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What software tools does it take to manage a zoo well?

2 minute read

Zoos and aquariums have many unique attributes that are not found in most other industries; however, from an operational perspective, there are many similarities to other cultural attractions such as museums and botanic gardens, as well as their for-profit counterparts in the attractions industry that include theme and amusement parks.  When looking at the best operational practices that help fuel a zoo’s or aquarium’s mission, it is important to pull back and look at the greater attractions industry to gain inspiration for best practices.

When it comes to ticketing and point of sale software, how well are you leveraging the benefits available today that are in place in venues like amusement parks, museums, and trampoline parks?

Take a close look at the following list to determine if there are any features you are not benefiting from to their fullest:

 

CRM & Visitor Segmentation.  Does your ticketing system include or integrate with a Customer Relationship Management platform that allows you to segment your visitors into various types?  This allows you to hone your marketing efforts and send separate communications to general admission guests than members and much more.

Gift Cards.  Allow your guests to give the gift experiences!  If you cannot sell gift cards, you are missing out on revenue opportunities, per capita spending, and increased attendance.  In addition to guests gifting admission tickets, a gift card that allows them to spend more at food & beverage, retail, or upgrade to a premium experience can go a long way.

Packages and Premium Experiences.  Most zoos have additional offerings to enhance the guest experience and grow revenue, from behind-the-scenes tours to up-close animal interactions.  Are these easily able to be a part of your ticket offerings when guests buy online or at the gate?

Party and Group Bookings.  Group sales are often seen as the holy grail of a zoo’s attendance strategy.  When you remove friction from the sales process, you naturally convert more lookers into bookers, which substantially impacts your overall attendance.

Recurring Memberships.  You unlock three benefits when you sell memberships that renew monthly instead of annually.  The first is for price-sensitive guests, the cost is easier to absorb by guests who are more price-sensitive, which ultimately grows your member base.  The second is the streamlined cash flow you gain when your guests pay monthly.  The third is that you no longer need to send reminders in the mail (or email) when it’s time to renew and then hope for the best; with their card on file it renews automatically.

Self-Service Kiosks.  Ticket lines are long and staffing admissions departments is challenging.  Alleviate some of the stress from your guests who opt to purchase onsite, as well as your entrance operations team by positioning self-service kiosks as an alternative to waiting in line.

Guest Feedback Management.  Input from guests is critical to making improvements on a continual basis.  When guest feedback and surveys are automatically sent and linked with their ticket data, you gain greater power to make necessary changes that are supported by data.

 

Which of these features are you missing out on or not taking advantage of to the fullest extent?