A first impression counts, there’s no doubt about it. So does the last.
From the minute a potential customer, or as we like to call them ‘Guest’, sees your brand, lands on your website, passes a billboard, is handed a flyer or hears about you from a friend, every interaction they have with you (and by you, we mean your brand) counts.
Is it easy to find your open times and location on your website? How many tabs do they need to click until they can see the experiences you offer and purchase your tickets? How much information do they need to read before they can pay you money?
These are all important interactions (touchpoints) that a potential guest is having with your brand before even coming close to experiencing your venue, and the service of your staff.
You might (and probably do!) have the best venue with the latest and greatest activations and attractions, with possibly the most interactive and inviting party space on the market, or latest ride on offer but, a guest’s experience BEFORE they walk through your doors is just as important. A lot of the time, this can be a deciding factor to determine whether they WILL walk through your doors in the first place.
So what are some of our tips to ensure a seamless Guest Experience, removing any potential barriers to convert a potential Guest into a first time, fully committed, walking through the doors actual Guest? We’re glad you asked.
Before we start, none of this should be scary - it’s all super easy. Promise!
1. Call To Action (CTA)
The CTA’s on your website should be one of the most prominent things a visitor to your site is seeing. As soon as someone has to go trawling through a website and menu options to find an action that they are wanting to perform - for example, purchase tickets! - the more risk you have of losing that potential Guest quickly!
2. Let Your Guests Find You
Location, venue availability, and experiences are the top three pieces of information that your guests are looking for before they plan to visit your venue. You need to make sure your guests can find simple information about you without losing much time. The quicker it is to find information, the better it is for your business. The harder it is for your guest to book your venue, the higher your chances of driving them away.
3. Simplify Information
Don’t make it hard for a Guest to pay you money. What do we mean by this? Keep the information succinct, don’t take them too far away from the CTA, and once they are going through the checkout to purchase tickets, don’t pile on loads of new information. Again, if a potential Guest has to think more about something new here, the greater the risk of losing the sale.
Of course, we’re not saying don’t make information available - that’s the last thing you want. We are saying keep it short, send simplified content that appeals to a larger audience, and don’t overburden them with extra information during the checkout process. The cleaner the checkout, the better it is for your potential guest.
Once your guests have purchased tickets, the hard part is done. You now have a captive audience. They have committed to visiting your venue, and want to enjoy the experience. All you and your team have to do is to ensure your guests have a smooth experience while they are at your facility, which in turn ultimately leads to loyalty and word of mouth marketing.
Take it from me, I continue to go to a coffee shop because of the way every staff member engages with me. Even though their coffee is just above average, I would still recommend the shop only because of their excellent customer service. Now, the purchase of a coffee is a relatively simple transaction - the concept is the same. But, back to before you and your team can give the Guest the first-class in-venue experience.
A captive audience - purchased a ticket, and headed your way!
Your guests are headed your way today, next week, next month. Whenever it is, they’ve bought a ticket, they’re coming.
Would you like to ‘talk’ to your Guest before they have walked through the doors? Sure you do! By talking, we don’t mean physically picking up the phone and speaking to everyone. But, we do mean starting an interactive relationship with them from the get-go. Remember, the ultimate aim is to build loyalty to your brand. Keep your guests coming back and have them talk about you to others.
How can you start this relationship before they have visited?
The first step is to keep them informed. You can start by sending them information about the important tasks they need to complete before they visit your facility. This could be signing a waiver, confirming dietary requirements or an unlimited rides wristband. The last thing any customer wants is to arrive at a venue, ready to enjoy an experience, only to find that there’s something that you could have done earlier and avoided the extra time lost.
Secondly, you can further extend this relationship by sending them more relevant, humanized marketing emails before they arrive at your venue. This could be 'We’re looking forward to seeing you here’s everything you need to know’ or ‘A reminder about your upcoming visit’. There are a lot of creative and engaging content ideas that are simple and effective, which all form part of the Guest Experience.
Now, once a Guest arrives - this is where it’s super easy. You do this every single day, you’re the experts. You have your venue operations down pat. We will just comment on one of the most important basic elements.
Managing the Guest Flow
The Guest flow through a venue is critical, and therefore managing queue length and time is important. An effective way to go about it is by installing self serve technology. With data indicating that venues using self serve technology are seeing up to 40 percent of walk-in transactions going through the kiosks, ultimately leading to happier guests and more opportunities for your staff to create significant interactions. Investing in such technology is a call for a higher return on investment.
We’re not going to talk about anything further here once a Guest has arrived and checked in, and they are in your venue enjoying the experiences that you have on offer. What we will talk about though is that LAST or LASTING impression. The ongoing engagement and interactive relationship.
You’ve waved goodbye, you’ve closed the doors, and you’re getting ready for the next day and a new set of Guests to welcome. But let’s not forget about those that have already visited your venue.
Keep in touch with your guests by sending them follow up emails like "Thank you for visiting, we hope to see you again" or “Here is a gift card for your next visit” Remember to include compelling CTA's, link to your online reviews or feedback form within your email so that you can get relevant data regarding your guests preferences which can then be used to tailor their experience when they revisit your website or venue again.
You can try other ways to re-engage with your guests as well this could be offering them food/drink vouchers on their next visit or perks like a one-off extended experience added to their next ticket in exchange for writing a review or referring a friend. Ongoing communication makes customers feel valued and humanizes the engagement process.
However, that is not where your guest nurturing ends. For the longer term, it’s about keeping your past guests, who you now have a relationship with, informed and up to date on news and activities of your venue. Remind them that you’re there, send them an anniversary reminder of their last visit, keep drawing them back in. Keep it simple, keep it effective, keep it mutually beneficial.
And that’s what we call a brilliant Guest experience - end to end. You have bookended their interactions with your venue with a positive experience supported by the use of great technology, and with Guest experience in mind!
See how you can improve your guest experience through all-in-one software. Click the image below to download your free eBook.