through Ellen wilkinson, Attractions.io
Write in How to win friends and influence people, in 1936, Dale carnegie stated that “a person’s name is, for that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language”. And never has this feeling been so precise as in today’s digital age.
Carnegie recognized that when people – or businesses – talk to us individually, we naturally become attentive, focused, and, significantly, more likely to engage. In physical spaces, this principle has been used over and over again.
From Coke’s 2013 “Share a Coke” campaign to Quality Street’s “Personalize Your Box” offering, consumer brands have successfully used personalization to engage audiences, increase brand awareness and increase sales. But without a tangible product, how can we apply these principles to the experience the economy?
Successful personalization in the attraction industry pushes the Carnegie principle one step further. It focuses on creating hyper-focused, deeply relevant and emotionally motivated immersive experiences, creating a clear connection between the guest and the experience itself.
By taking a personalized approach, attractions can expect an increase in loyalty, in the form of repeat visits, memberships and referrals, and spend, in retail, food and beverage and upgrades. .
Think like an online business
If personalization is all about bonding emotionally with your customers and connecting on an individual level, then attractions can learn a lot from the world of ecommerce.
Have you ever browsed your favorite online store only to see payment reminders when you are done working? It’s personalization at its best. These retargeted ads demonstrate a clear understanding of your behavior to show you the information most likely to make you convert, revisit, or browse again. The result? Retargeted customers are 43% more likely to convert than those who watch display ads.
By leveraging mobile technology, you can finally connect with customers throughout their journey and enhance their experience through personalized interactions.
For attractions, personalization is relatively easy to implement before and after the visit, and you already have the tools to think like an online business. For example, you can personalize emails, offer season pass discounts to recent visitors or send targeted social media ads to those who haven’t purchased tickets.
The real challenge starts when you want to connect with the guests during the tour itself. Attractions routinely report “lost” patrons once they’re there, and without a way to communicate it becomes nearly impossible to influence customer spending on-site.
This is unless you are using the only device that 94% of us transport 24/7: our smartphones. By taking advantage of mobile technology, you can finally connect with customers throughout their journey and improve their live through personalized interactions.
Use mobile technology to personalize the experiences of the day
Mobile technology helps you build and maintain mutually beneficial relationships with customers while they are on site. With mobile, you no longer depend on physical marketing staff or customer experience; you can reach the right guests at the right time with the right message.
Consider a type family amusement park trip: let’s say our sample guests are visiting with two children under the age of ten. Without mobile personalization, they explore using a printed map and encounter one or more of these common sticking points:
- Head to a popular merry-go-round only to get stuck in an hour-long queue.
- Discovering a merry-go-round has an age limit that they did not know
- Head to the nearest food outlet at a rush hour and be late for the next activity.
Improve the customer journey
Use the mobile Technology like a mobile app for guests, family travel can change. Plus, additional opportunities arise to engage them with tailored upselling that improves their day. Now those same sticking points look like this:
- The family still arrives at the busy commute, but receives a push notification telling them to join a virtual queue and try the nearest donut stand while they wait.
- The family enters the children’s ages in the app and sees all the rides they are allowed to avoid wasting time.
- At 11 a.m., the family receives a notification asking if the children are hungry. They pre-order food in advance and are served immediately upon arrival. When ordering, a dish that parents love catches their eye and they add it to the transaction.
With this customization, the above mobile solutions are tailored to the family and anticipate their needs so that every minute of their visit counts. In the example of the busy trip, the Bluetooth beacons trigger the notification, allowing them to bypass the queue. They then increase their daily expenses thanks to the Donut nudge.
Likewise, for ordering food, the age of their children is already added to the app. So, this idea informs the invitee for an early lunch. Better yet, parents now have time to browse the menu and increase the size of their basket. This reflects recent findings that customers are spending up to 42% more per transaction using a mobile app.
The missing link: data
The above example is illustrative. But it does highlight how mobile technology can deliver targeted communication in a precedent “blind spot” for most attraction marketers. And it also illustrates the role that data plays in influence customer behavior.
In the example above, the family leaves a trail of data across a wide variety of touchpoints. These can help the amusement park better understand the behavior of guests like them.
Using this information, they can target groups of similar guests with messages that meet their personal needs and drive conversions. If you can’t connect with guests on-site, you lose that visibility and won’t discover these behavioral factors.
So, to implement an effective and personalized marketing strategy, attractions must have a data strategy beyond collecting demographic information and also exploring social signals and buying behaviors. However, that doesn’t mean going back to the good old days of iPad surveys and feedback questionnaires.
By taking advantage of mobile technology, you can monitor guests as they move through your attraction. This unlocks powerful information to support your personalized marketing strategy. This could include:
- Understand how visitors circulate on your site
- Discover the most popular rides and peak hours
- Track expenses at on-site points of sale and identify the most common purchasing times
- Monitoring of waiting times
- Gather demographic information from app downloads
This rich combination of data gives you the power to influence customers and e-commerce giants alike.
For example, the operations team at one of our customer sites discovered that customers were not purchasing food on site in the afternoon. With further research, it turned out that they were leaving to visit some fast food chain on the way home. They used this idea to build a plan; they sent a personalized message to all their app users just before their usual departure for the day, offering a discount on their on-site restaurant.
The reward? A boom in mobile meal orders thanks to more guests eating before they get home.
Make every visit count with personalization
Personalization helps customers get the most out of their day and feel that your attraction understands their needs. At the same time, by delivering hyper-targeted communication at critical times, you can encourage spending on the spot.
If you want a better understanding of how to use personalized marketing to increase customer spend at your attraction, Attractions.io offers free digital audits at attractions in June and July. You can book a 30 minute session with a tech specialist here.