Weather is one central friction point that has faced the attraction industry's guest experience since the beginning of time. While weather impacts all leisure venues in some way, the ones most susceptible to it offer primarily outdoor experiences, particularly if they have a seasonal operation.
Kari Manev, Business Development Manager of Ticket Attractions for Sensible Weather, joined us in episode 102 of the Guest Experience Show to talk about how weather no longer needs to be as big of a friction point in the guest experience.
Here we’ll discuss what that means for your business and how you can use weather guarantees to keep your business from unnecessarily losing revenue and keep your guests happy at the same time.
How does the weather impact the guest experience?
When guests plan a visit to an attraction in advance, they likely rely on (and hope for) favorable weather on the day. On the day of their visit, if the weather is poor, this significantly strains the venue’s guest services team, which is bound to field requests for refunds due to a factor out of their control.
One of three things usually happens here. First, the guest services team member quotes the policy indicating no rainchecks or refunds. The guest leaves dissatisfied, which may reduce the likelihood of visiting again and increase the chance of a negative review.
The second is that the guest is offered a raincheck, which they may or may not accept. Plus, if the guest is visiting from out-of-market and has no plans to be back anytime soon, this compensation, while fair and beneficial to the business, does not satisfy the guest.
Or third, the business refunds the money, losing the revenue they’ve already gained, thus damaging the venue’s bottom line.
Benefits of offering a weather guarantee
In a recent poll, 85% of respondents said they would choose a business if it offered a weather guarantee.
Further, 85% of guests in Sensible’s research also say they would prefer to have their ticket purchase refunded rather than be given a raincheck to come back in the future.
So what do these statistics mean? You should offer your guests the option of purchasing a weather guarantee, which gives them a refund should the weather be unsuitable on the day your guests visit.
Weather guarantees benefit the guest and the business
A weather guarantee benefits both the guest and the business. If the guest opts into the weather protection when purchasing their tickets and the weather turns out to be poor, they are notified on the morning of their visit that they are eligible. They now have the option to choose to select a refund, and if so, their entire ticket purchase (minus the weather protection fee) is refunded.
Better yet, the guest’s ticket is not canceled, and they can still choose to visit the venue, knowing that it may not be the full experience they intended. Refunding their tickets may encourage them to increase their in-park spending on ancillary items, such as food & beverage, retail, games, and other premium options.
Increase profitability by keeping ticket revenue when guests get refunded
Sensible’s weather protection gives guests a full refund for their ticket purchase when the weather is less than favorable. The refund comes from Sensible, not the venue, so ticket revenue for the venue remains unchanged despite lower attendance. And with the lower attendance, management can reduce their staffing by sending team members home and spending less on labor.
Kari states that the benefit to the business has turned the least profitable days for certain operators to become the most profitable days because they operate with fewer team members. Still, ticket revenue reflects a business operation. The weather technology also helps operators better forecast labor and inventory needs by projecting several days out when attendance may dip, and they can plan accordingly.
Send your guests to “Bonusland” and offer a weather guarantee
Kari summarized her talking points by stating that a weather guarantee sends your guests to “Bonusland,” where they can have their cake and eat it too, by reducing the risk on large purchases and still being able to visit on a free ticket.
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