First, I have to thank Vegas Bright for tipping me off to this. For those not in the know, VB was started by loyal Vegas Chatter readers and writers after Conde Nast’s decision to shutter VC.
Jeff Civillico, “stunt” guy and comedian now produces and hosts “Comedy in Action” five days a week at the old, pink bird. Reputably, he’s a nice, charitable guy. His Sunday performances, dubbed “Give Back” Sundays, features different charities with 50% of ticket sales going to a local nonprofit. That’s nice. Now, he’s further shaking up his weekend shows by offering locals the chance to pay what they “want”. Starting September 26th, locals can show their Nevada ID at the Flamingo box office and simply pay what they want for the 5:30 show! The only catch is that you must pay at least $10 to “cover taxes and fees”. And there is the rub.
This isn’t a true PWYW model which, by the way, can be a very effective revenue driving strategy. We typically see this model most with digital goods. However, there are several examples of restaurants using it with varied success. To my peers selling e-books or digital downloads, it’s a tactic to consider, especially if the offer is time sensitive. We typically see generosity with this model wane as time goes on. Suggested donations are common when implementing PWYW, but rarely do we see it required. I think he should do without the $10 minimum. Not only is it a tad misleading, but Civillico may actually be leaving money on the table. If required to pay $10, people will pay $10. However, giving no price requires the consumer to value the product before consumption. For most PWYW goods or services, people are usually inclined to overprice- either out of ignorance or altruism.
I think Civillico is smart to experiment with this pricing strategy. It can be a simple way to find the correct price equilibrium, which is a pain to figure out. Saturday afternoon shows aren’t exactly profit drivers for casinos and producers.This is a good way to get people in the door buying other, higher margin delicacies like, oh I don’t know, alcohol. I applaud him for this effort- not because of its charitable notion, but because it’s a savvy business move by a seemingly decent guy.