Blog/ Guest Experience

Features or Benefits? Focus Your Products on Enhancing the Experience

Quick question: what do you sell?

If your answer includes a variety of ticket options, a gesture toward the menu board, and a list of packages that your guests can buy, then we need to look at it through a different lens.  If guests come to the zoo or aquarium and buy a general admission ticket, membership, or a behind the scenes tour, you are selling your features, not your benefits.

“What’s the difference?”  You might ask.  “The guest needs to know what they’re getting.”  And while of course that is true, it’s not the reason why they are buying.

Let’s quickly look at the definition of features compared with the definition of benefits, and then align it with how you present them.

We’ll start with features.  Features describe what the product does.  It is the list of parts and pieces that make up the product that you’re selling.  If you were asked to describe the features of a membership, you might indicate the following:

  • Free admission, 365 days a year
  • A card that you’ll scan on each visit
  • Free parking
  • 10% off food & beverage
  • 10% off retail
  • 10% off tickets for friends and family members
  • Access to member-only events
  • Exclusive member lanyard
  • Price: $80 per person

Okay, this list of features is pretty great.  It might convince some people to buy a membership.  But this bullet point list is purely the ingredients that lead to the end product.

Now, let’s define benefits.  If features describe what your product does, benefits describe how it makes the guest feel.  Now we’re directly aligning the product that we’re selling with the experience that the guest is going to have once they buy it.  Offering a 10% discount on popcorn might make the guest realize that they are saving some money, but it probably won’t be what puts them over the edge if they’re debating between a membership and a single-day admission.

By looking at the exact same membership described in the above list of features, here is how it can be presented by stressing the benefits:

  • Come whenever you want, as many times as you want!  On the weekends, after the kids get out of school, on your lunch break, or whenever you’re craving the company of great animals.  Bypass the ticket booth and come straight to the turnstile with your membership card.
  • Never pay full price!  Keep getting value out of your membership by skipping the parking fee, and flash your membership card to save on food, drinks, and retail whenever you visit.
  • Family coming in from out of town?  We’ve got you covered!  When you bring friends or family, they’ll save on admissions too thanks to your membership.
  • Live like a VIP.  With epic after-hours events held throughout the year that are available only to members, you will join an exclusive club that lets you enjoy a night out when you need it most.
  • Be part of the family.  We love seeing when members come visit, so show off that you’re one of us with our exclusive member lanyard.
  • Price: Only $80 per person (pays for itself in less than 3 visits!)

See the difference?  Take the features that act as the building blocks of your product - whether it’s a membership, general admission, premium experience, or VIP tour, and promote the benefits.  By looking at your offerings through the lens of your guest and predicting what they would say if they purchased it and raved about the experience, you can create a much more compelling argument than giving them a list of what it includes.

Complete this exercise with each of your ticket offerings, packages, and experiences and look at how each one can be positioned by focusing on the benefits.  Then, implement it into your sales flow by aligning it with the guest in front of you, and you’ll never feel like you’re upselling ever again.