Whether you’re a 50 seat theater or 50,000 seat arena, there are a few programs you need to make sure you have in place. Email marketing and donor programs are great places to start, and another tactic that we’ve seen add massive value are VIP programs. Creating a VIP program might seem elitist to some, but it’s a critical part of promoting your venue and building your identity.
The fact of the matter is that, on one hand, it is a vanity play for some patrons, but more importantly – these VIPs are bringing in lots of revenue for you and have the power to broadcast your venue through word of mouth. And think about what you could do with that extra revenue; lower priced seats? Bigger performances? The list goes on.
So what are some ways to get started creating and implementing your VIP program? Let’s dive in.
First off, Know Who Your VIPs Are
First things first – you can’t have a VIP program if you don’t know who your VIPs are. And it’s much more than people who buy the expensive tickets – it’s important to actively reach out to patrons who could potentially become part of that VIP demographic. There are a few types of VIPs that you need to keep an eye out for:
- Patrons spending a lot of money
- Patrons donating a lot of money
- “Big wig” patrons, corporate sponsors and patrons with extensive networks
Keep It Real-Time, and Do Your Homework
Everyone likes to be remembered. But it can be hard when you have hundreds of patrons coming in and out of your venue for every event. Create a notification system for when those VIP patrons enter the building. We’ve found that a text works best, and have created a system that sends out alerts once a VIP patron’s ticket has been scanned.
Once you spot them and have “remembered” their face, it’s important to know facts about them: likes, dislikes, personality and more. Are they a big baseball fan? Have they been coming to the theater for 10 years? Did they just get married? Insights like this help you form real relationships that, in many cases, extend beyond the theater.
Reward Your VIPs, Don’t Just Sell VIP Tickets
So you’ve identified your VIPs, and have your alert system in place. Now how do you set your program in motion? Think of ways you can create exclusive “VIP experiences” for your patrons. For instance:
- Organize exclusive “Meet the Cast” nights after rehearsals
- Q&A sessions with directors, producers and promoters
- Give away signed memorabilia and props
- Create reserved seating areas for your VIPs with increased ticket prices
- Create personalized tickets for your VIPs with their names on them
- Invite these patrons to bring their VIP friends to special receptions before and after events
These are just a few examples of how you can reward your VIPs, but the possibilities are endless. These are the people who are investing more than the average patron in your success – so put some of your creativity to good use and dream up some awesome ways to tell your VIPs how much you appreciate their support!