Online Discount Abuse


#1

Hi all, we seem to be having an internal debate here at the Arkansas Rep regarding online discounts and wanted to get input from our fellow community members:

We are considering offering Senior, Military, and Student discounts to be purchased through our online box office. Some of us here fear that by placing it on the web for patrons to purchase themselves that it will lead to abuse and people getting discounts who do not qualify. Others believe that it is a non-issue or of such little impact that it would be foolish to no post them on the site (thus reducing the number of partial refunds for tickets purchased).

Could you tell me:

  1. do you allow for discounts such as these online
  2. If you do, have you had any negative experiences doing so?

thanks for your help!


#2

We allow discounts to be chosen online, and haven’t really found it to be abused. Most people are honest. The default is Adult, as well, so we get a few “I couldn’t find where to choose Senior” complaints.

I would monitor your sales for a while, and maybe see if your average number of discounted tickets suddenly increases. However, I don’t think you’ll see much abuse.


#3

Proctors doesn’t typically list them online without a coupon code, though we put our student discount online at theREP. We’ve not noticed any major abuse there - and it’s a significant discount - so we’ve decided to make it easily accessible. I’m sure it does sometimes get into the wrong hands, but not often enough to cause us financial concern. Like with Mary, we have more immediate struggles with patrons not paying attention to their dropdown options (so Danny made the page show a wider multi-line static box.) . As for Proctors, our only standard “public” discounts like that are for groups (which we had a plugin built for) and seniors/students on movies. Because we’ve gotten into trouble in the past with the distributors on too many discounts, we keep these discounts on ID lock-down at the Box Office, but there’s not a lot of blowback here since most movie sales are day of anyway.


#4

I would add there is a great option when creating coupon codes for online redemption with Maximim or Caps allowed for each coupon code. Rosebud was worried with using online codes so we capped each allotment at the start as a safeguard. For example, we had a mailer with a 20% off if booked by X date. The added incentive was it was only available for the first 500 buyers. It worked great.

Another example was my old AD at Pacific Theatre wanted to offer a 100% off free ticket to his industry contacts and higher end donors. We created a coupon code that discounted the price to zero dollars but we capped it at 25 per show and each code was show specific. The AD liked it. Box office got all the patron info and we could track each redemption to a real person.

Hope this helps!
Frank