If this is how you feel the minute every guest leaves your venue, read on.
Whether you enjoy seeing familiar faces, watching recurring revenue appear on your income statement, or like to reduce your marketing costs, repeat visitation is one of the most effective ways you can grow your business. In fact, the cost of acquiring new guests can be 6-7 times higher than retaining existing guests, so creating an experience that fosters repeat visitation is better than nice to have; it’s necessary.
Not only that, but repeat visitation is naturally one of the biggest drivers that define guest loyalty. When looking to get guests to come back through guest experience initiatives, take a look at how well you are implementing the following three measures.
- Express an invitation to return
Begin with hospitality. It sounds simple, and it is. But it is so often overlooked. How consistently are you inviting your guests to return upon their departure? It also sounds like a “soft” strategy, because it won’t usually lead to guests immediately committing their next purchase, but the lasting impression of their experience is what will linger in the car on the way home, and will define how they restate their experience to others through word of mouth.
At Universal Orlando, team members will send off guests in a warm fuzzy way at the end of day. Positioned at the exit turnstiles, representatives from each attraction (identified by their uniform unique to that attraction) will wave goodbye to guests as they exist and wish them a farewell by saying, “Come back soon! See you next time!” and other parting pleasantries that make guests feel happy when they leave and start to crave their next visit.
- Tell them what they can’t do today
Even if they had the full experience, what’s next? If you always keep them wanting more, they’ll want to start planning their next visit before they even leave. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they missed out on attractions because they were closed or the line was too long. Do you have a new attraction under construction or coming soon, or an updated version of an existing attraction? What about seasonal events? Maybe a promo or deal only available on Tuesdays? Get your guests thinking about what they will be able to do on their next visit that they can’t do on this one.
- Give them a monetary incentive
Now we’re talking about rewarding your guests for visiting. Specifically, rewarding them on their next visit. While the type of monetary incentives will vary based on the nature of your business and how they fit into your marketing plan, investing in retaining your guests can substantially reduce your marketing efforts to find new ones. A bounce back promotion with an expiration date can suggest that they visit again while at the same time stressing the urgency to get back. If you have an annual pass or a membership program, communicate the value of upgrading and how many visits it will take to pay for itself.
As you consider each of these strategies to influence repeat visitation, remember that the desire to visit again is fueled by your guest experience, not through incentives or tactics that reward purchases. You cannot manufacture guest loyalty, but these steps along the way help get you (and your guests) there quicker.