Revenue / 11.28.18
Portland Trail Blazers’ Director of Ticket Ops' Advice on Selling Out
The Portland Trail Blazers have seen dynamic success, over the years, selling out their arena. Teresa Starr, the Trail Blazers’ Director of Ticket Operations, shares her top tips for replicating the Blazers success with Access.
We’re just about staring the new year in the face. Have you identified any ticketing trends you think will carry over into 2019?
Yes: mobile/digital ticketing, loyalty rewards and discounts for season ticket holders, and monthly-based ticketing subscription options. We’ve made it a point of emphasis to not undercut the season ticket holder pricing for individual games or smaller packages, so we can continue to market season tickets as the best seats, benefits and prices available. Providing monthly payment plans with no interest also gives greater flexibility for clients to budget and pay for their season tickets.
Let’s talk attendee loyalty. How do you cultivate it?
Firstly, grow your brand so you don’t have to rely on winning on the court to sell tickets. Let your fans tell your story (listen to them through focus groups, surveys, brand audits), and be open to adjusting your strategy based on what you’re hearing. More than surveys, reading feedback is critical (whether from surveys, Google/Facebook reviews, info@ email inbox, etc.) to “close the loop” and respond to customers who have questions/issues.
We have a number of secret shoppers throughout the season and are able to target specific areas to evaluate how they are performing at the customer level. The shoppers are providing feedback on parking, will call, entry into the building, concessions and the overall fan experience. Some of the more valuable feedback we have received has involved how increased security impacts our guests and how we accommodate their needs while maintaining a high level of security. Fans with ticket scanning issues are no longer allowed in the building for troubleshooting issues; we send them to the main box office located across from the arena. Things we learned in the process: Ticket scanning should be done prior to security checks, and we should provide an alternative to entry with shorter lines after solving their issue.
And have an authentic voice in all areas (social media, website content, broadcast content).
What’s one thing you learned this season with regard to attendance that will carry over into the next season?
Provide season ticket holders with alternative ways to utilize their tickets, including exchanges, donating to charity and the ability to resell on the primary ticketing system. Our season ticket holders have been taking advantage of these alternative options. The options have allowed them to adjust their season ticket package to fit their needs/interest, which increases attendance and lowers the percent of unused tickets in their package.
What’s something you wished you knew one year ago with regard to ticketing? Five years ago?
One year: Consumers are very adaptable and tech savvy; don’t be afraid of pushing the limits on innovation and technology.
Five years: Print-at-home tickets would become the biggest source of fraud and game night ticketing issues for both primary and secondary ticketing.
What are your top three tips for professionals looking to replicate the Blazers' success?
1. Teamwork behind the scenes and company culture in the office is as important as teamwork on the court. You have 41 deadlines to hit (home games) and a multitude of concerts and events in between, so it’s important to be able to trust that everyone is doing their part. The synergy is important. It helps minimize service breakdowns and provides a better opportunity for a positive customer experience from pre-purchase communication to fulfillment on game night throughout the season. So many things happen “on the fly” or unexpectedly that the group must know how to communicate and problem solve while working together as a team.
2. Know your brand and know the brand of the successful people and companies you want to emulate.
3. Be willing to innovate and learn from your failures.
Lead image courtesy of the Portland Trail Blazers.
Tags: Sports, Consumer Behavior, Consumer Preferences