The Queensland Performing Arts Centre is preparing to trial an an Uber and airline-style dynamic pricing structure for its ticketing arm QTIX, Queensland Economy Watch reports.
The scheme was unveiled in QPAC’s annual report for the 2018–2019 financial year, in the section titled “Our Sustainability and Growth”. Under the scheme, ticket prices will vary from one day to the next, depending on demand.
“A review of the QTIX pricing model has resulted in changes such as a fee for development work specific to individual clients’ needs and an introduction of a QTIX transaction fee negotiated as contracts are renewed,” the report says on page 18. “A system to apply dynamic pricing to improve yield for specific events is currently being developed and will be trialled in coming months in consultation with producers.”
On page 66 of the report, QPAC describes dynamic pricing as the “practice of varying the price for a product or service to reflect changing market conditions, in particular in times of greater demand”.
Dynamic pricing might make you think of an Uber surge late on a Saturday night, but the practice is at the core of revenue management, a discipline pioneered by US airline carriers and hotels in the 1980s. Revenue management is why the price for a hotel room or a plane ticket on a specific date can change, depending on when you make your enquiry (in some cases, from one minute to the next).
Implementing dynamic pricing at QPAC might raise prices on certain in-demand shows, but it also has the potential to allow theatregoers to buy discounted tickets to productions that are undersold or are still trying to garner an audience.
Dynamic pricing has slowly crept into Australia in recent years for sports events and movies. It was once a fractious topic in the wider live music industry, with many artists and promoters concerned about alienating the average punter with ticket prices that would be perceived as being too high. But the practice has gained traction in recent years in an effort to combat the dreaded secondary ticket market that now operates at scale on websites such as StubHub. Taylor Swift, U2, Pink, The Eagles and Shania Twain have all offered dynamic ticket pricing for their concerts.
Broadsheet approached QPAC for comment on this story, but a representative was unavailable before the deadline.