Priceline for tickets?
Ticketmaster and Priceline formed a partnership last week. The deal is pretty simple: Priceline is going to provide Ticketmaster customers with access to its hotel and travel deals.
I had to wonder, will the deals ever flow the other way? Could this be the beginning of an online ticket liquidation system? Stubhub, but for less?
True, the theater has some ancient last minute liquidation systems already in place (TKTS booth, TDF, etc.), but I wonder if there will ever be a push for an online auction model, like the original Priceline model, where shows could put up tickets at the last minute, set a threshold for what they would accept, and allow customers to bid for them.
It could be a way to get rid of unsold inventory and put a few more bucks in the till. But, it could also be a way to train our audience into waiting until the last minute for a deal.
Do I think there’s room for it?
I actually do . . . but I would take such a system and merge it with a stubhub, making it an auction for the upside, the middle and the low. Customers would go to bid on going-fast Billy Elliot tickets and leftover Chicago tickets. And with enough care, planning, and monitoring, I’d bet some shows could get more than the half price that they are getting from the booth . . . and in advance.
I mean, why would a customer wait online, when they can go online?
And if didn’t work, and it did end up just being a bargain bin for Broadway tix? Well, I’d yank it down. But it’s worth an experiment, as is most everything.
I mean, the TKTS booth had its non-believers, I’m sure.