Ask Me Anything: Installment Plans
Senior Consultant & Analyst
ASK ME ANYTHING QUESTION
“We’re interested in implementing an installment plan for our subscription packages. Are there any best practices to keep in mind?”
JENNIFER SOWINSKI’S ANSWER
Installment plans can be a great convenience for your patrons as well as a helpful subscription retention tool. While we don’t have “best practices” in place for installment plans, we do have a few things to consider:
- From a technical standpoint, most ticket systems won’t let you print or exchange tickets that haven’t been paid for. Because of that, many organizations require a subscription to be paid in full prior to the beginning of a season. This obviously limits the options for how many installments you can offer and the length of time you can offer them. However, you can get around this by always ensuring each installment pays off at least the next show. In that case, pay special attention to how your system handles fees, as the installments may go towards fees first, before tickets.
- Before implementing installment plans, be sure to take into account the affect this will have on your organization’s cash flow, as well as the potential inconvenience to your staff. To offset some of that, consider using installment fees (e.g. $5 per installment) to incentivize purchasing a subscription in one payment.
- Finally, once you’ve decided how many installments you’ll offer and how often, make sure that the payment amounts and schedule are as clear as possible to your patrons. Will you be automatically charging their card? Can they change their payment dates or amounts? Train your staff to be comfortable walking each patron through all the different rules and questions they may have about the program.
JCA Arts Marketing collaborates with cultural organizations to increase revenue, boost attendance and membership, and grow patron loyalty. We provide consulting and software services to hundreds of cultural institutions across multiple genres, including dance, museums, opera, performing arts centers, symphony, and theatre. We can help you achieve your marketing goals.