Organiser profile: International Theater Stockholm
Josh Lenn is the artistic director of the International Theater Stockholm (ITS), which specialises in improvised theatre. They perform improv shows every week, host classes for adults, and do corporate events.
We sat down with Josh to hear more about ITS and how they use Billetto.
What are your events about?
We have shows at this venue every two weeks. And we have shows at other venues as well. Everything is completely improvised. We create everything on the spot, based on audience suggestions. Everything is in English, so we have a very diverse audience from all over the world. That makes it really fun. We’re in Sweden, but it’s a very un-Swedish feeling at our shows and events.
How did you find Billetto?
I was hosting a TEDx event, which I believe uses Billetto now. That’s when I got introduced to Billetto and started using it. The system was so easy and user-friendly. It was nice to finally have control over how you want to present your events.
What solution did you use before you started with Billetto?
Some of the theatres we worked with forced us to use their own ticketing systems. So we’ve used Ticketmaster and other systems. And when you use those it takes quite a while to make changes. People have to get their hands dirty along the way.
What I love with Billetto is that you just do it yourself. If you want to recreate an event, you just tweak a couple of things, click a button, and it’s done! That was very appealing to us. We move around a lot; we’re not always at the same place. But we have a following, and we want to build a bigger following, so it felt like a great tool for us.
Which feature do you find most useful?
One of the most helpful features is the promo code. We have students who get special rates to come and see our shows. Sometimes they go for free; sometimes they pay less. You can easily add a promo code (or more than one promo code), so you know who’s coming from what code. You can also have one-time event codes.
For example, on some other systems, if you would like to have special rates, you must have that each time, and you can’t change a promo code. So it’s a pain. I think promo codes are great to give away and it’s fun. It's also clear that people use them. When you have full control over the promo codes, it’s so much better.
Another thing I love is the payment system: It just shows up, there are no questions asked. It’s pretty easy.
If you were to recommend Billetto to similar organisers, what would you say?
Very easy to use. Billetto is extremely user-friendly. And you can make it your own, and that’s what is super nice. If you want to add a special picture or if you really want to build your identity, this tool makes it really easy. And I love that you can actually create a following on Billetto. I think it’s definitely appealing that people can like you & get alerts. They know when stuff is coming up. And it’s so easy to recreate events.
How do you promote your events?
We do a mixture of promotion for our events. Obviously, social media is big for us: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter (although we're not so big there).
We’ve done different things: We’ve had posters around town, and I think that has helped. We’ve done flyers. We’ve done postcards. We have a calendar that has all of our events for spring. So it’s a multifaceted approach to advertising. But the best possible thing is word of mouth. That’s what we rely on, because we don’t have big budgets. We’re a theatre, after all.
How do you measure the effect of word of mouth?
It’s hard to measure. Here's one thing we do measure: We hand out these “BFF coupons” at the end of our shows. If you want to come back the next time and bring a friend, you get a 2-for-1 deal. We track these, and we have a lot of repeat customers. Since it’s an improv, every show is different, even if it’s technically the same show. So some people come back 6-7 times and bring different friends with them. It’s hard to track audience. Especially when they’re coming from so many different sources. And you don’t want to necessarily ask everyone at the door.
But I still believe in word of mouth. That's what you do when you’re a theatre, unless you’re a well-known, well-established one. You have to have a great product, and people should walk away and say “You need to see this.” So, ultimately, that helps the most.