. Snow Day Special.
You’re going to have a lot of available seats in a snowstorm. Even the sold-out shows are going to have cancellations (if you’ve been waiting to see The Book of Mormon, now’s your chance). Go public with a low price/great seat special to appeal to the locals that don’t have school or work. Use a press release, your email list and yep, social media, to spread the word.
3. Remind everyone you’re running.
Every time there is a storm a-brewin’, we start getting calls three to five days (!) before the storm, asking whether we’re canceling or not, or providing exchanges (another reason Broadway’s snow exchange policy should be made more public). We always have to tell people to hold-their-horseys and wait until we see if the storm actually hits (it’s usually never as bad as the super dramatic weather folks make it out to be – sometimes I think that weather is a whole show in itself!). Preemptively strike with communication to your customers and anyone considering buying that storm or no storm, you’re open for business! A message out five days before the snow starts falling can help prevent the loss of sales momentum. (I’d include safe public transportation alternatives in the communication.)
Selling while it’s snowing ain’t easy. It’s never going to be easy, but implementing the above can help prevent the day from being a complete white-out.
Have any ideas of your own on how to sell tickets during a snowstorm? Share ’em below.
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Ken created one of the first Broadway podcasts, recording over 250 episodes over 7 years. It features interviews with A-listers in the theater about how they “made it”, including 2 Pulitzer Prize Winners, 7 Academy Award Winners and 76 Tony Award winners. Notable guests include Pasek & Paul, Kenny Leon, Lynn Ahrens and more.