What really took the advance out of advance ticket sales?

One of the most common complaints amongst anyone hawking tickets to anything these days is that people rarely buy in advance anymore.  If you’re a vacation resort, a football team, or a Broadway show, you’re white-knuckling it a lot of the time, because so many customers take so long to click “buy now.”

Why don’t people buy in advance?

Some people point to 9/11 as the turning point in purchasing habits.  Because of the fear of something else “happening,” people started being afraid to travel or make any similar plans.

Some people point to our customers getting wise to the discount game.  They know if they wait, they can get a good deal–probably sent right to their inbox.

These are all true, but I also think it’s something simpler than that.

We’re busier than we were a decade before.

The advent of technology has allowed us to become more accessible, and it is also allowed us to multi-task.  Being the ambitious Americans that we are, we’ve used technology not to make our lives easier, but instead we’ve jam packed our days with more stuff to do, more stuff for our kids to do, etc. . . . which leaves less time to plan stuff to do.

So we don’t plan as much as we used to because we don’t have the time.  And, since theatergoing is not primarily an experience that is done by oneself, a buyer not only has to coordinate a time that he can go see a show, he also has find out when his theater-going partner can also attend.

And in the “Decade of Busyness,” that ain’t easy.

What can we do to battle the “busys”?

It’s our job to make the purchasing process as easy as possible, and as fast as possible (now do you know why Amazon came up with 1-Click purchasing?).

Our ticketing services need to have e-services with profiles so you don’t ever have to input info twice.  We need tools on our websites that allow people to invite their friends to the same event.  We need methods that allow me to pay for my ticket, and a friend to pay for theirs (like paying a restaurant tab with separate credit cards), but still let us sit together.

Even people who aren’t busy think they’re busy.  If we don’t come up with ways to allow even the busiest of folks to purhase their tickets quickly and easily, you know what won’t be busy?

Our box office.


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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.