Subscription Rx

Which ticket and membership packages are right for you and your patrons? Senior OvationTix staff member and Sales Engineer, John Burns, offers expert prescriptions on things you might call subscriptions.

Define the best packages for your organization:

1. OvationTix offers customizable Fixed Packages, Flex Packages and membership options. Launch one new type of package to complement your other subscription or membership offerings. This package should be directed at a type of ticket buyer for whom your current packages are not a good fit.

2. Explore membership options for supporters who need the most flexibility and choice.

3. Don’t overdo it. Subscriptions and memberships are loyalty programs. Launching too many too quickly can be difficult for you to track and confuse your patrons.

4. Contact OvationTix Client Services if you need a tutorial or want help setting up packages.

John, thanks for sitting down with us and sharing your subscription, package, and membership expertise with our partners. First, what’s the difference between subscriptions, packages, and membership?

It’s my pleasure, and yes, let’s start with some definitions. In very basic terms, a “package” in OvationTix is simply a group of tickets that have been sold in one transaction. The tickets can all be booked at the time of the package sale–as with a Fixed Package–or can be booked over a period of time with a Flex Package. OvationTix also has new membership tools which make associating ticket benefits, like discounted or complimentary tickets, with a donation. For example, if a patron makes an annual donation of $100, that person might be offered advanced access to tickets at a 20% discount–which can be purchased when logging into their donor account.

Whatever you call them, all of these packages are designed to help OvationTix partners earn consistent revenue on a monthly or annual basis from loyal patrons. The general idea being that after someone buys a single ticket to one of your events, you may want to offer them a package for more tickets and/or a lower cost to deepen their engagement with your company.

What subscription packages do you prescribe?

I think we’ve already stretched this metaphor far enough, but we have a whole pharmacy of options which OvationTix partners can mix and match.

Many partners build traditional FixedPlus subscription packages as their “bread and butter” offering. The patron buys the same seat location for the same night–like Seat D10 for first Friday of each show of the season for example. This package can be automatically rolled over into the next season, accompanied by a renewal notice to that patron reserving her home seat(s) for your next season’s events.

As a sibling to the traditional subscription, the “Choose Your Own” (CYO) FixedPlus package allows your patrons to select a certain number of your upcoming events. For example, if you produce a season of five plays, you might build and sell a package that offers your patrons a discount when buying three or more plays. In a second example, if you are a presenting house and have 50 or more separate events, you can build a package offering a discount when the patron selects a certain number of events which you determine. If you are a larger presenter, chances are you are selling this “Choose Your Own” FixedPlus package alongside a traditional FixedPlus package of different genres, like your “Broadway Series,” “Dance Series,” “World Music Series,” and so on.

And here’s an extra tip on those CYO FixedPlus packages: build new reserved packages for the following year for these patrons. So if your new subscriber bought a three-play package in your five-play season, you can send that buyer a renewal for your full five-play season for next year. These packages do not automatically roll over, so this is a manual process–but one with a large revenue potential.

Flexible Packages work in two distinct ways. Our partners set a minimum number of tickets–let’s use six in this example–which can be booked into any seat location and across a season in any combination which totals six seats. For example, the patron could take three seats to two different shows, one seat to six different shows or five seats to one show and one seat to another show…et cetera et cetera. Flex Packages work great for festivals where there is a lot of work presented. The goal of these packages is to allow the patron exposure to as many distinct events as they like within the package.

That first type of Flex Package–where the patron can book any available ticket across a season–sounds a lot like a membership. What’s the difference?

Membership can mean a lot of things. It’s really a patron-facing term rather than the name of a particular type of package in OvationTix. Generally speaking, our OvationTix partners say “membership” when they’re asking patrons to make an up-front donation. Based on the level of that donation, the patron receives ticket benefits that you determine and set up in the system. So, you could offer discounted tickets throughout the year, two free tickets and a discount, et cetera. Memberships are an increasingly popular offering which many of our partners to leverage. The large majority of OvationTix partners are non-profit companies, and these bespoke memberships powerfully combine both the fundraising and marketing/sales elements of campaigns.

Are there any pitfalls in all these types of packages?

Our partners can mix and match many of these packages, but our advice is don’t overdo it. If you have a traditional subscription, experiment with one or two more flexible options like a membership or Flex Package. But don’t build out every package type just because you can. Too many options can become frustrating for you and confusing for the patron. Give two or three options–which already may have several price levels depending on the scale of your house–that are easy to understand and to buy. You want to have a package for a core/loyal patron base, an intermediate package for someone who wants less commitment, and then of course your single ticket offerings.

And please contact Client Services if you have any questions. You can customize these offerings right in OvationTix; the more sophisticated options come with a more sophisticated knowledge of our solution. We’re happy to help. And of course our support comes at no added cost, so feel free to schedule a training or email us with questions.

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