For attractions, having to close due to a worldwide pandemic in 2020 was a challenge no one saw coming. Getting ready to re-open has also meant confronting further sets of completely unforeseen challenges. In addition to figuring out how to incorporate social distancing and reduce physical interaction, attractions have also had to revisit more familiar goals, like growing visitor numbers and responding to changing guest expectations, but with a completely different set of circumstances.
For every attraction, getting over these hurdles has been a struggle. For attractions that are able to re-open in 2020, getting through this period is a reminder of our industry’s resilience and the capability of those within it. However, re-opening now or in the near future is not the final challenge for attractions. In fact, it may just be the beginning of the adaptation attractions will have to undergo.
Many of the changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing lockdowns will be temporary, but others will be more permanent. As well as creating new trends and behaviours, the last several months have also accelerated existing ones.
Attractions, using technology to grapple with some of the existential challenges they have to tackle right now, will also soon have to face a groundswell of change in their guests’ demographics and expectations. In response, attractions need to leverage long term growth potential from new and existing technological solutions.
With smart forward planning, technology can help attractions surf the waves of change rather than be swamped by them. The technological solutions that are helping plug gaps in attractions’ operations post-lockdown can both mitigate today's challenges and provide a launchpad for future growth.
Fortunately for attractions, consumers are increasingly drawn towards experiences when it comes to deciding how they want to spend their money. Almost 80% of Millennials, who now make up most of the world's consumers, would rather spend money on experiences than physical goods. The next generation, Generation Z, is even more inclined towards experiential purchasing decisions. Attractions, with business models built around providing memorable experiences, are well placed to take advantage of this trend by integrating another fast-growing consumer desire into their offering — personalisation.
From TV to travel, personalisation is becoming one of the key growth drivers across consumer-orientated business sectors. Over 75% of consumers expect personalised experiences whenever they buy something new, a number that’s likely to grow.
Personalisation is multi-faceted. From Amazon's remarkably effective product recommendations, Coca Cola’s offline “Share a Coke” campaign to Starbucks’ app (which has become one of the most popular methods for online payments even though it isn't actually a payment platform), effective personalisation is becoming the standard for high performing businesses in nearly every industry. Attractions shouldn't be any different.
While it may not seem like the ideal time to invest in new technology to bring about future growth, attractions that fail to do so may fall behind what's considered the norm in the future.
Integrating a personalised end-to-end solution might sound like a vague challenge compared to the very specific ones that are facing attractions right now. In reality, an end-to-end solution is an extremely tangible outcome, especially for your guests. For visitors, a personalised end-to-end solution means a seamless blended digital journey through your attraction before, during, and after their visit. For attractions, this comes from creating a linked up experience layer for guests to interact with.
This layer might be backed up by a number of different point solutions for different parts of your attraction (such as bookings, ticketing, purchases, etc.). However, as far as your guests are concerned, they’re all integrated into the same experience. In this way, guests experience your attraction through a common digital interface that doesn't lose its branding, messaging, or functionality regardless of where they are in their journey. This kind of end-to-end guest experience reduces friction across your attraction, and, in turn, improves guest experience and increases revenue opportunities for your attraction.
With the ability to personalise up-sell and cross-sell opportunities to guests based on who they are and where they are, attractions can use end-to-end experiences to maximise the amount of revenue they get per guest within their attractions. These kinds of experiences can also garner guest loyalty by personalising follow-up communication and marketing to keep guests coming back. By increasing the value of their experience to each individual guest, attractions can also increase the value each guest brings them.
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Also, stay tuned for our upcoming webinar ‘Digital transformation for the new normal.’ In it, you’ll find out how to get started with a connected technology approach that enhances the guest experience and drives business results for your organisation.