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Passionately smashing every expectation

Denise Smithson Green describes how Des Moines Performing Arts achieved a record on-sale for Hamilton 

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Denise Smithson Green

Denise Smithson GreenDirector of Ticketing, Des Moines Performing Arts

TitlePassionately smashing every expectation

Published9/4/2018

Read/View Time3 min


We went live with Tessitura in August of 2016, and November of 2017 was our public on-sale for Hamilton,” 

says Denise Smithson Green, Director of Ticketing for Des Moines Performing Arts. To plan for the on-sale, “We had conference calls starting about six months out to prepare, making sure we were crossing our Ts, dotting our Is, knew what we needed to know.” 

“The support we got from the Network was absolutely amazing…. We had no crashes, everything worked, we sold in record time. It was a record for us to sell that many tickets on our own, that fast, and at that dollar amount. We could not have been more pleased.”

“It was a record for us to sell that many tickets on our own, that fast, and at that dollar amount. We could not have been more pleased.”

“We went live with Tessitura after being on Ticketmaster,” explained Smithson Green. With the move, “There was a lot of freedom in being able to do all of the things that we needed to do to make sure we were successful.”

DMPA opted to work with Queue-it, a Tessitura ecosystem partner, to manage the online waiting room. “A lot of the Tessitura employees were on a conference call with us for an entire six to eight hours. They were seeing things in our system before we would see them,” Denise says. With Queue-It, she explains, staff were able to manage the number of people allowed on the website at one time to optimize performance.

Opening night of Hamilton at Des Moines Performing Arts

To fight scalpers, “We were able to scrub our lists by using the reporting that we had at our fingertips,” Smith Green says, to find buyers who had broken the ticket limit or had other red flags. They also made the decision to issue only hard tickets. “We said we’re not going to do print-at home, we’re not going to do mobile ticketing. You have to have a hard ticket. And there was a lot of freedom in that,” she says. “We put some stops in place.” 

With Tessitura, organizations have complete control over any fees charged to customers, and they keep 100% of fee revenue. “We were able to set our own fees as we needed them to be, rather than being in contract and someone else dictating that for us,” said Denise. Furthermore, “Because we’re able to keep all of our fees in-house now, it’s allowed us to increase our revenue.”

“Because we’re able to keep all of our fees in-house now, it’s allowed us to increase our revenue.”

Smithson Green also appreciates the ease and accessibility of reporting: “We can pull different types of reporting that give us the data we need right at our fingertips, rather than having to wait for someone to get that information to us, or maybe even not ever have access to it.” As a result, “being able to do reporting really allows us to make some more database-driven decisions, which we weren’t able to do before.”

One of those data-driven decisions that Tessitura facilitates is dynamic pricing, which helps an organization maximize revenue. “We were really limited prior to as to how many times we could dynamically price our tickets,” Smithson Green said. But once they were on Tessitura, “with a show like Hamilton we were changing [prices] sometimes twice a day. And it was quick, it was easy, it was seamless.”

Opening night of Hamilton at Des Moines Performing Arts

“We haven’t found a stopping point yet” for dynamic pricing, she enthuses. “The ease of changing price zones and price types really does allow us to maximize our revenue.” That’s one of the reasons that she reports: “We’re having a fantastic year. Financially, we are exceeding our goals, and we’re looking to have another record year next year.” 

For other organizations facing a large on-sale like Hamilton, Smithson Green advises: “Start talking with Tessitura early, and have a game plan. Just reach out soon and start having those conversations to make sure that you are taking care of all of the things that need to be done to have that successful on-sale.”

Tessitura “is a fantastic tool, and it has really helped us grow our revenue and our business.”

She continues: “The Network is fantastic at supporting people in their decisions to come into the Network, and then once you get here, the support is like none other.” After a year and a half on Tessitura, Smithson Green says simply: “We love it. It’s a fantastic tool, and it has really helped us grow our revenue and our business.” 

 

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