Industry Interview: How the Broadway League Is Helping International Tourists Plan Ahead for Broadway
As the weather warms up, the streets of New York City's theatre district begin to fill with tourists, who trek from the far corners of the world for a chance to see a Broadway show. But do they always get to see the show they came for?
Just last month, the Broadway League launched an initiative to find out. The new campaign was created with the hopes of being more effective in making Broadway part of the planning process before tourists leave home. Now more than ever, digital platforms provide the opportunity to connect with consumers who are searching for New York flights, hotels and making other arrangements in advance.
To test that theory, the League just began a new campaign (currently running in Australia, Canada, and Germany), that focuses on the advantages of buying tickets in advance, including a broader selection of shows and better choices for seats. Below, Broadway League President, Charlotte St. Martin tells us more about the initiative.
Obviously here at BroadwayWorld we love anything global - where did this initiative come from?
The International Committee. Their goal was multi-fold; firstly, to enhance the back and forth of shows, taking more shows around the world and vice versa - to work around the world to create a better environment for them to bring shows in. That was the primary goal of the committee. And then, we started looking at marketing to international members and learning more about international theatergoers. As you know, 15 - 20 percent, depending on the year, come from outside the United States. It was felt that most of the international theatergoers that come to the city wait until they get to the city to buy their tickets. They may not get the best seats. They may not get the shows they want. It's our goal to get them to be aware of how to buy tickets and how to buy their tickets before they get here.
So, we created this pilot program to market to Australia, Germany, and Toronto, specifically, with two English speaking and one foreign language speaking countries to start. It's a 90-day pilot, and we're doing social media, digital advertising, as well as PR, and press for where there is interest.
What sort of content is there going to be in Germany?
We developed the ad in German with similar messaging and themes. In Germany, in particular, we're working with an agent there to help us. Because it's not our first or second language, we want to make sure we're going about it the right way.
Does it provide information on specific shows and offerings?
The ad is really driving them to broadway.org, which has information in German on our website, and they can get information on all the shows.
How are you evaluating its success? Based on the number of people it reaches? Interactions? Ticket sales?
We're evaluating a number of metrics that Situation Interactive is monitoring for us. We recently had an International Committee meeting, and after two and a half weeks, we already had seen a 400 percent increase from Germany, where German people had asked for information and clicked into our site versus today.
How was Germany selected as the first foreign language version?
I think we see it as a market that's strong and increasing in size. As you know, we have markets like Brazil that are hot, and then the economy goes down and they're not so hot anymore. It was a pretty stable market, plus they've done a fair amount of Broadway shows there. Obviously, the goal here is to learn to see if we can capture their attention before they leave, and if we can, we share that with the shows, so that they can do their own marketing.
If the pilot program does go well, what are the hopes as far as expanding it?
I would be surprised if the League did more. I got the budget for this based on research for our members and we will share results, obviously, with the marketing folks as well as our members. Ideally, they will decide that their show may have interest to the German market or to any other market and may do their own marketing.
If it goes well, we might see China, Japan, Brazil, other countries in the future?
Yes, absolutely. If it is successful, I think that's a very good possibility.
The Broadway League, founded in 1930, is the national trade association for the Broadway industry. The League's 700-plus members include theatre owners and operators, producers, presenters, and general managers who present in nearly 200 markets in North America. Each year, League members bring Broadway to nearly 30 million people in New York and on tour across the U.S. and Canada. The Broadway League has recently added a new category for International membership to collaborate with professionals from around the world who produce and present Broadway quality theatre. The Broadway League annually co-presents the Antoinette Perry "Tony" Awards®, one of the most coveted awards in the entertainment industry.