The COVID-19 pandemic drastically impacted the way that people travel. Many are predicting that the “staycation” will be a long-term effect, even after the pandemic has fully subsided. With more people opting to stay local than to splurge on a cross-country or international trip, wake parks are presented with an incredible opportunity to foster more guest loyalty than what was previously available.
The benefits of guest loyalty should not be underestimated. Loyal guests are frequent visitors, spend more than transient visitors over the lifetime of their relationship with you, and they influence others to visit as well. In order to cash in on this opportunity for memberships, your guest experience strategy should be aligned with your local visitors, regardless of current or future trends in tourism.
Here are five considerations to help you ride the wave of memberships at your wake park.
Every local should be a member
Are you getting to know your guests at some point, whether it is at the time of purchase or at any time during their experience? Add in quick conversations that ask if they’re local or from out of town, and you’ll have all the intel you need to suggest a membership. When the offer is made naturally in conversation, it comes across as a trusted recommendation, and not an upsell. If you firmly believe that every local should be a member, it won’t feel like selling - and that’s a good thing.
Check out how ROLLER can help grow your membership base and generate recurring revenue.
Every member should visit frequently
Your most loyal members don’t just purchase a membership; they’re truly getting their value from it. Loyal guests become familiar faces whose advocacy for your business grows with each visit. Your guest experience strategy should not only include moving guests from transient to member, but actively encouraging repeat visitation by expressing an invitation to return, telling them what they can’t do today, and when appropriate, offering a monetary incentive to come back. Whenever a guest purchases a standard ticket, always stress the upgrade value before they leave the park to emphasize the deal they can get by becoming a member.
Every member should influence others to visit
The advocacy that your loyal members embrace results in new guests and growth of your business. Every new guest that is referred by a member now has the opportunity for such a great experience that they become members themselves. Encourage word of mouth by offering incentives for admission for friends and family, as well as suggest that they post a review online if they’ve had a positive experience. Whenever guests tag your business on social media referencing a positive experience, engaging with their posts can boost their satisfaction even further, and strengthen their connection with your business.
Drive more value from each member
Do you consider lifetime value when thinking about your guest experience strategy? The lifetime value of each guest represents the total dollar amount that they will spend over the course of their relationship with your business. Lifetime value can grow by investing in their experience, which can generate significant returns over time. The best ways to drive more value from each member is by focusing on growing, salvaging, and fostering lifetime value. On occasion, lifetime value requires an investment on your end, whether it is in the form of service recovery, or by recognizing and appreciating their loyalty. Most of the time though, you can grow lifetime value by offering ancillary purchases onsite, such as food and beverage, retail, and souvenir photo, that can encourage spending when guests visit with a membership.
Foster guest loyalty through recognition and appreciation
If you’re going to ride the membership wave, you need to stay on the board. A member isn’t a forever guest if you rest on your laurels. In order for membership (and the resulting loyalty) to breed upon itself is by fostering it through recognition and appreciation. This comes in several forms, including building relationships that truly personalize the experience, treating your loyal guests like they’re VIP, harnessing the power of technology to give you better intel on your guests, engaging with your guests on social media, regularly delivering moments that surprise and delight, and expressing genuine gratitude for their membership, their visits, and their loyalty.
If the staycation trend is here to stay, you deserve to reap every benefit of your local market. Your loyal guests should be thankful that they live so close to you that they can visit whenever they want, but they will only feel that way if fostering guest loyalty is a key component of your guest experience strategy.