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What is dynamic pricing and 4 ways to beat it

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In this Friday, May 6, 2016, photo, visitors to the Indianapolis Zoo line up to purchase tickets at the box office in Indianapolis. In this Friday, May 6, 2016, photo, visitors to the Indianapolis Zoo line up to purchase tickets at the box office in Indianapolis.

NEW YORK (AP) — Ticket prices are always changing at some zoos, Broadway shows and sports games.

That's because more business are adopting dynamic pricing -- the quick rise or drop in prices based on demand. At places that use this pricing strategy, it may cost more to go on a Saturday, when everyone else is buying tickets.

It might sound like bad news for consumers, but you can still find deals, if you're aware.

KNOW WHAT YOU'RE DEALING WITH

The first step is to figure out whether or not a venue uses dynamic pricing. Any place that has a set amount of seats or capacity, such as theaters or theme parks, is more likely to use dynamic pricing. Luckily, many will tell you on their website that they use dynamic pricing. So do an Internet search. Baseball team the New York Mets, for example, has a page online answering questions about how its dynamic pricing works.

PLAN AHEAD

Waiting until the last minute to buy tickets means you'll pay more. So plan ahead of time. Most venues will post ticket prices months ahead of time, and they'll rise as the dates get closer. At the Indianapolis Zoo, for example, tickets a month or two from now can be cheaper than ones bought the same week.

SKIP THE HOLIDAYS

Holidays and weekends mean higher prices. Expect higher ticket prices on and around the Fourth of July, Easter, or other holidays. If you must attend that day, try to buy tickets far in advance. In New York, tickets for hit Broadway shows tend to cost the most between Christmas and New Year's Day, when tourists are flocking to the city.

DON'T JUST SHOW UP

When a venue uses dynamic pricing, those that pay online will usually get the best deal. For example, if you show up at Universal Studios Hollywood without a ticket you will likely pay more at the gate. Tickets at the gate cost $115, but online they can cost as little as $90.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press.

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