It goes without saying that season ticket holders are a major source of revenue for your athletics programs. In fact, this is how a lot of schools fill many of their seats.
In light of this, it's always good to be thinking about new ways to generate renewals. After all, it's much easier and more cost-effective to retain an existing customer than it is to acquire a new one.
Here are some proven strategies to consider applying to your renewal programs
MAKE IT EASY FOR YOUR FANS
As with any purchase process, reducing friction helps increase conversion rates. Here are a few things that you can do to make it easier for your season ticket holders to renew.
First, set up auto-renewal on your season tickets. Your staff won't need to spend as much time following up with fans and your fans won't have to actually do anything to renew. This simple strategy does wonders to increase season ticket holder renewal rates.
You should also use a dedicated landing page or microsite for renewals.
Liberty Football's microsite is a great example because it includes critical information like pricing, a stadium map[ and season ticket holder benefits.
Air Force Football is all about fan engagement with its landing page. In a video message, Athletics Director Nathan Pine encourages fans to renew their season tickets and talks about the associated benefits.
Another way you can make things easier for your fans is with payment plans. By allowing them to pay for their tickets over time, you make it more likely that they will renew, especially if they can't pay for the full season up front.
PULL OUT ALL THE STOPS
To maximize your renewal rates, you'll want to reach fans using their preferred communications channels. After all, it can take multiple touchpoints - and more than one method of communication - to get a fan to convert.
First, create a communications campaign. Use recurring reminder emails (at least one per month), phone calls and direct mail to drive renewals. During this process, it's a good idea to encourage early renewal by providing incentives like discounts, additional priority points or other perks.
Don't forget to schedule an automated 'thank you' email to go out after each renewal. This is an excellent opportunity to educate season ticket holders on the benefits that come with being part of the team. Here's a great example from the Troy Athletics Football program.
Retargeting can be a great tactic to drive renewals. By uploading an email list of season ticket holders ticket holders to a retargeting platform like Cybba, you can run display ads to these folks during your renewal period and encourage them to sign on for another year.
Also, think about involving your top student athletes and coaches.
As the LA Galaxy soccer club has proven, this can help create an excellent experience that will boost retention for years to come.
How did they do it? The Galaxy sent season ticket renewals emails from star forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic and even had Zlatan personally call fans to thank them for renewing.
Now, your athletics program may not have an international superstar like Ibrahimovic, but you can still leverage the same tactic.
Have one of your star athletes or coaches call renewing season ticket holders to say thank you and drop a quick note. This helps create a memorable moment that delights season ticket holders and makes them feel special.
MAKE IT ABOUT MORE THAN JUST THE GAMES
Fans don't buy season tickets just to go to games. There are enough tickets available on primary and secondary markets to satisfy that demand. Fans buy season tickets for the experience that comes with being a season ticket holder.
One franchise that creates an excellent season ticket holder experience is the NHL's Philadelphia Flyers.
The Flyers create special experiences both inside and outside the arena. Some of their tactics include giving season ticket holders access to pre-game warmups, Zamboni rides during intermission at games, meet and greets with coaches and players, in addition to general season ticket holder appreciation events.
Off the ice, Flyers season ticket holders are invited to town hall meetings, allowing fans to meet with team management in an intimate forum. They also give gifts at tenure milestones to reward season ticket holders for supporting the team for as long as they have.
Your renewals process is an excellent opportunity to provide add-ons and recommendations such as additional home games, away games, chairback seats and more. It's also a good time to ask your season ticket holders if they would like a package upgrade or seat change.
PROVIDE THE RIGHT TREATMENT TO THE RIGHT FANS
No two fans are the same. Fans with different relationships to your organization require different treatment.
For instance, first -time renewers usually renew at a 10-20% lower rate than ticket holders with 3+ years of tenure.
For first-time season ticket buyers, you'll want to assign a service rep to reach out and explain their benefits early on and have 3-5 meaningful touchpoints throughout the year, involving in-person meetings and different people on your staff if possible.
For multi-year season ticket buyers, you should take a different approach. For these folks, your customer touchpoints should promote things such as auto-renewal and upsells.
Of course, your CRM can be of great assistance in engaging with your fans. By tagging first year and multi-year season ticket holders, you'll be able to easily segment these separate groups for campaigns. By assigning tasks for staff in your CRM, you can ensure that each season ticket holder gets the appropriate follow ups and that you are tracking the progress of these tasks.
If your season ticket holders don't renew, not all is lost. Constructing retention offers is a great way to keep them in the fold and claw back some revenue from lapsed season ticket holders. As a fallback, you may want to include offers for half-season tickets or multi-game packages. You can then try to convert these folks back to full season plans the following season.
Retaining season ticket holders takes a village and significant commitment from your staff. However, if you put all the right pieces in place and devote the appropriate efforts, you can create a renewal program that will increase retention and revenue far into the future.
If you want to chat more about how your ticketing software can help you achieve these goals, schedule a demo of the OvationTix platform.