Choose an audience you want to be “accessible” to, and make them an offer they can’t refuse if they buy their tickets early. This helps get your houses looking full early in the game.
“But,” you say, “If I sell a bunch of tickets at a deep discount early on, aren’t I leaving money on the table? Wouldn’t some of those people have paid more?”
Possibly, yes. But...you’ve just rewarded the people who are willing to commit early- before reviews, before rumors of sellouts, and most DEFINITELY before closing weekend. This is a pretty self-selecting bunch of deal hunters. So don’t worry about that.
How you’ll make your money is on the next round of patrons. The ones who call once a show starts to get good buzz or get full...And that perpetually sold out closing weekend full of people who waited till the last minute? That becomes your most profitable weekend. The people who complain? They get told that the earlier they buy the cheaper their tickets would be. The next show, some of them won’t wait.