By Maitane Zarate on 1/18/21 9:30 AM
The world of leisure is all about the thrill, the adventure, the fantasy and magic experienced within the venue... It’s all about that kick of excitement you get once you walk through the gates. Isn’t that, at the end of the day, exactly what your customers are paying for? An experience that will make them escape the mundane, and get away from their dull routines for a while.
People want to be surprised and entertained in new ways. So it makes sense that leisure venues and attractions dedicate a great deal of their resources and efforts into achieving that little bit of magic that will make their guest experience unforgettable. And they know that, in order to achieve that, they have no other choice than to be constantly reinventing themselves.
However, in that process, many forget about the great opportunities that previous and later stages of the customer journey can bring into their business in terms of attraction, retention, loyalty, and overall business growth.
So while they keep on innovating and reinventing their rides, their events, their immersive physical worlds… the rest of the stages within their customers' journey seem to be generally neglected by many operators within the leisure industry.
Especially now, amidst a world-wide pandemic and this context of crisis that the industry is undergoing, it is particularly important to make the most out of each potential customer and influence them in every possible interaction with your brand, ensuring them a unique experience not just on your park grounds, but also before and after their visit.
If you would like to stretch and seize the potential of your leisure brand beyond the in-venue guest experience (and considering the current and future outlook you probably should), you’re in for a treat. In this blog post we have laid-out the main goals and strategies that you should be aiming for in each stage of your customer journey in order to:
- attract more visitors into your venue,
- better-engage with them through tailored experiences,
- and more importantly, identify your most loyal and true fans to encourage repeat-purchases through a circular customer journey instead of linear one-off purchases.
1. Awareness (attract)
The customer journey starts with engaging with potential and existing customers. Your whole goal at this point of the customer journey should be to guarantee you’re on top of your potential customers’ radar whenever they are looking for an experience like yours.
Whether you choose to do that through smart search ads integrated with google, or through organic search, it’s fully up to you, but what’s clear is that in any case, you’ll have to connect with the right audience, at the right time, via the right channels, and with the right message.
Seems like a lot, but there’s really just three key things to figure out here:
- The ‘who’ - Who is your target audience?
- The ‘when’ - How much time in advance should you appear in their radar? What is their booking lead time?
- The ‘where’ - Through which channels should you approach your audience? Where do they usually look for information and begin their search?
To be able to hit all the right notes in relation to these three factors you’ll need to find a system that helps you gather customer insights. Customer Insights are crucial if you want to optimize your marketing efforts and messaging, which you probably do if you are looking to improve your conversion rates and attract more customers into your website.
This way, you’ll have better chances of taking them to the next stage of the customer journey: the consideration phase.
2. Consideration (engage)
At this point of the customer journey, when your potential customer has become a visitor of your website, it’s time for them to start warming up to your brand, and for your brand to start engaging with them.
You could do this through multiple channels and in multiple ways, such as personalized marketing email campaigns, customized content and promotions through your mobile app, showcasing customer reviews, or using the influence of your social networks to convey credibility, just to mention a few.
But wait, what if they find out about you not directly through your website but through a third-party or reseller's website? In that case, you wouldn’t have a direct way to reach out to them, and would lack control when it comes to your brand’s image, visitor capacity, prices, customer-data and so on.
All that’s left to do is to cross your fingers hoping that when your potential customers land on Booking, Tripadvisor, Get Your Guide, or any of those reseller sites, they’ll choose to book with you.
But what if instead of just crossing your fingers you could have more power and control over that outcome? What if you could have a say in how you connect with your customers and display your brand in other channels? What if you had more maneuvering margin to influence that decision?
With the Convious channel manager you actually can. It allows you to connect with your audience, regardless if they're booking you via Tripadvisor, Google or local resellers.
Furthermore, we help you track your online reputation by monitoring reviews and social activity in connection to your brand, which can be a useful asset when it comes to motivating your potential customers’ purchase.
3. Purchase (acquire)
If you have successfully engaged with your potential customer and made them purchase-ready, the next logical step is to make sure they don’t end up leaving your site or abandoning their cart. In order to achieve that, you must make sure that you are providing a frictionless and smooth purchase experience.
There are three main basic rules you should follow if you want a high conversion-oriented check out for your leisure attraction:
- It should be mobile-first. It’s no secret that nowadays the increase in mobile use has also made mobile purchases skyrocket. If your check out is not mobile-oriented, you risk losing a high amount of sales. And specially now, every sale counts.
Recommended read: Guest-facing mobile apps: leisure’s latest game-changer
- Optimized for conversion. Your check-out’s UX design can have a great impact on whether people follow through to the very last step, or get stuck on the process instead, leading to higher cart abandonment. Our experience has shown us that engagement tools such as wonderbars, pop ups, and trigger buttons are a great way to increase conversions and fight exit-intent form your potential customers.
- Data-driven through A/B testing. You should be continuously A/B testing your main online sales tool in order to see how your visitors behave and react to each element, and adjust accordingly to the results shown by the data if needed.
You can either build such an online ticketing system natively, or get yourself a software that checks all of these boxes for you. The issue is, many of those external eCommerce tools and platforms will not fit all your leisure brands’ needs, as well as its look and feel, which can ultimately end up conveying a feeling of mistrust and inconsistency to your visitor, putting them off.
With Convious, you can build a conversion-oriented check-out yourself, in a matter of just a few days, in your brand’s style, while completely integrating it with a fully branded mobile app for your leisure venue that will provide your guests with a great deal of convenience: It includes buying tickets directly from the app, making up-front reservations, easily scanning tickets or season passes, or even in-app messaging with just a flick of their fingers.
With the combination of the previously mentioned tools, some of our partners have seen uplifts of 5 times the conversion, encouraging more website visitors to finish a purchase, and therefore, greatly boosting their leisure venue’s sales.
In the end, the purchase stage of the customer journey is a critical one. Without purchases, there is no business. So whether you decide to outsource it, integrate it, or build it yourself, make sure you are conversion-oriented, avoiding any possible friction points, and continuously improving the purchase experience through the use of your data so you can adjust to your visitors’ behavior.
4. Visit (delight)
We know that this is the part of the customer journey which your customers are already looking forward to. However, they will only be able to enjoy the experience if they feel safe. So how do you make their visit as smooth as possible?
Preparing your guests, and preparing your venue’s staff and resources beforehand.
Here’s a few ideas on how you can do that:
- Smart parking technology
- Smooth scanning through their phones to reduce bottle-necks and queues
- In-app messaging to answer your guests’ concerns or redirect them towards the less crowded areas of your venue by suggesting routes or rides
- Limiting your venue’s capacity through time-slots and distributing demand with the use of dynamic pricing
- Forecasting your expected visitors and knowing how many people are in real-time in your venue in order to adjust your staff and resources accordingly
- Sending pre-event emails so that they don’t get lost, make it on time to their visit, and have all the equipment needed to enjoy their experience.
- Push notifications to inform your guests about relevant measures, alerts, or events within the venue.
In the end, the secret to a successful visitor experience is living up to their expectations, and when possible, exceeding them. And we’re sure you’re capable of that and more, when your business’ management, creativity, and wit are supported by the right technology.
5. Loyalty (retain)
The loyalty stage is your golden ticket to transform your linear customer journey into a circular and ongoing one. If you want your customers to leave your venue wishing to come back soon, then it’s crucial that you understand their customer sentiment and have in-depth feedback of what they liked and disliked about their experience.
The loyalty stage is where you can really tap in, to identify your potential true fans, learn from their feedback and behavior and motivate them to do it all over again, becoming frequent visitors.
Our technology allows you to do that through post-visit emails, an A.I.-powered review collector, smart search retargeting ads, customer service to manage your customers’ requests, or push notifications and targeted communications to promote offers, events and products that fit your fans’ interests.
As you can see, your leisure attraction holds so much more potential than just the physical experience you offer your guest at the time of their visit. By stretching your focus and optimization efforts throughout the whole customer journey you can create mouth-watering opportunities for growth in many areas of your leisure business including brand awareness, sales, and customer retention.
If you are interested in knowing more about how the leading eCommerce platform for leisure can help you create unique guest experiences throughout the whole customer journey, our team of experts can help you identify opportunities and ways to support your impact on each stage with the right technology.
Ready to join the customer journey revolution? Talk to the Convious team!