Free tickets every month to concerts, sporting events and theater: sound too good to be true?
In this case, the marketing hype lives up to its promise.
With an annual membership fee, The Guest Edge
provides its members the opportunity for free tickets to a wide variety of events.
Ryan Gauthier, founder, says the inspiration for the business came while he was a student at Grand Valley State University. He and his roommates would go to sporting events and see empty seats. "That's stupid," he thought. "There must be a way to fill those seats." Gauthier then launched The Guest Edge in Las Vegas in 2006 and brought the business concept back to Grand Rapids in 2013.
The business model is fairly simple: Many sporting events, concerts and shows have unsold tickets, but a full house is always better--better for concession sales and better for the event sponsors.
Working with the ticketing and marketing staff at different venues, Gauthier secures a percentage of the unsold tickets, and then makes them available, for free, to The Guest Edge members via a text message.
Gauthier says the tickets are generally released anywhere from 24 hours to one week in advance of the scheduled event. Once the text message is sent out, members can respond and can secure up to two tickets for that event. In Michigan alone, Gauthier says he works with several venues, including the Detroit Tigers, GVSU, The Intersection, Dr. Grins, Central Michigan and the Detroit Pistons.
The Guest Edge employs three full-time marketing and sales staff plus works with four contractors from their offices on 15 Ionia in Grand Rapids. Besides providing tickets, Gauthier's service also includes optional bus trips to events.
Gauthier acknowledges that he is not able to secure tickets to every event ("We won't get tickets to the game five of the ALCS") but is confident his service remains the best deal in the city. "Once you sign up, you will never need to buy another ticket."
Membership is currently set at $200 but Gauthier says he frequently has promotional campaigns and advises anyone to email his team with questions about signing up.
To learn more The Guest Edge, you can visit their site here
or their Facebook page here.
Writer: John Rumery, Innovation and Jobs News Editor