Event Promotion in Chicago. Add Patrons to Shows and Activities with Seat Fillers and Other Complimentary Advertising Services
Are you a box office manager, event promoter, director, or organizer promoting shows, events, and other activities in the Chicago area? Then, you’re aware that there can be the occasional challenges.
Event Promotion in Chicago
You know how it can go in the world of shows, events, and activities. You’re selling tickets to a top-notch show or event. It could be some type of theatre event, a play or musical. Perhaps it’s a stand-up comedy act, sports match, symphony, opera, dance, concert, or other musical performance. Or, maybe you have a class, conference, expo, or other ticketed event or experience.
Regardless of how amazing the offering is, you may not always sell to capacity. Or, maybe your goal is to introduce your venue or offering to some new patrons or fill a preview performance.
Whatever the reason is for wanting new audience members or attendees, the Chicago members of the Seat Filler Free Ticket Club are standing by to assist.
OTL, aka On the List, are smaller seat filler or free ticket memberships in 15 US cities and in London. Local members are combined into one club that’s hosted in a private area of OTLCityGuides.com.
Chicago Event Promoter Resources
Could you use a helping hand when it’s time to promote your local Chicago shows or activities?
It’s always handy to have multiple advertising and promotional sources to go to whenever you have a new show, event, or activity to promote. So, be sure to bookmark this page, as the following are links that you may find helpful.
"Love working with OTL Seat Fillers! It's a great way to get new patrons that may not have seen your shows before."
From the Director of one of Austin’s top-rated theaters
The Chicago Area Seat Filler and Free Ticket Club
OTL Chicago launched in 2014 and has been introducing members to hidden entertainment gems throughout the area. With so many of these opportunities, box office managers, producers, and other event promoters appreciate a little helping hand from time to time. After all, what’s better than a free, private, and easy service that helps with event promotion in Chicago for local shows, events, and activities?
It’s Not Like the Academy Awards
Set aside the preconceived notions of Award Show seat filling, such as at the Grammys or the Academy Awards.
That’s because OTL Chicago is quite different.
When you have some available tickets, and you’d like to see them used, you have a free service standing by, even for last-minute assistance.
But, unlike award show seat fillers that get moved around during the ceremony, On the List Chicago members and their guests are treated like every other paying patron. They do receive comps, but they then sit with their companion(s) in seats that you designate.
OTL takes the reservation list and sends it to you for your Will Call purposes. From there, your box office takes the ball and runs, issuing the tickets right before the show and seating members in spots that help you out the most.
Add to Your Audience
When you decide you could benefit from a few more audience members, students, or attendees, send the basics to OTL Chicago. You can fill out the form on the partner site, as it’s handy for OTL to have complete information for the first go-round. However, after the first show, a quick email with the show dates and ticket counts for each will suffice.
You’ll become a partner of On the List and can just shoot Joe an email or call when you need something. It’s a free service and an easy process. There’s nothing too formal or serious going on, as it’s a fun club and we’re in it together, to promote area arts and entertainment.
OTL’s little family and friend team that oversees the 16 free ticket clubs is on board because of the win-win aspect. You get a few extra seats filled, and members are entertained and introduced to amazing shows right in their hometown.
OTL Seat Filling for Unique Event Promotion in Chicago
Whether you need four or 40 seats filled, club members love to see and take advantage of new opportunities.
Even a few extra people in attendance adds to the overall atmosphere, increases concession and merchandise sales, parking revenue, and word of mouth recommendations.
Empty Seats Filled
So, to get a few seats filled, go to the event submission form for Chicago and send in the event details, Joe will get right back to you to confirm.If, instead, you have a non-ticketed opportunity, like a class, tasting, etc., you can use the experiential submission form.
You privately send the number of comp tickets you’d like to offer, along with your Will Call list deadline to the OTL club. Joe or another team member will put together a members-only posting with the event description, photos, attire, and other details. An email with all of the information is also sent to the entire membership.
Interested members make reservations in the member area. From there, OTL emails you the complete reservation list, and you distribute the complimentary allotment of tickets at your Box Office just before the show.
1. Submit event details
2. OTL posts the show and details for members
3. Members make reservations
4. The reservation list is sent to you on the day of the event
5. Members show up, present their ID, and you distribute the comp tickets
Privately Paper the House Without Paper
Traditionally, to “paper the house” meant that the area would be flooded with freebies. For example, a minor league baseball team may have a fast-food chain sponsor a game. Every restaurant location would have hundreds of free tickets to distribute to customers. To fill 10,000 seats, it could take 500,000 or more tickets in distribution.
OTL isn’t working with 10,000 seats, as it’s more like ten to 100. But with the OTL model of targeted papering, you’re privately offering comp tickets to members, and then a specific Will Call list is sent to your Box Office. As a condition of membership, anyone who makes a reservation must attend the event. So, there’s an average of a 90% attendance rate, barring any last-minute emergencies or one-off changes.
Privacy to Shows Policy
No one knows that you’re offering any free tickets, as OTL partners are never publicly promoted. That means that you won’t find the names of any theaters, events, or activities listed on any of OTL’s free ticket websites.
There’s a strict “privacy to shows” policy, as YOUR primary concern is selling tickets. If the public knew that a few comps were available, it could impact your bottom line, and that’s not the goal of OTL. We’re in this together!
Marketing Resources for Events and Activities Large and Small
OTL Chicago isn’t just for the big-ticket shows, although members love having the opportunity to attend those as well.
The community seat filling concept started in Las Vegas. But OTL’s free ticket clubs don’t resemble the Las Vegas experience. Most cities, even top-ten locations won’t have the never-ending, 52-week a year, repeat events that you’ll find almost around the clock in Sin City.
Instead, OTL posts one-off shows, large and small. Members have been introduced to small, intimate venues that hold less than 50. OTL has also been privileged to offer concert and broadway tour events, as well as unusual sporting events and classes. They have attended conferences and expos, book signings, and private preview performances. OTL has even sent members to be movie and TV extras.
As long as it’s a ticketed event or an experience that’s not open to the general public, Chicago members are excited to participate.
Event Promotion for Chicago Shows and Activities
Filling in a few seats with OTL Chicago members a way to add to your audience. But it’s also a great way to promote your local shows through a private ad to them and their subsequent word of mouth.
Although members can’t talk about the “free” aspect, they can post or share information about the awesome show that they saw last night.
Additionally, OTL has other free resources for event promoters.
Free Local Advertising in the City Guide for Locals in Chicago
OTL Free Ticket Clubs also power the OTL City Guides for Locals, which are independent of the seat filler sites.
The City Guides include all kinds of resources that all of us can use on a daily basis. Discounts, dining tips, and general lifestyle information are front and center.
Additionally, there are events calendars, including Chicago’s, powered by Evvnt that you can use to post your shows for public consumption.
We also encourage area venues, classes, and organizations to add their information to the local directories. As the City Guides are meant to be bookmarked and used regularly, it’s helpful to have your news posted throughout.