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The Importance of Block Booking
March 11, 2020

What is block booking you ask? It’s a strategy to maximize the student experience by doing more with less. When booking talent for your institution “The Block Booking Technique” will SAVE YOU MONEY! Ultimately you’ll get a better price if you submit more than one offer so why not team up with a few schools in your region and create a cool shared experience. 

To help you wrap your head around the concept, think of block booking like buying in bulk. It’s the act of purchasing large quantities of a particular product to receive a discount, and who doesn’t like a good deal? Some examples of places that do it best are Costco and Bulk Barn (10% student discount on Wednesday’s….you’re welcome). Another prime example is block hotel bookings. You would take advantage of this deal for weddings or sporting tournament, being that if you reserve a certain amount of rooms you get a reduced rate per room. 

You might ask yourself, what’s in it for the entertainer? Even though each offer will be lower than their initial asking price, overall they will receive more money with the combined offers. You’ll essentially be creating a tour for them. Travel expenses will be less because all the shows will be within the same timeframe so they don’t have to make multiple trips. Another big win is more exposure. Students will help generate buzz by sharing experiences hopefully in a positive light should they have a good time and like the show. 

What do WE gain from block booking? Other than the obvious cost savings, this is your chance to build relationships with other schools. It is so important to build a network of individuals who can be your support system. After all, no one knows what it’s like to be programmer besides other programmers. This is a tough job! Long days, immense stress, short timelines and dealing with difficult people (we’ve all been there). If anything its just great network of people to bounce ideas of off. The reason we are all in our roles is to enhance student experience and we have come to notice that there’s nothing more important to students theses days than 1. A photo/video opportunity 2. To build clout 3.  Bragging rights. So let’s give the people what they want! If we pool our resources we can bring in some big names that will get students excited. I’ve come to realize that when bring in high profile talent comes positive hype for your institution. Helping to facilitate memories that last a lifetime should be our main priority so keep that in mind when you’re planning your next event. 

Now that you’re aware of all the benefits it’s time to take action. Here’s a simple step by step procedure: 
1.   Confirm with your team who you’d like to bring in and figure out who represents them 
2.   Find out the individual booking price and ask for the block booking price 
4.   Obtain a rider *always get this before booking to know what you’re getting yourself into
5.   Reach out to other schools 
6.   Figure out potential run dates 
7.   Submit offers (with the same expiry)   
8.   Cross your fingers and wait for approval  

To take a few steps back. When you’re reaching out to other schools there are certain pieces of information you should be including in your communications. Evidently who you are looking to book and why you’d like to bring them in. Let us know which agency they belong to if any, and if you are planning to go through a third party agency as this might come with an additional charge on to of your artist fee. Indicate the stand alone show booking price and the price reduction depending on how many schools buy in. Make sure to express your desired dates and always include a call to action. A simple “please reply yes or no depending on your interest” will suffice. Ever heard the term “treat others the way you’d want to be treated.”? If you were to send out an email to someone logically you would expect a reply back, so if someone reaches out to you give them the respect to reply back even if you’re not interested. It let’s that person know you have received the email and they will no longer bug you with follow up emails regarding this topic in the future.  

To quote the wise words of Highschool Musical, “we’re all in this together”. This is about a shared experience where we all benefit. Keep in mind that if you are the lead on this project equal work load may not be possible as you might spend more of your time coordinating everything. Don’t feel guilty if you’re sitting on the sidelines, just be patient and let the leader lead. Remember we are all contributing in our own capacity to make this a reality. We all have our strengths and when the times comes offer help in the ways you can. It might be with a great offer sheet you share with the group, maybe its great video editing skills once all is confirmed and it’s on to promotion. You might even have a cool marketing campaign you’d like to share with the team. We are a team who carries each other and the success is shared. 

Teamwork makes the dream work. That’s all folks! 

Written by:

Kelsey Richard 
Programming & Promotions Manager - WLUSU
National Conference Chair – Student Life Summit: Powered by COCA