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Washington National Cathedral Admissions Memo

Washington National Cathedral Admissions Memo

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Published by geoconger
Admissions fee memo
Admissions fee memo

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Published by: geoconger on Nov 25, 2013
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10/13/2014

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FIXED PRICE ADMISSION FOR VISITORS |
DECISION MEMO
 | NOVEMBER 15, 2013 1
To: Chapter From: Rob Sokol, Dir of Strategic Programs Date: November 15, 2013 Recommendation: Transition to fixed admission for visitors
FIXED PRICE ADMISSION FOR VISITORS
SUMMARY OF RATIONALE
The Cathedral’s visitor traffic has been trending down slightly (-1%) over this calendar year, compared to 2012. The average donation at the Welcome Desk is also trending down, although more significantly (-24% in Q1 FY14, from $4.15/per to $3.15/per). In addition, the Cathedral is actively looking for new revenue opportunities to address the possibility of a near-term operating deficit. A small task force was assembled in September 2013 to identify all possible revenue-generating strategies for FY14-15. A fixed admission policy could add significantly to the bottom line for FY14. Cathedral leadership is recommending that the Cathedral pilot a fixed admission policy for six months at the single point of entry for visitors, beginning January of 2014. Buses already pay a fixed price of $6/person or $175/bus and the Cathedral already makes a concerted ask of every visitor for $10 at the door. We recommend that fixed prices are instituted at the rates of:
 $10 for adults
 $6 for children (<12), seniors (>65), military, students – children under two years old get in free
 $25 family discount, which includes one-year NCA membership
 10% coupon for gift shop (onsite or online) with NCA membership
 Free most Sundays, all day
 Free – Worshippers (and those seeking pastoral care), NCA Members plus one guest (to eventually include all active donors and the Congregation) The American Alliance of Museums (AAM) has completed extensive studies on transitions into fixed admission policies for cultural institutions around the country. The outcome is generally positive, and results in additional revenue at the door, as well as additional revenue in the gift shops and increased memberships. The issue of accessibility for those who cannot afford the price of admission will need to be addressed. The Cathedral’s recommendation is that a time or day, repeated regularly by month or week, be instituted to allow access for free. We are recommending that the Cathedral be completely free and open to the public all day most Sundays. Although there is certainly an opportunity cost for this practice, we believe that it could help balance out with goodwill the challenges we may face from those constituencies who are upset with this new policy. By the end of the 2014 high season (June), the Cathedral will be able to assess whether or not this is a policy worth continuing. If the positive outcomes do not outweigh any consequences from implementing the fixed admission policy, the Cathedral can return to the current suggested donation policy on July 1, 2014.
PROS
 Additional $150,000 in FY14, $300,000 in FY15 (assumes 10% decrease in traffic) this could increase the average ticket price from less than $4 to approximately $7/guest
 More efficient, positive transaction at Welcome Desk current transaction almost always requires negotiation for some amount of donation once visitors realize that it is not, in fact, a fixed admission. This negotiation is especially unappreciated by neighbors, Congregation members, and NCA members. It also takes time to negotiate, which slows down the rate of transactions at the desk and increases the likelihood that guests will become impatient while waiting in line and try to circumnavigate the process.
 Increased NCA membership – AAM studies have shown that with the offer of a discount at the door, membership goes up.

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