6 Best Practices For Engaging Guests Online (With Examples)

Engaging online guests

Kelly Molson is the Managing Director at Rubber Cheese, a digital agency and web design firm for the visitor attractions industry. Recently, Kelly was featured as a guest on the Guest Experience Show, where she shared many best practices for engaging guests online and creating a seamless experience that leads to a purchase.

Here’s what she had to share with us:

1. Excite your guests from the very first click

How do you capture people’s attention when they arrive at your website?

The experience for your guests doesn’t start when they arrive at your venue; it begins when they visit your website, if not even earlier. When they arrive at your website, they may have already decided they are interested in buying a ticket. Amplifying their excitement helps to justify their decision and reduce the likelihood that they’ll change their mind.

Your guests want to see what the experience is like, and they want to see themselves there. So an excellent way to approach your website design is first to write down what you want your guests to feel when they arrive at your venue.

A theme park might want guests to feel enthused with amplified excitement, whereas a botanical garden may want its guests to feel relaxed upon arrival. Then, match that experience on your website so the guest says, “That’s it! That’s for me.”

2. Make purchasing easy

Purchasing a ticket must be simple. Research has indicated that 18% of people will drop out of a purchase process if it’s too long and complicated; therefore, removing barriers is critical. Consider removing the navigation images and adding a progress bar so that the guest is focused and knows where they are in the purchase process.

Additionally, 24% of people will leave a website if they have to create an account. It’s tempting to want the data that an account can provide you, but place that process after the ticket purchase process if you opt to go down that route, and you will see many more conversions.

The checkout experience is also of huge importance regarding increasing conversions. Ensure that you choose a software solution:

  • Whose online checkout process renders beautifully on mobile, tablet, and desktop
  • That offers multiple payment options
  • That seamlessly includes the ability to sign waivers, membership agreements, and complete forms

Check out ROLLER’s online ticketing system here.

3. Encourage your guests to create content on your behalf

Leveraging user-generated content (UGC) puts your guests at the heart of your attraction, even before they arrive.

Social proof shows that people who are just like your potential guests visit your attraction. Therefore they should feel comfortable coming to see you and confident they will enjoy it. It’s natural and comfortable when guests know that it isn’t staged. Even better, it does the marketing for you. It helps your target demographic make a purchase decision.

Throughout your attraction, if you have “Instagrammable areas,” then guests will naturally share the content of their experience while onsite. You can even take it to the next level by incorporating hashtags and contests to amplify the power of your UGC.

UGC is the blend between your digital experience and your onsite experience, which also stresses the importance of delivering the experience. Aspects like cleanliness and maintenance of your facility can help amplify your marketing efforts.

4. Engage with your guests when they share content

Managing social media can be time-consuming, but engagement with your guests should be part of your marketing strategy. By acknowledging the user-generated content and replying to it,  you can strengthen the relationship with your guests beyond the duration of their visit.

If a guest has an enjoyable experience and posts about it online while also tagging you, you can take their content and share it with your network, and this will amplify the guest’s experience as they will feel valued. They’ll often share your post with their content back to their network to stretch it further, which is fantastic marketing for you.

As a rule of thumb, if you see a post that you want to share, but the guest did not tag you in it directly, it may be most respectful to contact the guest and ask if you can share it with your audience. Otherwise, if the guest tags you, it can be considered an invitation for you to use their content.

5. Promote digital memberships

Guests often see a massive value in digital memberships because of the access that it provides them to your venue regularly, compared to having to purchase a ticket at full price each time.  

This can result in increased attendance with the opportunity for ancillary in-park spending, along with your most loyal guests introducing new guests to your experience.

The data you can collect from digital memberships is invaluable for your venue. You can better understand the frequency of visits, which locations members visit more frequently (if you have multiple locations), upcoming birthdays, what they’re buying in the gift shop, how old the guest’s children are, how many children the guest has, what they might be interested in, and where they’re spending their money on.

The data continues to build and allows you to profile your guest, giving you the intelligence to make the experience even better than your guest expects.

6. Collect guest feedback afterward

There is so much information sent to a guest before their visit, but are you continuing the conversation with your guests after their visit? Are you asking your guests the specifics of their visit?

Post-visit surveys are a vital way to gather data on the overall experience that provides you with the intelligence you can use to make enhancements to the guest experience regularly.  

The two most important tips Kelly shared for collecting insightful guest feedback are:

  1. Prompting the guest to complete a survey while the guest is onsite can interrupt the guest’s experience, so it’s better to send the survey shortly after the guest’s visit to allow time to reflect, and
  2. Waiting too long to send a feedback request may result in negative reviews that should have been shared privately, so timing is everything.

Using a tool like ROLLER’s GX Score can help with this. It automatically prompts guests for feedback shortly after their visit, so you don’t need to worry about sending them emails yourself or trying to catch them before they leave. It can also help ensure that you hear about possible complaints before they turn into negative reviews online and damage your reputation.

Aim for extraordinary

When summing up her guest experience philosophy, Kelly states that you should always work with honesty, respect, and transparency, be flexible with people’s needs and how they operate, and good is never enough; always aim for extraordinary. Your guests will feel the difference, and it will keep them coming back for more.

To learn more about how ROLLER can help you better engage guests with a seamless checkout process and also assist in collecting more robust feedback, schedule a demo or start your free trial today.