How to get digital transformation right at your visitor attraction

Guests now expect connected, personalised visitor experiences that match the high standards of the digital world. Is your technology ready?
September 2020

A movie with a good ending and a gripping beginning wouldn't stand a chance at the box office if the rest of the film were below par. When it comes to attractions and their guest journeys, the same logic applies. 

All too often, the coherence of what guests experience at an attraction doesn't match the impression they received before or after their visit. With attractions continuing to face challenging circumstances, bridging this gap is vital for bringing guests back over and over again. 

To do so, ignoring the missing pieces and information gaps in your guest’s journey isn't going to cut it anymore. Instead, attractions need to consider how they can use digital transformation to enable a holistic, end-to-end guest journey by leveraging the right technology. 

Guest digital journeys shouldn't stop at the entrance gate

Research conducted by Google shows that before making a purchase online or deciding to book an experience, an average consumer will interact with between 20 and 200 different digital touchpoints. Consequently, most attractions understand the importance that digital touchpoints play in helping bring guests to them in the first place. 

However, for attractions looking to drive repeat visits and increase revenue, it's equally important to ensure that the rest of their guests' journey ties in with any initial impressions. To do this, the same density of high-quality digital touchpoints that enticed guests to book a visit should be present throughout their visit and beyond without missing a beat. Achieving this kind of end to end digital experience is the core tenet of any successful digital transformation initiative.

While attractions often produce plenty of digital touchpoints for the "before-visit" part of their guest's journeys, the digital trail tends to splinter once guests enter attractions. This happens due to either a lack of touchpoints in the first place or the need for guests to navigate disparate systems when going about their visit. Faced with numerous stress points like queuing, crowded spaces, or changing circumstances, guests often experience interactions at attractions that aren't in line with their expectations or needs. 

On the other hand, attractions also find it challenging to make smart, data-driven decisions that respond to what guests are experiencing in real-time. These issues fracture the guest experience and create friction for both guests and attractions. 

Disconnecting guests from their pre-visit experience with sparse or incoherent digital touchpoints during their visit is a costly mistake. A study of consumer experiences in a retail setting highlights that well defined onsite touchpoints are the most important factor when it comes to endearing customers to brands and enticing them to return. 

With their viability dependent on safely providing memorable experiences, attractions need to pay extra attention to their customers' digital journeys. Rolling out disconnected point solutions that don't talk to one another can further increase this problem. 

Every journey needs a map

digital guest journey map

For both attractions and their guests, a great guest journey is a seamless end to end experience. The first step to facilitating this kind of guest journey is understanding the route guests take before, during, and after their visit and noting the digital gaps within it. This mapping effort also needs to encompass the omnichannel nature of how guests interact with attractions. As well as a coherent experience at each phase of their visit, guests increasingly want an experience that is the same quality, regardless of how they interact with it.

Every attraction will have a unique digital guest journey, but for attractions of all types, understanding where digital touchpoint gaps lay involves a standard methodology: 

  1. List out all the touchpoints in your guests' journey pre, during, and post-visit. Imagine yourself as a guest running the gamut from discovering your attraction online all the way through to reflecting on their visit. This journey might diverge depending on your guest persona and the format of your attraction. Being as comprehensive as possible will pay dividends.
  2. Consider your existing systems' capabilities and value. Where do your current solutions fit into this journey? It is vital to assess whether they deliver real value to your attraction and your guests throughout the guest's journey.
  3. Identify the gaps. Touchpoint gaps usually coincide with guest pain points. Work out what could go wrong at different points in a guest's visit to further see where and how you could improve your digital touchpoints.  
Reviewing your guest facing technology - worksheet

To help you in this task, you can download our worksheet, which allows you to brainstorm ideas, refine and shortlist solutions, and prioritise them based on their cost/benefit. After mapping your technology to the guest journey, you should have a clearer scope for what your solution needs to include. Remember: any solution that your attraction uses needs to measurably improve the guest experience by sewing together their journey through your attraction. 

Measuring success

The final step in a successful digital transformation for any attraction is measuring success. Initially, this means finding out how to determine what good looks like for your attraction when it comes to investing in new technology.

For every attraction, a core part of a successful digital transformation will be its impact on direct commercial opportunity. Plotted against the cost of your technology investment, this entails looking at how visitor spend can be increased and overheads reduced. Metrics like food and beverage transaction size and savings on staff overheads or printing costs can be used to determine how a successful digital transformation project should drive positive revenue change.

However, another success factor to consider is the indirect impact of your technology investment. This plays out through increased guest satisfaction, reduced guest friction, and ultimately greater guest loyalty and retention. While this aspect is more challenging to measure in the first instance, its long term impact can be profound. 

Final thoughts

Getting digital transformation right for attractions means drilling down into the guest journey and meeting guest expectations at every point. With guest expectations changing in line with present-day health and safety concerns and long term demographic shifts, this process is increasingly important. 

The key to getting the right technology in place is understanding where it fits into your attraction by mapping your guests’ digital journeys and understanding the impact that a proactive solution can have. 

Ready to get started? Don’t miss our on-demand webinar, designed to help you develop and implement an end-to-end digital guest journey at your visitor attraction.

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September 2020
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By attractions enthusiasts for attractions enthusiasts.
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