Strategic Planning for 2024 and Beyond

Fall Entertainment Update: Houston Productions

In the new era post COVID, the concert industry is in a state of flux. Here are some essential insights covering what you need to know for your entertainment strategy in 2024 and beyond.

From the artist side, costs have skyrocketed.

Let’s start with airfares, which we all know have gone up tremendously. Depending on the stature of the artist, doing live shows can vary from weekend runs of shows in different regions around the country, to full blown tours hitting major markets. For the big shows, managers are having challenges finding and securing tour buses and drivers. Additionally, there are less availabilities for road crews, tour managers, production managers etc. Everyone wants more money, and a lot less qualified people are willing to go out on the road.  Add to that the fuel costs. Agents need to be very diligent setting up routing for their artists. Every date is a substantial piece of the financial puzzle. Today, every date counts, and one missed date can jeopardize the run of shows.

From the casino side, you all know how hard it is to run at full capacity.

You are having the same issues finding qualified team members for all of your open positions. Those people looking for work are asking for a lot more money today than in the past to combat increased costs of living and expenses. For those of you in secondary and tertiary markets, finding qualified people is very hard, from housekeeping to management positions.

So now for the reality check: More than ever it’s about your inside planning and goals.

Are you really identifying your customer and what they are drawn to? There is a whole new generation of young people coming up that are out looking for places to go and things to do. The same old, same old will not and does not work anymore. Who is your new customer? Several years ago, no casino would touch the Hip Hop and Rap genre of music. Now, those artists are selling out faster than any other genre. Hispanic artists are drawing big crowds and selling a lot of tickets, especially in the Southwest regions. Facebook is generally considered for older people now, so how are you hitting social media? Are you being too picky about the day of the week? Time to expand those date options. Many properties are successfully doing shows on Thursdays and Sundays.

Planning tours and dates now for artists, are now deep into 2024 and even for some, dates are being held in 2025. Your advantage as a casino is the amenities you can offer an artist. Promoter dates cannot offer the comforts your casino can offer. Have you analyzed your show costs? Have you evaluated your ticket scaling? You have the advantage of keeping your ticket pricing a little lower because of all your incremental revenue streams. You may lose a little money on tickets, but you can make that up on the floor and your other sources.

Your departments all need to be communicating and focusing on the big picture for your property. The best deal is going to be getting the right artist. The pricing is secondary. Quality verse quantity is the name of the game. No longer can you lowball an artist and hope to score a deal or a date. There is way too much competition out there for those artists.

You may have noticed that pricing today makes no sense.

That pricing reflects all those costs I brought up initially. You should be noticing that your P1 ticket scaling has the ability to be much higher than before. Especially when you bring in the right Artist. Dynamic pricing based on the demand can also be helpful. So, if you are getting a great response for your P1 tickets, add more from your P2 section. Review your ticketing contract. We all are aware of the Ticket Master additional charges. Is your ticketing company actually bringing you value and the right kind of service you need?

Explore new artists. Be aggressive selectively. Packaging two acts together can give you a more attractive event. Really study what is working around the country and with other properties. Network and get outside your box. Be creative!

Kell Houston, Raving’s Entertainment Partner since 2001, is a proven industry leader in casino entertainment buying and consulting. Want an in-depth conversation about your entertainment program from an expert in casino gaming? Contact Kristine Woods at kristine@betravingknows.com or call 775-329-7864 to schedule a call today.

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