I was recently involved in a discussion about key strategies for renewing season ticket holders for a professional sports franchise. The basic question was "What best practices are there on renewing 90%+?"
That was a great question to ask. It was great for 2 reasons; first, why reinvent the wheel if there are methods that have worked in the past? Consider utilizing best practices first before developing your additional solutions. The second reason why it was a great question is because it involves an aggressive goal. To hit 90% plus in renewals is tough but achievable – remember, you’re often going to have 5%-7% of your season ticket holders (STHs) move away annually, so your retainable level is maybe 93-95%. Adding in those that have been hammered by the economy, and your retainable target is even lower.
We’ve worked with several pro sports teams, and most of our work has been in increasing retention and growing business with existing STHs. Much of what an organization with this retention goal needs to do focuses on having ongoing touch points throughout the year, leading up to the annual renewal period. When you think of those touches, however, think strategically – there should a purpose to each, whether that purpose is gathering intelligence, providing something of value, addressing a retention driver, or making an offer. Many of those touches should be pre-planned on day 1 and executed throughout the year.
There’s no silver bullet because each season ticket holder (each client) has their own motivator. The key is finding that motivator through research. Don’t view retention like you do marketing. Retention and renewals are done one at a time at a certain point (usually annually), not en masse. The good news is that you have about 9 months every year prior to the renewal cycle to ask and determine their retention driver. It’s a lot easier to address the retention driver if you’ve identified it.
Don’t spend tons of time coming up with the perfect benefit or gimmick or perk; find out what your clients base the renewal decision on first.
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