Keep Demand Management in Your Pricing Toolbox
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TRG Blog: Analysis from TRG Arts

Keep Demand Management in Your Pricing Toolbox

Amelia Northrup-Simpson | July 31, 2014 4:16 PM

You may call it pricing.

We call it demand management.

The choice of words matters less than the practices arts managers maintain as part of their working discipline.

Smart technique and tactics like dynamic pricing can get you immediate infusions of income. Managing demand and its associated revenue, Jill Robinson, TRG’s President & CEO, recently told organization leaders at our July Executive Summit “is an evergreen administrative practice that must play a role in sustainable revenue.” It is a strategic skill set that can enable arts staff teams to follow patrons’ desires to deeper engagement, greater investments, and ultimately, the revenue – working capital – that helps organizations thrive.

At this time of year, managing demand has immediate and longer term objectives, as new seasons are beginning and the next season ahead is in the planning stage. In TRG’s recent #artspricing chat on Twitter, we heard questions and good dialog about all things pricing that suggest now is the time to open the strategic toolbox and put it to work. In that spirit, we’ve rounded up some of the pricing blog posts, cases, and presentations that can serve as blueprints for planning and implementing upcoming campaigns.

Webinars and presentations

What does demand management mean for my organization?

In this presentation from the 2014 AAM conference, What Pricing can do for Museums, learn the four ways museums can benefit from changes in pricing strategy. See the slides here>> 

In TRG’s hit webinar from last fall, Three New Rules for Pricing Right, TRG’s pricing expert Lindsay Homer discusses three ways both performing arts organizations and museums can optimize pricing. Watch the webinar here>>

Blog Posts

Are you setting your dynamic pricing and inventory management policies this summer?

A scale plan alone is not enough for effective pricing. Even if your scale plan is final, read how dynamic pricing and inventory management work together. Read the post here>>

How far can a discount actually go in generating demand for an event?

In this post, we argue that price seldom impacts demand for an production or exhibit in the arts. You may not even be able to give tickets away if patrons really aren’t interested. Read more on the economics of seated events here>>

How do I know if my pricing strategy is working?

One of the best metrics you can use to determine if you’re pricing right is per-capita ticket revenue. Learn more about what it is and why you should care about it here>>

There are a lot of empty seats and galleries. Is there something wrong with our pricing?

Here at TRG, we talk a lot about the perception of success. How much does the fullness of the house affect your audience's experience? Read the post here>>

Should I just give out more comp tickets?

If ever there was something to put on your “stop doing list,” it’s comps. Some organizations, especially those in the museum industry, are considering making all tickets free, too. There is a cost to organizations that issue free tickets without strategic intent. Read the post here>>

Case Studies

Really, don’t comp when sales are low?

Moving from papering the house to disciplined pricing and audience development strategies increased loyalty and revenue for Hartford Stage. Read the case study here>> 

Maybe if we cut prices, we’ll sell more tickets. Right?

When EMP Museum cut ticket prices, revenue fell. Read how they re-aligned price and demand here>>

I’ve heard about organizations selling half-price subscriptions. How does that work?

Albany Symphony Orchestra tried to grow new subscriptions by offering them at half price. Units increased significantly. However, per-ticket revenue declined and renewal rates were poor. Learn how they turned around declines in both subscription units and revenue here>>

Is my pricing strategy helping audience loyalty or hurting it?

Learn how Theatre Aquarius changed their approach to both pricing and loyalty, resulting in increased revenue and 94% of subscribers choosing the full series subscription. Read the case study here>>

What’s the best way to use or start using dynamic pricing?

Learn how dynamic pricing coupled with smart campaign planning made Pensacola Opera's Carmen a smash! It sold out and went 33% over its revenue goal. Read the post here>> 

Ours is small, one-price venue. How does demand management fit my situation?

For small organizations like the Cultch, every single seat is critical to achieving revenue goals. Read how dynamic pricing on their blockbuster Penny Plain resulted in record-breaking revenue. Read the case study here>>

Demand management takes time and attention we don’t have. What’s in it for us?

How pricing and audience development strategies resulted in $1.1 million revenue increase in already near-full productions of New York City Ballet's Nutcracker. Read the case study here>>

Back to class: If you’re looking to sharpen your team’s skills in demand management and pricing, consider TRG’s fall schedule of Pricing Summits in Colorado Springs.


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Case Study: Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma

Annual operating budget up 32% in 5 seasons

Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma 
 Photo: Joseph Mills

After a poor year for earned revenue in 2012, Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma (LTO) had rebounded and was experiencing a growth spurt. In 2013, Director of Marketing Danyel Siler had turned her attention to single tickets.

Her hard work had paid off, but season tickets were still a challenge. “Season tickets were steadily declining,” she said. “The season ticket campaign had been done the same way for years, maybe even decades. And we blamed the fall on the trend that subs were declining everywhere. Our executive director, artistic director, and I all knew something needed to change, but we didn’t know what.”

Read More>>


Jill Robinson
Adam Scurto
Amelia Northrup-
J.L.Nave Vincent VanVleet Keri Mesropov

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