Why venues should treat students like gold!

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Article By: Sierra Kane

As a senior majoring in Communications with an emphasis in Advertising at California State University Fullerton I have learned that one of the wisest tactics a company can employ is to create brand loyalty among consumers.

For those who may not be familiar with this term, brand loyalty, happens when a consumer choses a brand based on  personal preference towards the brand verses heuristics. Disney is great at this, which is why Disneyland can charge about $400 more for an annual pass then Knott’s Berry Farm or Universal Studios.

“According to Drolet and Patrick Suppes, emeritus professor of philosophy at Stanford University, there’s evidence that habits play a more active role in decision-making than “rational choice theory,” a very influential idea.” http://www.psmag.com/business-economics/brand-loyalty-like-it-now-love-it-later-25542/ This means that if you offer student discounts, are kind and appreciative, and perhaps even offer loyalty programs that provide an incentive for them to come back to your venue, eventually they will frequent the venue enough for it to become a habit. The student discounts and the positive treatment of these new customers creates brand loyalty, brand loyalty creates habits, habits create customers for life, which consistently makes your venue money!

I recently was home in Wisconsin and decided I would drive an hour and a half to Chicago to go dancing. I found a venue online, took my moms car, paid over $5 in tolls just to be able to spend one night dancing. When I arrived at The Willowbrook Ballroom I was greeted, or rather was received, by an older European woman. I was aware that they offered a student discount from their website so I went to woman in a friendly voice and said, “Hi, I’m a student visiting family from California. I left my student ID at home but I have my California ID and proof of grades and such on my phone that show that I am a student”. Not only did she not honor this but she was also rude about it. “No student ID, you pay $15”. I left. I decided I didn’t want to give them my business. I ended up driving an extra 30 minutes to a blues venue. They were warm and welcoming and honored me as a student. I had some truly great dances that night! Needless to say I will never be returning to the Willowbrook Ballroom. Considering that if I had a good time I would have potentially returned their to dance at least once a year over the next 30 years, they lost over $450 of future business on me alone and probably much much more when you factor in local dancers they have discouraged who could have attended more regularly. When I return to the Chicago area to visit family again I know where I’ll be taking my business. http://chicagobluetopia.com/

A common question among dancers, lindy, balboa, or blues is, “where do you typically dance?” Dancers tend to have a place of preference, a particular venue that is receiving their business on a regular basis. Having regular customers provides businesses with security and stability—something all small businesses strive for.

Although students may not prove to be the most profitable at the moment, if you treat them with respect and offer them discounts or incentives to choose your venue over another, they will prove to be the best thing to ever happen for your business.

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