Timmy Metzner
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Grow arts and culture revenue

Ask Me Anything: Zoning vs scaling

Ask Me Anything Question

What is the difference between "zoning" the house and "scaling" the house? Is this an important distinction?

Timmy's Answer

A lot of organizations tend to use the terms sections/scale/zone of a house interchangeably. There is need, however, to be clear—not only for communications to patrons but in maximizing the potential for varying your inventory.

The difference between zoning and scaling is an important one. The zones in your house are the actual sections of seats, while the scaling is the pricing of the zones. And here is the best un-kept secret: it isn’t necessary for each zone to have its own individual price. For example you might have an Orchestra Right zone and an Orchestra Left zone, but they are both priced the same. By separating the ideas of zoning and scaling you unlock a very powerful tool: microzoning.

By creating more zones than there are prices, this allows you to dynamically price specific sections of the house without having to raise every single ticket at that price. If we use our example above, perhaps Orchestra Left has a better view, thus we can only raise the prices in that zone, while keeping Orchestra Right at the starting price.

Here is an example of a house scaled with 4 prices ($10 - $40): 

Scaled house

But the house itself is zoned with 8 different zones to allow for more flexibility with dynamic pricing:

Zoned house


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.