Selling theater tickets like a timeshare.

“Free cruise!  Free 3 day weekend!  Disney World Tickets!  No strings attached!  All that you have to do is listen to a 20 minute presentation on a timeshare!”

You’ve all seen these offers right?  I’d bet some of you have even taken advantage of them.  Or seriously thought about it.  Why not?  They’re super attractive – you get a high value gift, for just a little bit of “time”.

And the salespeople pitching these offers are only too happy to give away that cruise or 3 day weekend, because they know their skills are good enough to convert a high percentage to what they’re really selling.

The question is . . . are yours?

So many regional theaters and touring houses are experiencing subscription challenges recently, I wonder if they’d see success using the Timeshare model.  Executed properly, I bet they would.

Send an email, or better a direct mail, to your potential new subscriber and offer them free tickets to see XXXX play/musical (make sure it’s something that has value and is enticing – think ‘cruise’).  The catch?  To pick up the tickets, they have to take a tour of your facility and hear a presentation on the benefits of subscribing.


Nothing sells a product better than a face-to-face salesperson.  The challenge in today’s online shopping environment, it’s hard to get that face time with your customer.  This is a perfect way to get your chance.

Now, don’t blow it.


(Got a comment?  I love ’em, so comment below!  Email subscribers, click here, then scroll down, to say what’s on your mind!)



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  • Margie says:

    remember when you gave us producers a backstage tour? Well, how about “FREE BACKSTAGE (in this case, it wold be FRONT STAGE) tour of GODSPELL SET 45 MINUTES PRIOR TO SHOW. The stage manager would give a brief tour. The catch (in small print): to take the tour, you must buy a ticket to Godspell.

  • Randy Hobler says:

    Ken, these League demographic reports are deeply flawed. The vast majority of tickets are, of course, purchased with a credit card or a debit card. The average number of tickets purchased is 3. The only
    tracking that is done on these reports is on the PURCHASER, who represents only 33% of the audience. That means they have no idea who 67% of their audience is.

  • Randy, where did you get the idea that these reports were based on credit card sales? They are based on surveys of theatergoers at theaters. If you get the full report, you’ll see the methodology, but it is very sound.

  • I’ve long had an idea based on the timeshare model for season subscriptions, where not only would you pitch it the same way, but the actual mechanics of what they purchase is similar. A customer would buy a subscription worth a number of points, and those points could be used for different shows. So, say a weekday evening preview performance costs 5 points, and it is a 5 show season – the cheapest subscription would be 25 points per person, but they could use them however they want. If they aren’t interested in going to, say the holiday show, they could take 10 points and go to a weekend performance. A show isn’t doing so hot? Offer a point discount. Patrons could give extra points to friends, and probably a lot of points would go unused.
    This idea came from trying to figure out a decent way to sell a subscription for a rental theater, or a touring house. The nice thing is that the whole season doesn’t have to be announced before they purchase.
    Somebody do it.

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