5 Tips to Drive Last-Minute Holiday Shopping in Performing Arts

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday behind us, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. And, many of your patrons are likely still looking for the perfect gift to give their loved ones this season. 

That means there’s still time for your performing arts organization to leverage last-minute holiday shopping to drive revenue and attendance. 

Here are five ideas that are sure to please patrons of all ages!

Very Merry Tickets
Tickets are always high on every patron’s wish list and make great gift ideas. For instance, WhatsOnStage is making it easy to find an event for anyone when you’re making your list and checking it twice.

By creating a Christmas Gift Guide, WhatsOnStage is showcasing programming by buyer interests – star-studded shows for those who like to name drop, comedy picks for those who like to laugh out loud, Christmas classics for those full of holiday cheer and more!

Consider showcasing your events using a similar microsite or landing page, then encourage shopping with targeted emails. This makes it easy for your patrons to give the gift of entertainment.

Performing arts organizations with fewer programming options can use email marketing to shine the spotlight on their event tickets in fun, creative ways too – like an e-newsletter with gift ideas straight from the North Pole!

Using data can help improve the conversion rates of your marketing outreach by creating more targeted offers, so be sure to leverage your CRM to track customer preferences.

Playhouse Square, for example, runs a week-long HoliDeals promotion each year after Thanksgiving. This year, the not-for-profit performing arts center will once again ask customers when they do their holiday shopping and who they are buying gifts for this season.

Depending on their answers, customers land on either the HoliDeals ‘naughty’ or ‘nice’ list!
In addition to kicking off a fun, personalized marketing journey, Playhouse Square can now send highly targeted offers. Last-minute shoppers could definitely be in the market for surprise deals in the days – and hours – leading up to Christmas.

VIP Packages with Hassle-Free Parking 
Everybody wants good seats. Including a place to park might not seem like a great gift – but just ask Santa how hard it is to find a spot to put down that sleigh!

Orchestra or box seats are one thing, but, if you really want to make your VIP packages stand out, include a parking pass. With so much happening at this time of year, you’ll improve the patron experience by eliminating the need to fight for a spot close to your venue. 

Gift Certificates and Gift Cards
This one may seem old hat but, like Santa’s sleigh, gift certificates and gift cards never go out of style.

In fact, a recent survey by the National Retail Federation revealed that they remain among the top holiday gifts – 56 percent of those surveyed expected to buy gift cards this season.

The numbers are even higher when you look at year-round statistics: Over $100 billion is spent on gift cards annually and 93% of U.S. consumers purchase or receive a gift card each year.

In performing arts, it’s easy to see why this works. Gift cards offer patrons a high degree of flexibility, allowing the recipient to choose a show that fits into his or her schedule. 

Arts professionals will also be interested to know that 72 percent of customers end up spending more than the value of their gift card. Others never use the full value, which ends up being found money. 

Organizations like Blumenthal Performing Arts and Barrington Stage Company are making it easy to give the perfect gift. In an instant, patrons can customize their certificates for any amount and add a personal message. Everyone appreciates quick delivery these days too, so be sure to offer email and print-at-home options. 

Flex Packs and Vouchers
Another way to offer customers more choice – and less commitment than a full season subscription if they’re not ready – is through the use of flex packs and vouchers.

With flex packs, patrons can pick their shows from a set list versus receiving tickets to a specific performance.

Patrons who want to give the gift of a single show versus many may prefer the idea of vouchers. Instead of choosing a date up front, their loved ones can exchange them for scannable tickets for any show that fits your criteria.

You could, for example, offer vouchers for $20 each, making them an affordable gift that patrons can purchase for loved ones – or for themselves!

If you want to take things up a notch, consider offering vouchers in large quantities at an even deeper discount. This may attract bulk buys from local businesses.

Referrals
Beyond giving the gift of entertainment, your patrons may be doing some other last-minute online shopping.

By partnering with AmazonSmile – which is powered by the same Amazon you know, with the same products, prices and service – non-profit performing arts organizations like Athenaeum Theatre are receiving donations when patrons make their holiday purchases through a specific referral link

Learn More
These five last-minute shopping ideas are just the beginning. Want to learn more about taking advantage of the holiday shopping season to drive revenue and attendance for your performing arts organization?

Click here to schedule a coffee consultation with an AudienceView expert.

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