Building Pre-Sale Revenue: Treat Every Night as an Event

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What if you treated every night as an event? And what if that approach was the reason your customers were walking through your door? Or the reason your venue was earning more pre-sale revenue than ever before? Well, that’s exactly what we began to see at the end of 2015.

In the past, events were most commonly thought of as hosting a major musical act or going along with a major holiday, such as New Year’s, St. Patrick’s Day, or Halloween. For these types of events, venues would book talent in advance, create their event landing page, and then start marketing and pre-selling tickets. These events were successful because they were planned in advance and had revenue coming in through the door well before the night-of.

Now, that thinking is starting to become the every day. Treating every night like an event (even the average nights) allows you to get the most out of every night. It builds buzz around a common night and elevates your venue to be one that is highly desired. People begin to know what to expect, and they start talking to their friends. Plans are easier for your customers. Walking through your door gets easier for your customer. And with this ease comes more money.

Here’s how you can take on this event-based approach.

Identify your inventory.

A big part of an event is pre-sales. Without pre-sales it’s hard to create that event-like mentality. Fortunately, pre-selling inventory is easy and can generate more revenue than not pre-selling at all. The first step is simply identifying what you have to sell. Some ideas to consider: have your customers pay for cover in advance, book their VIP table in advance, buy a VIP table ticket with bottle package, or have them buy drink packages for the bar.

Have a dedicated events page.

Your customers need a place to be made aware of your events and buy your inventory. Either have a dedicated page on your website for events or a different landing page specifically dedicated to them. Whichever route you choose, make sure you have the ability for your customers to buy your inventory directly through you. Our system syncs directly to your website so users aren’t redirected. Plus, that money goes directly into your account right away so you can pay for your night even before it happens.

Build a marketing strategy.

It’s not likely your customers will just come across your event page right away. That means you’ll need a marketing strategy in place to get the word out. Set your promoters up for success by allowing them to sell on the streets, engage with your customers through social media, and leverage partnerships to build your base.

Collect data.

The best part about pre-selling inventory (other than the revenue, of course), is that you’re able to collect your customer’s data easier than at the door. Your customers are used to making online purchases, and are used to providing their information to do so. This is an opportunity for you to collect their information in a stress-free environment and build your customer database. You can then use this database to better market your customers and keep them informed of your happenings. You can even segment your customers into specific audiences and send messages that are only relevant to that audience to truly pull the right crowd through your doors. Data is a powerful tool, and it’s what is going to propel your ROI.

Strategize lines and door pricing.

It’ll take a bit of time to condition your customers into buying in advance. Putting a bit of strategy into your door operations on the night of your event is one of the best ways to show the incentive of buying early. Use different lines for different customer types, such as a line for your pre-sale customers and a line for customers paying at the door. This not only streamlines the door, it helps speed up the pre-sale line and shows those who didn’t choose to buy tickets in advance that doing so provides them with a tangible benefit. Also consider increasing your prices the night of your event to further show the benefit of making purchases ahead of time.

Review. Optimize. Repeat.

You’ll never know how successful your efforts are if you don’t track and measure results. Review the data at the end of the night to understand what went well and what didn’t. Repeat the things worked, ditch the ones that didn’t, and continue with new ideas until you find your stride. We recommend you use referral tracking codes to track all of your marketing efforts. This will help you understand which channels are the most effective for driving people to pre-buy. Once you know how well you did, you’re able to better set yourself up for success for your next event.