As we've explored in previous articles, there's no question that guest expectations are changing. The digital and physical words are converging and previously “nice to have” aspects of the visitor experience, like connectivity and personalisation are quickly becoming a necessity for all attractions.
The challenge of embedding new technology to meet guest's expectations without jarring with, or detracting from the experience, is a popular item on many organisations' agenda. Technology and managing the fusion of the digital and physical world was a hot topic at the recent Blooloop V-Expo. Specifically, we looked at how a mobile app can be the key to leveraging a world of personalised guest experiences, increased guest satisfaction and ultimately, growing attraction revenue.
Achieving a connected digital guest journey, by unlocking the power of mobile apps was the central message of our session, “Mobile Apps & the Art of the Possible,”
We summarised the first half of the presentation in part one of this two-part blog post series. Here’s a quick recap:
To give you a better idea of how a branded mobile app can improve your guest experience, let’s take a look at “a day in the life” of a fictional attraction guest, paying attention to the route they take pre, during, and post visit.
Meet Lucy, a mother of two children who love rides and animals. Lucy decides to take advantage of the school holidays to plan a short family break to a theme park.
There are a few theme parks within driving distance of Lucy’s home, so before choosing one, she scans each theme park’s website and social media, and reads their TripAdvisor reviews to help her decide which one fits her family best.
After some research online, Lucy makes her pick. Happy with her choice, Lucy then books a family day ticket and reserves a family room in the park’s on-site hotel.
As soon as Lucy finishes purchasing the ticket online, she’s encouraged to download the theme park’s app. The app promises to help Lucy make the most out of her visit and fits in well with the rest of the park's messaging, so she goes ahead and installs it on her smartphone.
As Lucy wakes up and reaches for her phone on the day of her visit, she sees a notification from the theme park.
The app knows that Lucy is currently at home and is supposed to visit the park today. So, it delivers a message saying “We can’t wait to welcome you today.” The app also offers driving directions and traffic information to ensure that Lucy and her family make it to the theme park safely and on time.
When Lucy arrives at the admissions area of the theme park, the app automatically presents the entrance ticket to scan at the turnstiles.
There’s no paper involved, which means that Lucy and her family have not had to remember to print off their tickets and are doing their bit for the environment. But perhaps more importantly, there are no queues, either. Lucy and her family walk right through the gates without delay — and are ready to start exploring.
As soon as they’re on-site, Lucy wonders where to go first. So, she pulls up the app to view the interactive park map. The map shows her their exact location and lists all of the rides, attractions, and facilities around them.
The possibilities of the things they can do are endless. To narrow down their choices, Lucy filters the rides by age and height to see which ones are suitable for her children. In a few seconds, she finds the perfect place to start — a family-friendly rollercoaster. It’s just one minute walk away from where they’re standing currently. Even better, there’s no queue... Lucy taps the app to get boarding passes for the ride.
At the ride, Lucy shows the ride operator the boarding pass on her app and the whole family gets on. The fun begins!
After lots of excited screaming, Lucy and her family get off the ride. At this point, the app pings and Lucy notices an alert saying that her photo is ready. She taps the notification to see a photo of her and her family on the ride, likes it, and purchases it via the app. Immediately, she shares the photo on Facebook and Instagram.
Time for another ride! Lucy once again uses the app to pick the next ride. However, according to the app, there’s an hour wait for this one. Thankfully, the ride has a virtual queue. She joins it using the app and carries on exploring.
As the family wander through the park, Lucy hears another ping. This time, the app tells her that there’s a show starting nearby. It’s a magic show, and the kids love magic, so they decide to go and watch it.
Lucy taps the notification for directions and sees two options:
Lucy makes her choice, and the family head over to the show. After a fantastic show, Lucy and her family get a heads-up that they’re near the front of the virtual queue they joined earlier. So they make their way over and enjoy their second ride of the day.
All of this adrenaline is making the family hungry, and they decide to order lunch. The kids ask for burgers, so Lucy searches the app for outlets that fit the bill.
One place, in particular, catches the family’s eye and after browsing the menu, they each choose their meal. Lucy is about to check out when she sees special offers that can be added in a tap. The waffles look especially good, and with 10% off, Lucy decides that there’s no reason why they shouldn’t treat themselves. It is, after all, a special occasion. She places the order and pays with Apple Pay.
When the order is ready for collection, Lucy gets an in-app notification. She shows this notification at the mobile order collection point, and the whole family enjoys the meal. Again, there’s no waiting in line, no physical contact, and ultimately, no friction.
As soon as Lucy and her family finish eating, the app presents another alert. The app knows that Lucy’s children love animals and notifies the family of an upcoming elephant feeding session. They head over and spend a good while watching the elephants. Noticing that Lucy and her family are sticking around this exhibit, the app then shows Lucy information on the conservation work the park is doing with an option to adopt an elephant. After a small donation, Lucy and her family are now proud adoptive parents of a baby elephant!
It’s been a long day full of fun activities. As the family heads over to the hotel Lucy has booked, the app automatically checks them in. There’s no need to wait in line at the check-in desk for the room key, either. The family can use Lucy’s smartphone as the room key instead.
After a short rest, the family decides to check out entertainment options and make a dinner reservation — all in-app, of course.
When Lucy and her family get back home, the app asks Lucy to leave feedback on her visit. Unsurprisingly, Lucy gives the park a 5-star review. Seeing this, the app then directs Lucy to TripAdvisor, where she leaves an equally generous account of her visit. It also gives her the opportunity to upgrade her family ticket to a yearly pass - which she can do at the touch of a button.
Lucy’s experience is just one example of the kind of guest journey your visitors can have with a branded mobile app. Depending on when Lucy visited, who she was with, and where she was within the theme park, the experience would have been entirely different.
That’s the beauty of visitor apps. They allow you to personalise the guest journey for each and every one of your guests, by effectively providing a concierge in their pocket.
It’s not just being reactive; it’s anticipating what guests might want to do. And that’s only possible with a mobile app.
A mobile guest app can do much more than just make the guest experience more enjoyable. It can also make the job of attraction operators easier.
Thanks to a branded visitor app, park operators can know:
This data allows attraction operators to visualise guest behaviour, identify pinch points, and send visitors highly targeted messages. After all, there’s no point promoting lunch offers at 5 pm or encouraging guests to upgrade to a two-day ticket if they already have one.
This ability to communicate with guests on-site is now more important than ever. Although the COVID-19 pandemic is still causing great uncertainty, a guest mobile app can help you reassure and inform your guests on-site.
Speaking of targeted messages, these can take on different angles. Here are a few examples:
A guest app is not just a marketing tool. It’s a tool that your guests will use to make their experience better. According to our research, 96% of visitors who used a guest mobile app said that it made their visit better.
That makes sense. To quote Joe Pine, internationally acclaimed co-author of The Experience Economy: Competing for Customer Time, Attention, and Money, “the experience you want to stage for your customers – the experience they want to hire you to have – must always be the connective tissue that unifies your enterprise.”
From an attraction operator’s point of view, a mobile app’s results speak for themselves. Our customers have seen a 42% increase in transaction value for mobile food and beverage orders alone. If executed effectively, attractions can see a 16 times ROI in just two months of operation.
There’s no doubt about it. A mobile app brings about many exciting possibilities for both guests and operators.
Our mobile app platform removes many of the traditional time and cost barriers of mobile app development, enabling attractions of all sizes to launch their own feature-rich, branded mobile apps quickly and cost effectively. Download our brochure or contact us for more information on how Attractions.io can help your attraction.