Get Your Secondary Revenue Working Harder

12 Apr 2016 | ROI

Most arts, culture and entertainment venues have engaged in secondary revenue streams. From food and drink to merchandise, secondary revenue can make up to 20% of additional revenue for organisations. But how do you get secondary revenue streams working hard for you?

How do you ensure you keep the balance of maximising revenue versus happy patrons? And how can your ticketing partner ensure you maximise secondary revenue every step of the way?


What are your secondary revenue options?

Secondary revenue sources typically are food, drink and merchandise. Basically anything outside the actual tickets for a show. Meal +Tickets deals, pre-sales on programmes or other merchandise, interval drinks etc., are no brainers. But here is where you can really get creative, what else can you sell? What else is of value to your patrons? This depends on your audience and patrons.

VIP packages and backstage passes might be better than maybe workshops and talks. Target your customers with the right offers at the right time. For example, family packages will certainly work better for panto purchasers, whereas a "meet the artists" will likely work better with an adult audience. I am simplifying of course, but the more targeted you can be the better - and the more value your audience will get from your offer. Be sure to target your deals are competitive compared to what they can get outside your venue. For example, I recently went to a show that offered a family meal deal where kids we half off. Comparing this to anything we could have gotten outside, we decided it was best to buy the meal offer.


Communication strategies that work!

While it is a great to have a strong secondary revenue stream, it is not so great if no one knows about your offers, or they find out about them at the wrong time. Besides offers being presented alongside show promo emails, meal deals and merchandise offers can be presented throughout the buying and checkout process. Even after tickets are purchased, your audience can be segmented, and an automatic email could be sent, prior to the show detailing offers again.

A pre-show email, close to the day of the show, can work amazingly well to boost purchases of merchandise and other extras. Keep in mind, it is not a good idea to bombard your patrons with offer after offer. Rather, mix in handy tips alongside your sales pitch. So for example, you might add in where to park information, or public transport links, alongside meal and drink offers. 

Don't forget post show emails are another excellent time to present offers. The key here is to get your timing right, and ride the wave of the good feeling while the experience is still fresh in their minds.


How do you keep the balance?

Now we come to the heart of the issue. Your patrons have come to you to buy tickets to a show, festival or activity. Are they really there for the merchandise and the food? Probably not. But what they may not realise is that it is the whole experience that matters. So while the food, drink and merchandise are really secondary, it all adds up to the whole experience - which is what they will remember. This is why it really important not to monetise everything.

There is a line where patrons will feel like they are getting too many offers, and being asked to spend too much money. This is very damaging to customer opinion and ultimately your brand. So be careful and don't go overboard. One way to strike this balance is to offer something for free as well.

So for example, I recently went to a family show with my kids. Each ticket came with a free box of popcorn. Cheap, simple, and effective. My kids still remember the free popcorn (for that matter so do I)! Doesn't matter that it was a small popcorn, or that it was likely at least a day old - it added to the whole "carnival experience" of the show. Another great one is a "free glass of wine with your meal." Again, simple, but effective, and makes it feel like a great deal to buy the meal alongside your tickets.

This same show that had the free popcorn, also had kiosks dotted around the foyer allowing you to purchase tickets for other shows or come back again. Purchasing the tickets at the kiosks on the day of the show got you a 30% discount on the tickets. We did not buy tickets from the kiosk at that time, but when I got home, I had an email from the venue offering me a discount code since I had not used it at the kiosk that day - very smart.

Another way to keep the balance is to go the extra mile. Show that you are really thinking about your patrons and their needs. So for example, when a customer purchases a meal, do you ask if they have any special requests, do they have any allergies or dietary restrictions? This sort of information gathering not only helps you to make your audiences experiences be amazing, but also shows your patrons you are trying to make their experience great.


How does Ticketsolve support secondary revenue?

Having a ticketing partner that can support your secondary revenue goals allows you to get creative, and expand your secondary revenue options. Ticketsolve has several areas of functionality geared specifically for secondary revenue streams. We'll take a look at each one in turn.


Merchandise and products

Ticketsolve can offer merchandise sales, vouchers etc., to help promote events. The system is tailored to handle and promote multiple products from one place, whether they are concessions, or merchandise or something else entirely. The merchandise and products functionality allows you to create a virtual store front that can sit alongside your show programming.

Product prompts

In addition to the store front style, ancillary product sales, such as concessions, upgrades, and merchandise are all facilitated through the Ticketsolve system. Uniquely branded pages of products are seamlessly presented to customers alongside ticket sales. This functionality prompts suggestions of additional purchases at check out, and can feature any type of product; from merchandise to concessions.

Cross selling up selling

Ticketsolve incorporates a range of cross-selling and up-selling tools, both from the box office and online. Aside from event recommendations, related merchandise and services can be offered at the point of purchase, enabling customers to pay for their entire event experience through one simple platform.


Special offers and promotions

Ticketsolve also allows complex special offers and promotions to be set up with little fuss. They’re fully trackable so you can analyse their popularity; they’re also fully customisable so you can put limits or deadlines on your promotions. These promotions and special offers can relate to package deals and secondary revenue streams.


Extras Function

Collecting extra information about your audiences, allows you to make a standout experience for them. This might be asking for meal choices ahead of time or asking for additional details for family tickets. Ticketsolve makes it easy to collect extra information when you need it using the extras function. Since the fields are flexible, you can add any extra fields that are required. For example:
  • For Christmas shows for example, ask for names and ages of children, for special Santa gifts.
  • Menu options and choices can be added, such as for vegans or special diets.

Alerts email

There is so much that needs to happen prior to an event or show going live. One of the most important is communicating effectively with your audience. With Tickesolve’s alerts email functionality, you can set various messages that can be delivered prior to, and after your event. Combining these alerts with secondary revenue promotions means you can time your email to have the most impact.
  • Set messages for one event or several
  • Send messages prior to an event. Maybe its a friendly reminder to bring ID, or helpful parking information, or even just a reminder of the start times, along with offers for merchandise or concessions.
  • Send messages after the event, from a survey to a simple thank you.


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