Arielle Tepper Madover’s ‘What Should We Do’ will answer just that – and take care of all the details.
Need “Hamilton” tix, a Le Coucou res – or tips on what to do besides the same Netflix and Seamless combo you’ve phoned in for the past three date nights?
Anyone visiting or living in New York City can have a concierge in the palm of their hand for just $20 a month – and only $5 once the app goes live.
“What Should We Do,” which launched as a website earlier this year and plans to roll out an app in October, does all the work of planning the perfect day or night out for you. The WSWD service taps industry insiders to curate the coolest things happening around town, and has agents ready to book your tickets, make reservations and suggest where to pregame or after-party after the main event. WSWD only operates in New York for now, but plans to expand to other cities.
“It gets overwhelming making plans, and so you often end up waiting until the last minute and just going to the same restaurant you always go to,” said founder Arielle Tepper Madover, a Tony Award-winning producer and Public Theater board chair who’s produced shows including “Dear Evan Hansen,” “Equus” and “The Elephant Man.”
“So we are going to give you a great experience at any budget you want,” she told Moneyish. “We’re gonna give you two or three options of where to go – amazing destinations, pictures, price range, everything you need to know – instead of Google or Yelp, where there’s a zillion options and reviews, and how will you ever decide?”
Research shows that we get paralyzed by too many choices, whether it’s what to wear, what to watch on Netflix, what to order or Seamless – or where to go out on Friday night. So we default to the easiest, most familiar option instead of trying something exciting.
Friends were always asking Madover for theater recommendations; what show to see on a date versus a girl’s night out, and where to eat in Times Square beforehand, or grab a cocktail afterward. And Madover realized that while she had the inside scoop on Great White Way, she was in the dark when it came to finding concert tickets or knowing where to gallery hop.
“It can be really intimidating, especially in New York, where there are so many things to do and there are so many things that everyone wants to do,” said Madover. “How do I know what gallery to go to? Which restaurants have chefs that are going to deal with my food allergies?”
So she’s hired a team of tastemakers, including former Time Out New York theater critic David Cote, a Lincoln Center Atrium curate, a music PR rep, a hipster in the immersive theater scene, fitness experts, foodies and fashionistas, to craft and update a database of the concerts, plays, exhibits, festivals and hidden gems across the five boroughs.
“The way big credit card concierges or other big expensive concierges work, is you go to them and say, I want to see ‘Hamilton’ tonight, or get front row tickets to so-and-so’s fashion show, and they send same things everyone else is doing, as well as where to eat in just a five-block radius of your hotel,” said Madover. “We have expert tastemakers in every field, who are still working in the field, who are giving current, amazing recommendations of what’s going on. What about going to a speakeasy that just opened, and having cocktails and listening to jazz? Or taking a pottery class where you learn to use the wheel (like Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze in “Ghost”), or a late night event at the Whitney Museum?”
Subscribers pay $4.99 a month to access the database and plan their own adventures, or $20 a month for unlimited use of both the planners and the database. Or you can try the concierge service for a one-off $25 fee.
Considering concierge services often start at $50 an hour, and run in the hundreds for monthly access, dropping $20 for a month of event planning frees up a lot of dough for those theater tickets – because that’s still gotta come out of your pocket.
“If you want to see ‘Hamilton’ for $5,000 tonight, great,” said Madover, noting they can sometimes work miracles like that if you’re willing to pay for them.
And so far, early subscribers are mostly interested in theater (“Hamilton,” “Dear Evan Hansen” and “Come From Away” are the hottest tickets) and dinner, averaging $500 for a party of two. They store their credit card information with the app so that planners can order tickets and make reservations on the client’s behalf, and they’ll text to make sure the customer approves the purchase before clicking the pay button.
The service is more about saving time than money, although they will look for discount codes. And there’s itineraries for all budgets. At the beginning of the summer, Madover took her three kids on a free walking tour of Borough Park, stopped for $2 slices of pizza and visited the Living Torah Museum for $10 a head, where kids can actually touch the artifacts.
“My son had a sword fight with the guy who worked there – and with a sword from a gazillion years ago that they found in the bottom of the sea off of Israel,” she said. “There is so much more you can do than you ever imagined. You can get into the subway or an uber, and you’re in this totally new world that you’ve never been in before. And we’ll handle the details.”
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