The main thing that pops out with this state of affairs is the main objective. The symphony is attempting to interpret what has caused a fixed degeneration in attendance. I’m not sure this exact survey on this evening at a free concert is the finest method to discover what the problem is. First off, this is not the symphony’s primary group of spectators; many of these people will not be attending another event, so their statistics shouldn’t be held so highly. Next, this group of attendees will not be answering questions relating to previous concerts and involvements that may have altered over the years.
The survey will be rather vain in defining a campaign or program to help out the rest of the year. We are dealing with two very diverse problems, one being the rescue of the rest of the year, and two, increasing the existing period’s ticket holders. As far as the rest of the season goes, there needs to be some offer that will thank existing season ticket holders for signing up for the next period. This can be accomplished in one of two ways; one can be a sizeable reduction for pre-ordering next terms tickets at this time.
This way a base can be proven for the next season. When it comes to this season, a small group of concerts can be thrown together as a package and offered at a discount to those who participated in the survey. The same offer can also be promoted to the general public as well to help bolster the remaining year’s performances. An idea that may be worth discovering would be to enhance the existing cultural offering with that of an Asian inspiration. Vancouver British Columbia stands home of the largest population of Asian descendants in North America, with the largest Chinatown also. This is a comfortable culture in Vancouver, and has flexible revenue to expend.
The one solid strength of this survey was that it did target the non-subscribers, and a possible new group of customers. If the data is evaluated with this group in mind then a plan to bring in more subscribers could be developed.
The two areas that stood out among the group were the parking situation, and the prices of tickets. As far as the parking goes, there must be a plan to offer a discount on public transportation with every new season ticket holder that signs up before the next season. Also the next season should also have a series of mini packages of select concerts at a smaller rate. This would entice that group who does enjoy the symphony but would have been most likely to have responded to the price issue on the survey.
The major weakness in the survey was not targeting the core group of subscribers that the initial decline in attendance was targeted as a problem. Because the majority of the respondents had not been too a concert in several years, this information will do very little to discover why there has been a loss in season ticket holders year to year. Unfortunately a separate survey must be done at the next regularly scheduled event. This survey must concentrate on the following key areas:
1. Most important reason for attending the concerts.
2. Relative importance of cost of tickets.
3. Relative importance of musical selection.
4. Input on how the experience can be improved.
This information should be used as a catalyst for retaining this year’s core subscribers; a reward for this information should be a discount on early purchase of next season’s tickets. This should be a major goal since an early indication of next year’s subscriber base will give the symphony an idea as to if this promotion and changes are working.
There was a large area where the results could be biased. Since this was a free concert, many of the respondents would be reluctant to list any negative comments, having just been treated to a free event. A true indication of musical selection, prices, VSO policies or management procedures would also be skewed from those who would not want to criticize a free gift. Recommendations:
As far as the rest of the season goes, a mini package of concerts must be immediately marketed to everyone who attended the free concert, with a discount on public transportation where available. This same package must also be marketed to the general public in the form of advertising in the Vancouver Sun, and on local TV and radio stations. Special interest should be paid attention to those TV programs that have a high rate of women viewers.
Within that previous marketing campaign from above, next year’s subscriber base has to be determined as soon as possible. An early discount on all of next year’s packages including any mini groups of concerts should be promoted as soon as possible. This will give the VSO a good indication of what type of a base can be counted on for the next season.
Another marketing campaign in the direction of musical choice and cultural diversity should also be adopted. Several leading Asian directors can be brought in for special events marketed to Vancouver’s large Asian population. These events would not be part of the normal season ticket package, but left open for individual tickets. These options along with a new survey among current subscribers should accomplish both goals.