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Beating Dynamic Pricing

February 5, 2014

As both regular readers of the Theatremonkey website know, it remains a key reference in the websphere for holding “price maps”  of every West End show. With the advent of “dynamic pricing” though, I find myself regularly having to qualify the prices shown as being the “base” price – what the seats were set at when booking opened, and that could change nearer the time depending on demand.

For the venue, that normally means the prices go up as the number of seats available reaches single figures. With the greed of a ticket tout / scalper, that £10 seat on row V suddenly goes for £29.50, anything closer to the stage that was £52.50 is now £95… and somebody eventually pays that, if my checks are anything to go by.

That is why, I’m delighted to blog that there are ways and means of fighting back.

First, remember that most ticket agencies don’t use “dynamic pricing” at all… yet… In other words, if their allocation is in the £52.50 zone, they’ll sell it at £52.50 plus their booking fee (which even if 25% won’t add up to £95) come what may. So, when the house is only showing “premium purple” seats available – have a look around…

Second, I took a smug delight in picking up a previously £55 seat for £35 a couple of weekends ago. Not smug in getting the price, though that was wonderful, but smug knowing that I had, in fact, been willing to pay £20 more… but “dynamic pricing” meant that I didn’t have to. The sound of shotgun ammunition entering foot was rather lovely to hear, just for a change.

Put another way, why are theatres setting us against them in this manner? A recent article in “The Stage” newspaper noted that a Liverpool panto was using “dynamic pricing” for the first time, and actually sold more seats for less overall.

More to the point, the “quick return” of selling a high price ticket doesn’t create a loyal audience who will turn up regularly as they can afford to go and keep the habit alive.

Financially, the system may or may not work. Socially, for me at least, it ain’t as appealing as Easyjet…

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