Moulin Who?

Tourism is huge in Paris. Between the city’s history, landmarks, unique charm and appeal, “The City of Lights” draws in its fair share of tourists each year. This is both a blessing and a curse for Theatre in Paris, the company who I intern for. It’s a blessing because it means that there’s plenty of potential customers out there; it’s not like Paris is going to stop having tourist anytime soon. However, this lush pool of customers also means there’s plenty of competition to deal with, too.

So, how does Theatre in Paris do it? How is the company trying to make its mark against a sea of other tourist attractions that they must compete with?

Since the tourism industry in Paris is quite broad, I think it be better to narrow my analysis down to just tourism in the entertainment industry in Paris.

As I’ve explained in some of my other posts, Theatre in Paris is a ticket booking service. We collaborate with theaters all over Paris in order to project English subtitles during live French performances. In addition, we provide our own welcome service, pre-show speech, and program for the show, all which are in English.

Despite being a part of the tourism industry, Theatre in Paris tries to market itself as something to do in Paris that isn’t so “touristy.” For example, our website, flyers, etc. use phrases like “discover Paris’ best kept secret”, “do as the Parisians do”, and others as such in order to convey to our audience that we aren’t a “typical” thing to do in Paris.

We’re telling the truth, too. Apparently, we are the only company of our kind in Paris. So, as of right now we don’t have any direct competition. However, there’s plenty of indirect competition, the main one being the infamous “Moulin Rouge” show. I’ll admit it, being a pretty big fan of the movie, even I correlate “seeing a show in Paris” to the “Moulin Rouge”, which is why it’s difficult to attract people to us and not them in the first place. So, yes the Moulin Rouge does provide a challenge for us given its well-known name. But there are two sides to every coin and though the Moulin Rouge may be well-known, it is now also well-known for being pretty pricey and touristy. Nowadays, more and more often, we are finding that people don’t want to do touristy things, they want to travel like locals and do as the locals do. That’s where we come in since our customers see actual French shows that everyday Parisians go to, yet there are subtitles so they can understand them. Our tickets are also a lot cheaper than a show at the Moulin Rouge.

Indeed, the Moulin Rouge gives us a great deal of competition, but catering to tourists who want to be more like locals has a lot of opportunity. With the overwhelming presence of social media, people like being able to say they did something different or were the first person to try something. Our concept and our business is relatively new, so we can provide this “breath of fresh air” to tourists tired of seeing the same things on every “What You Must do in Paris” list.

In summary: move over Moulin Rouge, there’s a new theatre experience in town.