5 Ways to attract International Audiences

The most recent set of Broadway stats had international tourists at about 14% of the entire Broadway audience.

While not a majority, it’s still a good chunk (and it was actually down this past year from priors).  International audiences are a challenging group to reach for a whole bunch of reasons, but there are still things you can do to make your show more appealing to this group, if you think they are important to your success.

Here are five ways that you can attract International Audiences to your show.

1.  Choose your art carefully.

If you’re counting on people who may not speak English to see your show, you best make sure the art (logo, etc.) is a very clear representation of what your show is about.  They may not be able to read your blurb, your quotes, or how many nominations/awards you got. For non-English speakers, it’s all about the art.

2.  Show ’em they are welcome.

Want to make sure someone feels at home?  Speak their language.  Add a sentence or two in another language and you’ll instantly make that international reader a heck of a lot more comfortable.  You’ll make them feel like they belong, which will make them more likely to say, “Porterò due biglietti,” which is Italian for “I’ll take 2 tickets.”  And if languages take up too much of your marketing space, some shows will put images of small flags from other countries on their materials to indicate that their show is internationally friendly.

3.  The bigger the brand the better your chance at going global.

International visitors are usually more risk adverse than domestic visitors.  That means, they’re going to go with something they know over something they don’t.  And thus the international success of shows like Phantom and Mamma Mia.  If you don’t have ABBA music or 20+ years of shows under your belt, try and tie your show to anything that might have resonated globally.

4.  Hotels are their new home.

They’ve already made a commitment to stay in a hotel, which means that temporary home has their trust and faith . . . which also means that’s where they are going to go for recommendations and suggestions.  Advertising in hotels (in-room magazines, in-room tv, CTMs) are a big part of grabbing this demographic, and, of course, don’t forget those concierges . . . many of which speak several languages.  Imagine you’re in Japan and you find someone who speaks English.  You’re going to bond with them instantly, right?  You’re going to trust them, right?  That’s what happens here, too, so make sure you have a concierge outreach program in place.

5.  Find a reason to appear in their press.

Does your show deal with international issues?  Got a cast member with international ancestry?  Are there any international connections that you exploit in international press?  Here’s the thing – NY press hears about Broadway all the time.  But international press?  Well, it’s more rare to have a story that resonates, which means, if you can find one, you’ll get some serious play for your play.  Get them to know you’re here before they’re here, and you’re much more likely to get them to buy a ticket.


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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.