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Black Friday and Cyber Monday Strategies for Arts Organisations

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday events getting bigger and bigger every year, lots of arts organisations are now meeting customer expectations of big discounts and special savings by running their own Black Friday campaigns. We’ve had a look at some of the deals and offers that Spektrix venues across the UK, Ireland and North America were offering for Black Friday 2018, and suggest some fun offer strategies you can try for your next flash sale.

The “weekend discount bonanza”

Lots of cultural organisations offer discounted tickets across the Black Friday weekend which only require promo codes to access the big savings. These deals are easy to communicate to your customer base e.g. 50% off or £5 off every ticket today, across a selection of shows, and with promo codes valid for sales, and require minimal setup. Everyone’s a winner, as long as you have the promo code!

Belgrade Theatre in Coventry set up an offer which gave bookers a 25% discount off a selection of shows, including special events such as their alternative panto and a world premiere. Extra kudos to the Belgrade Theatre team for managing their Black Friday campaign AND hosting a Spektrix Workshop on the same day!

The Capitol Theater offered a whopping 50% discount off a show if customers used the promo code “CYBER”, and Soho Theatre ran a similar campaign offering 30% of a selection of shows. These organisations used Multibuy Offers in Spektrix, which can discount either 1 or multiple tickets by a set percentage or value. They used the start and end date functionality on offers to run the discount for a certain time period, e.g. 24 hours.

The Multibuy Offer

Another Black Friday offer we saw across the Spektrix Community userbase was the Multibuy offer, where customers received a discount if they booked for multiple shows on Black Friday.

Kay Meek Arts Center in Vancouver offered a Cyber Monday deal which gave customers the opportunity to buy tickets for 3 shows for a fixed price of $99, saving the ticket-buyer $45. They made the customer journey online super easy, by setting this offer as a fixed series, but this similar offer can also be set up using Multibuy offers in Spektrix.

For a twist on a Multibuy offer, why not encourage customers to book more events with the idea of the more you book, the more you save. Book 2 shows and get 10% off, 3 shows 25% off 3 shows 40% off etc. The Multibuy is a useful tool for upselling and to encourage customers to book extra tickets they didn’t even know they wanted.

Town Hall Symphony Hall have used this strategy with their regular bookers and have brought in over £2k in extra revenue. As well as the immediate uplift, we know that customer retention is an important metric for your organisation’s bottom line. You can use your Black Friday or Cyber Monday offers as a chance to build customer loyalty through repeat visits and reattendance. 

Buy One Get One Free

No blog post about offers would be complete without the mention of a BOGOF! Swansea Grand Theatre used their Spektrix system to set up several 2 for 1 offers on specific events and shows for their Black Friday sale. The sale finished at 23:59 on the night of Cyber Monday and customers needed to use the promo code “BLACKFRIDAY” to take advantage of the discounts.

X for Y offers on Spektrix, offer a free ticket depending, on how many other tickets are purchased. You have total control of setting the parameters, and nothing is off limits - it starts with a 2 for 1 but could easily grow into a 3 for 2 or a 5 for 4, if you want to encourage group bookings or family bookers.

Flat Rate For All

Theatre Royal Windsor set up an offer in Spektrix which prices all tickets for three dates in their pantomime run for £10. This offer requires minimal setup -  a Multibuy offer which discounts the ticket value by 100% with the “Minimum price an item can be discounted to” set to £10. Discounting all price bands across an auditorium to the same flat price gives everyone access to your regular top price seats. After running this offer, why not run a Spektrix report on your Black Friday bookers customer list to see how many of those who took advantage of your premium or Band A or Band B seats for £10 regularly buy tickets from those seat bands? You could create a re-engagement campaign for your first-time premium seat bookers to encourage them to buy similar seats in the future and monitor their booking behaviour over time to see if they begin to choose seats in higher price bands.

A/B Testing Discounts

Lyric Theatre, Belfast did something similar for Black Friday and offered £10 tickets to their seasonal shows for selected performances. They also offered their newsletter subscribers another Black Friday offer, by giving them 50% off for certain performances in the run. By giving customers a choice of offers to choose from they can measure the success of each offer type, and have a better understanding of their customer behaviour, perceived value, and see which offer has the greatest uptake.

Creative offer ideas for your next flash sale

So, with 2018 under wraps, what flash sale ideas could you try in 2019 and beyond? Here are a few ideas to get you thinking...

Golden Tickets

Channel your inner Willy Wonka with this classic from the offers playbook. Only a certain number of discounted tickets are available e.g. 50 Tickets at 50% off or a handful returns for a sold-out show. You can create as much hype as you see fit for this offer by trailering the discount with your customers on social media, having a countdown timer, or giving your members special priority access. Once the 50 discounted tickets have been applied the offer is gone forever!

Customers know the deal, they’ve got to get in there quickly to be in with a shot of getting some of these heavily discounted tickets. This offer creates a bit of theatre around the ticket release and rewards your most eager customers. What is more, it’s easy to set up and easy to plan for in advance.

Staggered discounts

Staggered discounts offer different levels of discounts, depending on how early the customer takes advantage of the deal. For example, the first 20 tickets to be sold could be discounted by 50% off, the next 50, 35% off and the final 100 tickets give customers 10% off.

Like dynamic pricing, staggered discounts encourage customers to book early and rewards their purchasing behaviour. The early bird catches the worm in this case, and this option also gives you the chance to offer discounts to a bigger pool of customers if you can only offer a certain amount of discount overall. As the offer is limited, you also know exactly how much it will impact your bottom line in advance and what impact that will have on your marketing budget for that show or season.  

Hourly releases

Amid the Black Friday noise, how can you keep your followers and bookers interested beyond the subject line of your launch email?  Enter the hourly release offer! It’s possible to set up offers where tickets are discounted and then released on the hour, every hour. For example, you could release 10 tickets each hour across the day for different shows in your next season.

Not only does this create hype and publicity around your whole programme, but it also creates a more even playing field for customers who can’t log on at midnight, or who are busy when your Black Friday deals begin. A trickle of Black Friday discounting also encourages engagement over a longer period of time, creates mystery and intrigue, piquing interest with your audience for which discount is next. Why not consider this approach if you use radio or broadcast advertising? You could measure the uptake and ROI of an hourly release offer broadcast on your local radio station, compared to the ROI on a similar offer publicised on your Facebook page.

Deal or No Deal?

Yearly events such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday, are a great way of encouraging a sense of urgency around booking and can help you boost sales for your next year and beyond. With Black Friday and Cyber Monday becoming ever-more popular, there’s plenty of time to plan a strategy for the discounts you’re going to offer next year and identify which marketing campaigns could benefit from a Black Friday push by the time November comes around. When thinking about planning your Black Friday activity, why not consider working in an agile way to deliver your plan and strategy? This will let you and your team be flexible in responding to changes in sales and programming

We’re all offered out for now but brace yourselves, the January sales are coming! If you want to find out more about setting up offers in Spektrix, have a look at our Intro to Offers support centre article. Spektrixers can also access our additional resources and consultative pack about using offers strategically as part of your pricing strategy see: Workshop session, Offers: A Strategic Approach.

If you’re not a Spektrix user, check out our free guide, The Essential Guide to Maximising Revenue in Your Arts Organisation, or get in touch with us at hello@spektrix.com if you'd like to access any of the resources discussed in this blog.