As much as shows focus on coded offers – everyone loves the clarity of the attribution –sales of full price tickets are far and away the most important contributor to the wrap and ultimately the weekly gross for a show. Most shows cannot survive let alone repay their investors on sales of tickets at deep discounts. And it is hard to imagine it is in Broadway’s long run interest to push the full price of a ticket up solely to generate a higher base price for a deeply discounted ticket.
The Shubert Organization has been committed to protecting full price sales as long as shows have used discounts. At one time discounts were only offered via coupons and customers could only redeem them at the box office or by mail. When discount redemptions were opened up to telephone sales, discounted tickets were not sold in the same department as full price sales. With sales of tickets on the web, we built a separate website to support the sale of discounts so they would not be fulfilled in the same buying path as full price.
Why do we fulfill discounts in a separate buying path? Not all ticket buyers are aware there are discounts available. Just showing a place in the buying path for a discount or offer code to be entered alerts potential full price buyers there are discounts available and has the potential to drive down the show’s yield per ticket for an already committed customer. For the value driven customer it’s very easy nowadays to do a search on Google using the show name with “discounts”, “discount code” or “offer code” added, and if there are discounts posted on a website (“public discounts”) links to the sites with the codes will come up – and those discounts are usually 30-40% off. (Public discounts in other industries tend to be 10-15% off or free shipping, and often they are tied to membership in AAA or AARP). But who are we serving when we convert potential full price customers into discount buyers? Not the show, their producers and investors. At Telecharge we’re committed to a philosophy of up-selling rather than down-selling, which is why we don’t display an “enter offer code” button on our main site.
Does servicing discounts in the same path as full price affect the long run health of a show? There are six shows still playing on Broadway that have run longer than five years: Phantom, Chicago, The Lion King, Mamma Mia, Wicked and Jersey Boys. A search of titles of a few long running shows with the word “discount” does bring up links to public discount sites, but no codes were found for the current top grossing shows . The long running shows that do offer discount codes on public sites fulfill their discounts using a different website and buying path than full price sales. None of their full price customers were shown a place for a code in the buying path for full price tickets.
Telecharge Offers is the website dedicated solely to fulfillment of discounts on Telecharge. It has been set up to sell both full price as well as discounted tickets; the seats available at a discount are in one color and those only available at full price are in another. Instead of possibly converting full price customers to discount on the main website, we have built our discount site to possibly convert discount buyers to full price.