Audiences like to feel personally responsible for bringing about positive change, says Sean Hanly, so giving them the chance to consider options other than a ticket refund will generate goodwill and encourage them to return - once it’s safe to open the doors again.
The Covid-19 pandemic and resultant health crisis has meant the arts are once again thrust into facing some very serious challenges. It has led to mass closures of arts and cultural organisations across the UK and Ireland, which has brought a set of challenges for everyone in the arts community - the biggest of which is a massive impact on revenues. There will undoubtedly be deep and long-lasting impacts in the arts sector and in our own lives.
We know how devastating the closures, cancellations and postponements have been for the arts community at large. While we cannot be certain of when this will all come to an end, the power and beauty of the arts has already come to the surface as we knuckle down, work together, and help achieve positive impacts for our incredible industry during the crisis.
Retaining revenues and relationships
Already in the past few days we’ve seen organisations, theatres, and ticketing partners alike joining forces to empower the industry, sharing learning and keeping teams in positive spirits. We are pleased to share with you brand new functionality – the Ticket Exchange Tool – that will help organisations communicate to all audience members and allow them to choose what they would like to do with their tickets for cancelled events. Even if you’re not using Ticketsolve as your system, there are plenty of ideas which will help your organisation to encourage audience members to reconsider opting for a refund.
The Ticket Exchange Tool is fully optimised for Ticketsolve and is very simple to use. It will email all the customers per event that has been cancelled, giving audiences various options on what to do regarding the cancelled event. It’s an automated process that enables your organisation will be able to communicate to all ticket holders, not just those that have opted in for emails through Mailchimp.
Ticket holders are offered three options:
- Request a refund.
- Exchange the full or partial value of their purchase into a credit voucher they can use at your venue at a later date.
- Transfer the full or partial value of their purchase to a donation.
The system is GDPR compliant and transparent, giving customers all the options available to them. Once they’ve selected their desired option, the Ticket Exchange Tool will automatically process the refund, exchange or donation with no manual intervention required,
We completely understand that this won’t solve the bigger issues facing venues, but evidence so far suggests it will help alleviate at least some of the immediate pressures, saving them a lot of time and effort. The team at Regent Ipswich has told us the Ticket Exchange Tool “has transformed what otherwise would have been a daunting and tedious process for our team”. It will also make a valuable contribution to their fundraising efforts by retaining revenues in the form of credit vouchers or donations. Across all Ticketsolve clients, over 52% of audience members have so far made the decision to repurpose the cost of their ticket. Almost 30% have made donations and over 22% have made voucher requests.
Empower audience members to consider all options
Theatres, venues and cultural centres all over the UK are playing their part and closing their doors to help slow the spread of coronavirus. While any period of closure is a tough time for the arts, our audience members will be proud of our efforts and attempts to protect them from illness and encourage social distancing.
Audience members like to hear how they can make a difference. They like to feel personally responsible for bringing about positive change, so it’s important to offer them reassurance that by considering options other than a refund, they will empower your organisation to continue inspiring audiences once it’s safe to open the doors again.
Don’t forget to thank audience members who do decide to exchange their ticket for a voucher or to a donation. These gestures mean a lot and it’s important to show gratitude. You won’t forget the impact of maintaining this revenue, and your audience members won’t forget your meaningful thank you either.
Sean Hanly is CEO of Ticketsolve
This article, sponsored and contributed by Ticketsolve, is part of a series looking at the power of box office data to inform strategic decision making.
Ticketsolve resources for the arts include:
- Our new whitepaper with tips, tricks and guidance for dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.
- A special episode of The Arts and Everything in Between discusses COVID-19, its effect on the arts sector and what help and guidance is out there for organisations, freelancers and anyone working in the arts. Special guest, Michelle Wright, Chief Executive of Cause4 and Programme Director of The Arts Fundraising and Philanthropy explains what guidance and advice is out there for the arts sector and how the industry will get through this.
- COVID-19 Information and Arts Resources
- Tips for working at home
- Ticketsolve Exchange Tool