Did that David Bowie reference come across in the headline for this blog?

Try again.


There we go.  You get what I’m laying down now, right?

Speaking of laying down, Disney Theatrical laid down a super duper new policy this week regarding ticket exchanges that has me dancing in the streets like David Bowie . . . because it’s exactly what I blogged about back in 2009!

Way back then I wondered why we didn’t have “change fees,” like the airline industry.  You want to change your flight, it’s $75 and maybe a fare difference, but it’s not “use it or lose it” like it is in our business.  The airlines are more than happy to take more of your money and to put you on another flight that has availability.

But not Broadway.  Oh no, our too cool for school attitude would never allow a refund or exchange, right?

Until now!  As you can you read here, Disney is now allowing ticket holders for both The Lion King and Aladdin to exchange their tickets for another performance up to two hours before the performance they purchased for!  There’s a small cost of $12/ticket, but that’s pocket change when you are shelling out $150+ and Uncle Al gets sick and the whole family has to stay home and take care of him, right?

As I argued way back when, life things come up.  Work things come up, especially when you purchase something weeks or months out (and isn’t that what we want people to do?).   I change my flights about 50% of the time because my schedule fluctuates so much.  And I always feel more confident making a flight purchase knowing that if something does come up, I can modify it and not lose my entire original investment.

And that’s the key.  Exchange policies give people more confidence while contemplating an initial purchase.  And more confidence leads to more sales, and more sales further in advance.

This policy is a major change in Broadway ticketing, and in today’s “cater-to-the-consumer” economy (Zappos, Amazon, Target – these retailers have blown up in part because of their liberal return/exchange policy), it’s something we can no longer avoid.

I only hope that it becomes Broadway policy and not just Disney policy.

And just like the airlines, I bet there’s a way to make a little more money in the process.

You don’t think so?

Let me put it this way.  There’s no question that this Disney policy is part of the mission to provide greater flexibility and customer service to its ticket buyers.  But remember, they are a public company.  And remember, they also have two of the highest grossing shows of all time.  They are good at making money on Broadway.

You think they’d do anything if they didn’t think there was a way to make more money AND provide excelled customer service?  You think that $12 is a randomly chosen amount?

The best business practices are the ones that make both the “producer” and the consumer happy.

And when done right, ex-ch-ch-ch-changes can do just that.

Thanks, Disney, for once again showing us how it should be done.  We’ll catch up to you soon, I promise.


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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.