Fans Aren’t Subscribing

TruTrade® technology helps combanies combat the loss of declining subscriptions

In a recent New York Times Article,1 – it was cited that during the last 20 years operas throughout the country have seen their season subscriptions declining. Unfortunately, this trend is widespread and impacting many ticketed destinations and cultural performances.

The decline in subscriptions is a function of consumer trends related to time, money, commitment and technology. The old model for subscriptions promised great seats and discounts in return for loyalty and purchasing shows that you may not care to see. Today, no matter the performance or event, consumers can always get a ticket as long as they are willing to pay a premium for it and can use the internet to find a reseller. For example, Stub Hub has close to 20 million unique visitors on their site monthly, which is 10 times as many as they had 10 years ago. The consumer no longer has to commit to an entire season of performances in order to go to the one or two coveted ones each season. If the core value isn’t provided, then what exactly is the consumer giving up resources and making commitments far in advance for?

To mitigate this, single ticket sales are up, but single-ticket attendees are less frequent by design. This means it is critical for destinations to think outside-the-box to generate additional revenue. They must look to new initiatives such as adjusting schedules, flex packages, introducing new or rare works, reducing the number of performances and/or critically assessing operating hours.

In order to know which direction you should take your business, you have to know the “who, when, where, how and the why” of what your audience and potential audience wants.

1 https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/21/arts/music/opera-subscriptions-lyric-chicago.html

Alexander Babbage’s TruTrade® is the definitive platform for measuring, understanding and impacting consumer behavior at large format destinations, districts and venues. TruTrade® answers the “who, when, where and how” of your audience – Who are my visitors? Where do the live? Where else do they go? Where do they work? How far do they travel? How long do they stay? How frequently do they visit?

To answer “why” consumers behave as they do, customer insight research must be conducted in the form of qualitative or quantitative research. Clients will learn why consumers visit and why they don’t, why they visit competitive destinations, what motivates their visitation, what perceptions and attitudes they have towards a destination and more.

Another way to combat the loss of declining subscriptions is variable pricing. With variable pricing, the price changes based on when there is high, mid and low demand. Following our analysis, one of our clients – the Atlanta Botanical Garden restructured their pricing packages for their yearly Garden Lights, Holiday Nights event. After implementing, the visitor experience score (NPS) increased while the ABG experienced a six-figure increase in revenue and saw a more than 10:1 return on their investment.

Alexander Babbage is a leader in analytics and customer insights for physical destinations across the county. We have helped many clients, including leading cultural institutions – The Whitney, Saint Louis Art Museum, Chicago Lyric Opera, the Philadelphia Orchestra, The Woodruff Arts Center, Atlanta Botanical Gardens and many more.


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