An Unlikely Salute to Collin Raye
Collin Raye is an American country music singer, who made his debut on the country music scene in 1991 with the release of his debut album, which included his first Number One hit in “Love, Me“. This was the first of four consecutive albums released by Raye to achieve platinum certification the United States for sales of one million copies each. He maintained several Top 10 hits throughout the rest of the decade and into 2000. Between 1991 and 2007, Raye charted thirty singles on the U.S. country charts and he also had success on the Adult Contemporary format as a duet partner. Four of Raye’s singles reached Number One on the Billboard country music charts and he has recorded eleven studio albums, a Christmas album, a compilation of lullabies, a Greatest Hits compilation, a live album, and a live CD/DVD package.
I lived in Nashville for more than 15 years and while I was aware of some of his work, I had not seen him perform. Raye was touring the US in the 2009 holiday season and was scheduled to perform at a unique venue in Phoenix, AZ, the Celebrity Theatre. Two weeks before the show, we were contacted by a ticket service announcing this show offering special pricing for mid-section seating. My bride and I have been to a number of excellent shows at this 2,000 seat, theatre in the round and we booked two seats.
When we arrived, we were pleasantly upgraded to prime seating in the first six rows, as the theatre overall was significantly less than fully booked. The performers and theatre management made the decision to upgrade almost everyone to maximize their enjoyment.
What struck me about this was the fact that we had tickets to other shows, where performers in similar situations had either cancelled their performance or verbally complained during much of the show about the poor attendance. Rather than thanking the people who did support them, they chose to deliver a less than stellar performance and left a very poor impression on those attending.
On this same tour, Collin Raye and his band performed at several concert halls and arenas that had significantly larger numbers in attendance. What we noticed that night was a different 4 Ps that can have meaning to our industry.
Many contracts give performers an option to cancel or reschedule a show if a certain number of tickets are not sold. Raye and the Celebrity Theatre management and ownership made the decision to show their professionalism and appreciation for those who had booked by performing, even with low numbers.
This performer has been singing some of the same songs for almost 20 years, yet he and his band shared their passion for the work as if this were their first tour.
When an entertainer takes the time to speak with and interact with the audience, their sense of connection and pride shows.
This was likely the smallest crowd on the four-week tour, but no one in the audience would ever have known. For more than two hours complete with two encore numbers, this band and entertainer gave the audience 100% of their efforts and their showmanship as if they were performing for a crowd of 15,000.
The 4 Ps of Marketing remain an important part of strategies in successful hospitality businesses today.
The 4Ps of Personal Attention, as illustrated by Collin Raye also can provide us in hospitality a lesson in “high touch.”