2 min read

How to Increase Ticket Sales for Nonprofit Theaters

Traditional theater seats lined up in rows

More sales happen online than anywhere else – including sales for the performing arts. Among the organizations we work with, Spektrix has observed more than 50% of ticket sales occurring online. Despite this behavior, the arts industry is still behind the curve when it comes to selling to patrons online.

This is a critical opportunity for organizations, yet finding the resources to put new sales strategies into place can be particularly challenging for nonprofits. So to help jumpstart the process, we’ve compiled a shortlist of four tips to help arts organizations increase ticket sales online.


1. Examine your online purchase path

When considering how to maximize your online sales opportunities, start by understanding your patrons’ online journey. Consider how they are arriving to the website, how they are finding all of the relevant features, and doing everything possible to make it fast and user-friendly.

Test out a checkout flow from the perspective of the people purchasing those tickets. How would someone totally new to your organization interact with the checkout? Consider all of the steps a patron might take, such as using a phone or tablet.  Analyze who is buying, how, and identify anything that might be in their way.


2. Take a closer look at your pricing

To make the most of every transaction, run reports to glean data, for example, to see which seats patrons are purchasing most often. Use that data to inform whether you could raise prices on the highest-demand seats or use a new promotional strategy to sell less popular seats.

Additionally, think about when patrons are buying tickets in the time leading up to an event. Consider whether a dynamic pricing strategy could help your organization capitalize on the times when patrons are most willing to spend more, or when rewarding early buyers could drive advance sales.


3. Introduce an intelligent offer

Discounting tickets without a strategy can devalue patrons’ perception of the organization’s programming. Intelligent discounting, on the other hand, can shift their behavior and entice them to buy early or attend more often.

Intelligent offers are a great tool for converting one-time patrons into repeat visitors. They persuade patrons to bridge the gap between a single-ticket purchase and subscriber by offering a percentage discount if they buy more shows at once. Or harness new patrons’ excitement after seeing their first show by adding a credit to their account, bringing them closer to becoming repeat attendees.


4. Mix offers and membership programs

Leveraging offers is an additional way to convert patrons into members. Look at including discounted tickets as part of membership, or consider a members-only presale. These offers can expand member bases while getting patrons to book earlier. Track how much you’re giving away and what your return is to make sure it’s a healthy balance for the organization.


And remember, inspiration is everywhere

As daunting as it might seem to shake up the way your organization sells tickets online, implementing just one or two of these strategies can help increase ticket sales. When considering next steps, don’t be afraid to look to other industries. Commercial retailers and travel companies have adapted to accommodate digital buyers in ways the performing arts industry should take cues from. And just like those industries, it can be iterative – making changes as you go will lead to increased revenue over time.

To learn more about how Spektrix can help your organization implement these strategies to improve your organization’s bottom line, contact us to start a conversation or see a demonstration of our product.


Share your inspiration and ideas with the Spektrix Community

Join the conversation

Hailey Colwell is a former Marketing Manager at Spektrix

6 Things I Learned My First Time at Capacity Interactive Boot Camp

Hybrid conferences in 2022: connecting failure with success, reframing goals to support change, centering accessibility, and dog GIFs.


Creating great ticket booking experiences for arts patrons online

Patrons want to book theater, music and event tickets online. But more than a transaction, your website’s often their first experience of your...


Create your own story arc for fundraising conversations

A guest post by Kel Haney, Senior Consultant at Donorly. Kel introduces her method for shifting fundraising conversations from transactional moments...