Coming Soon: Buy a Shot on the Kiss Cam, Upgrade Your Seat at an Event

A few days ago, Ticketmaster announced that it’s working with a company called Experience to allow people to upgrade their seats shortly before or even during an event. Also, this app will allow you to buy certain kinds of things (one of the examples the press release gives is “having a mascot visit a seat at a ball game”) that normally you would either have had to buy as some kind of VIP package, or wouldn’t be able to buy at all, or it would just be serendipity of the experience, like being on the Fan Cam.

You should watch what happens with this experiment because it does three things that can have a real impact on your revenue per seat:

It allows ticket buyers to delay a decision. They’ve bought a ticket in the mid-tier, but now they’ve got a chance to rethink that decision later. Some will take you up on it and spend more money with you.

It allows them to unbundle what they buy. Packages, in my experience, are overrated because unless somebody really knows they want every aspect of a package, they can be suspicious of the value they’re getting. By allowing them to unbundle, they’re more likely to buy ANY add-on, as opposed to being stopped at the beginning of the process because they don’t want to pay for aspects of a package that they don’t value.

"Kiss cam," © 2012 Ochinko, used under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.

“Kiss cam,” © 2012 Ochinko, used under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.

It allows them to buy things they couldn’t previously buy. Like a mascot visit or an appearance on the Kiss Cam, things that used to be lucky upside surprises as part of the live experience, will be buyable for cash. Some of these we’re used to, like backstage visits and meet and greets, but other things will feel like takeaways to everybody who doesn’t buy them. I predict this evolves rapidly. TM and others doing this should avoid improving the experience of the better-paying ticket buyer at the expense of the others, because there’s not a lot of leeway, especially in large venues, to degrade the mid to low-tier experience further in many cases.

From a revenue point of view, these are all potentially positive, though if handled poorly could have some unintended consequences. Still, the overall idea of giving people more flexibility and power makes sense.

By the way, you don’t even need a particularly high-tech solution to this. Anyone reading this piece ought to be able to think about ways to implement such options, for example, at their box office or on their site or apps, or via email.

And remember to improve the experience of those taking you up on those offers without degrading the experience of those who don’t. Long term, that strategy is a loser.

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