Timmy Metzner
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Grow arts and culture revenue

Ask Me Anything: Lowering Prices

Ask Me Anything Question

"When is the right time to lower prices?"

Timmy's Answer

The answer is almost never.

But the reasoning behind that stretches all the way back to when you set prices at the beginning of a season. In order to price correctly, past trends and your current budget should help you decide how you want to set the initial prices. It is always best to start low and then raise as you notice demand pick up. This is the ideal; that you are never lowering prices, only continuing to raise in response to demand.

However, the ideal doesn't happen with every production, or even every season. And budgetary goals may cause you to start prices higher than you feel comfortable. So when is it ok to lower prices?

  • When you've dynamically increased prices and you see that sales have slowed down
  • If you use it as a marketing strategy to communicate that lower prices are now available (being sure to exclude those who already have tickets)
  • If the only tickets selling are the lowest prices in the house
  • If you have a robust discount strategy, and the feedback you get is that prices are still too expensive

Try not to lower prices as a gut reaction to a response in demand. Not all performances are going to be blockbusters and lowering the price will only take money off the table from those people who do want to see the show. If demand is low, re-frame the issue from price-resistance to value-resistance. Are there things you could be doing to better communicate the value of the art to your audience?

Need more help with pricing? Check out our pricing studies or contact us.

JCA Arts Marketing collaborates with cultural organizations to increase revenue, boost attendance and membership, and grow patron loyalty. We provide consulting and software services to hundreds of cultural institutions across multiple genres, including dance, museums, opera, performing arts centers, symphony, and theatre. We can help you achieve your marketing goals.