Summertime is notoriously slow for dance studio owners, but bills don't take a holiday. For Jennifer Ness, director of Dance Elite Studio in Seattle, a premium recital package sold at the end of the school year provides a revenue boost to compensate for the leaner summer months ahead.
How it works
Recognizing parents felt nickeled and dimed by recital fees and end-of-studio-year costs, Ness decided to package items to offer a better rate, and she sweetened the deal by throwing in free performance tickets. For an all-inclusive $200 fee, families receive four tickets, a DVD of the show, a recital T-shirt and a one-line good-luck message in the program. Ness makes a $30–$40 profit on each package, which covers teacher costs for the summer. To stir up interest, she invites students to come up with the recital's theme; the winner has their picture taken. That photo becomes the featured image on the program and a silhouetted illustration for the T-shirt.
To pay for summer expenses the recital packages don't cover, Ness offers a sampler camp. Held three times during the summer, the two-week camp teaches students a different style of dance every day (ballet, jazz, tap and so on). The camp's variety "captures the little ones' attention and loyalty," says Ness. Attendees get to try new genres in a less intimidating environment, and come fall, many add a new class to their dance schedule. To find her price point, she did a market analysis of other studios and set her fee accordingly. "I know how much parents can pay and how many kids I need in a class to make it work," she says.