Where Should You Focus Your Attention When Half Your Shows Are Sold Out?

In most of the posts I’ve written on Sold Out Run, I have an answer. You might disagree with me, but I have a stance based on my experience that I put out there. In this one I really am writing about something that I haven’t figure out yet. I’d love to hear your opinion.

I was recently in a show that had performances Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights with a Sunday matinee. The Friday and Saturday shows didn’t all sell out, but the ticket sales were very strong. The Thursday and Sunday shows were a different story. They were more empty seats than not.

…the fact the show is selling out will move people to get tickets on whatever night is still available.

I’ve thought of two ways to try to drive ticket sales for a situation like this. (For my purposes here, I’m being overly simplistic and focusing on just these two ideas. In reality, there’s an almost infinite number of ways to approach this.) The first approach is to really focus the promotions on Thursday and Sunday since the other two nights seem to already be doing pretty well. The second approach is to focus on selling out Friday and Saturday completely as quickly as possible, with the thought that the fact the show is selling out will motivate people to get tickets on whatever night is still available.

Weeknights and matinees

This seems pretty straight forward. You can offer reduced pricing on these tickets, a meet and greet with the cast after the show, and other special incentives. What’s really bothering me about this approach is it feels like giving up. It might be my ego getting the better of me, but this seems like conceding that all things being equal no one would choose to attend a Thursday or Sunday.

The truth is I want people to be falling over themselves to get their hands on any ticket. It doesn’t matter as long as they get to see the show.


There’s something about this idea that is really capturing my interest. First of all convincing someone to come to a Friday or Saturday night show is just an easier sell. That’s the best time for most people. But if those nights are already sold out (and the longer before the show opens the better) than there’s a perception that this show is a little more exclusive.

It’s the exact same product on stage, but a sell out is a sort of social proof that a lot of other people think this show is worth paying money to go see. I’m wondering if the desire to see what everyone else is so excited about is strong enough to convince people it is worth their Thursday or Sunday.

Sorry I don’t have any brilliant insights on this one. I’m just thinking out loud. It’s definitely something I will be writing about again on Sold Out Run, though, if I have a chance to do some testing.

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