Marketing tourist attractions sounds like any Marketer’s dream, the fun and excitement that a day out can offer should be easy to market right? If you speak to Marketer’s in the visitor attraction industry, they might actually say it can be tough to create an award-winning strategy that not only promotes an attraction but also helps to grow visitor numbers, whether that’s because of limited budgets or demanding visitor expectations. From working with our customers and our involvement in the industry we have put together our top five marketing tips for visitor attractions in 2022.
The last two years, coming through a global pandemic saw how many businesses and attractions had to adapt their operations to allow for government protocols such as social distancing, capacity management and the rule of six. Every update and change meant that most visitor attractions had to spend time trying to engage virtual visitors or entice people to visit despite the ongoing pandemic. With all of that in the past (hopefully – said with our fingers crossed), we’re looking at how visitor attractions can come out of the other side and switch the focus back to engaging potential visitors, growing footfall and maintaining those all-important 5-star Trip Advisor reviews.
Get Social & Interact With Potential Visitors
Many attractions took to the world of social media as their means of communication to their audience, it allowed for visitor engagement and interaction at a time when escapism was needed as most people were unable to leave their homes. That shouldn’t slow down now just because life is starting to get back to normal. Your team should continue to engage and attract visitors through your social channels. Best of all social media is a free platform, that means all you need is someone in your team to create content through takings pictures or creating videos and post that content to your channels. Most visitors are likely to check out the social media pages of an attractions before they visit so they know what to expect and can find out more information about where they are spending their money. They may even ask questions in the comments to avoid picking up the phone or spending hours wondering – so make sure your team reply (it makes you look even better!). In short social media should be used to excite, engage and enhance visitors experience, so don’t underestimate the power of it!
Make Sure Your Site Is Easy To Use
We can’t shout about this one enough, it really can be the difference between visitors purchasing tickets or abandoning the site without purchasing. We recently hosted a webinar for BALPPA members where Phil Denham, Commercial Director at The HBP Group, spoke about how attractions can improve online customer journeys and enhance visitors’ experience. One of the key takeaways from the session was how everyone should be testing their own site and online experience, asking questions such as, how many clicks does it takes to reach the basket when purchasing tickets? Is key information easily accessible or displayed? Do you clearly define how a visitor can purchase items? Do you really need all the marketing information, or will a name, address and email be sufficient? The best way to find out if you have a pleasant customer buying journey is to test it yourself or ask a friend not associated to your attraction to test purchasing a ticket. Simple navigation, prefilled boxes or even payment methods such as PayPal, can make difference to how many tickets you sell and how many people abandon their purchase because it is too difficult. Focusing on this journey could make the difference between growing your footfall and increasing visitor loyalty.
How Can You Add Value For Visitors
It might be your sustainability policy on your website, or the fact you allow family dogs to join them at your attraction for a day out too, adding value to a visit can really make a difference. Depending on the type of attraction you are, some added value experiences such as kids go free or being dog friendly might not be suitable, particularly if you’re an indoor attraction, but there are loads of other ways you can add value to a visitor’s experience. These can include, making it clear you’re doing your part to be a sustainable attraction, this is growing in popularity, even little tweaks like having more recycling points around, using local suppliers for food and drink, or offering park and ride to the attraction can make a huge impact. Also, being aware of the needs of families, so having clear paths in your car park that easily allow pushchairs access, having family parking spaces that allow more room for families to get out of the car when they arrive and set up prams etc, having family picnic areas, and promoting the fact food can be brought in for those families on a budget. You may also add value by allowing free re-entry into your attraction once in the next 12 months, or even a pay once and come back as much as you want. Little tweaks and acts of thoughtfulness can make a family day out extra special. Once you’ve decided on your value adds, promote them on your website, email visitor before their visit to tell them, talk about them on social media and do your best to make sure they are known to all visitors.
Be Interactive & Informative
Communication can help make a family day out even more memorable for your visitor. If you can contact them pre-visit to let them know all about the great extras you can offer such as free picnic areas or the quietest times to eat in your cafes, it can help them plan their day. Much like the value-add experiences as mentioned above, you shouldn’t hold back on sharing how much you’re trying to make their day out as special as it can be. This may even involve advice on where to stay in the local area, how to get to you attraction by car, train or bus and if you’re close to other great attractions, you could partner up and promote each other. Lots of attractions are the destination for families on staycations or travelling to reach their destination, so there’s no harm in advising on other places they could visit on their way to you, in the local area or on their way home. Obviously, if you’re going to team up with hotels or other attractions to offer additional experiences, you’ll need to do your research and come up with a plan of action, but it’s one for your marketing team to explore.
Finally, But Importantly, Follow Up
If you’ve done all of the above to get those visitors through your doors and worked hard on creating an amazing, memorable day out, make sure you follow up with the visitor and ask the about their experience with you. Many people can fall short here and when you ask for feedback, you’re bound to get a bit of a mixed bag. Some people may have not enjoyed their experience and want to highlight that in their review, this is not the sort of review any attraction or business wants, but it’s how you deal with the response that can work wonders for you. Rather than simply deleting or ignoring negative reviews you should respond, show understanding and commitment to making that experience better for other visitors in the future. Potential visitors can read your responses and know that you care. On the other side, if you are getting 5-star Trip Advisor reviews, promote them on social media and on your website. Make the most of this user generated content to show how others have experienced a great day out. Your follow ups might simply be an email set to automatically go out following a visitors selected day out, but don’t miss out on that vital praise or feedback that can only help make your attraction even better.
So, there you have it, look after your visitors, feed them content, focus on their user experience, provide information, add value to their experience, make it easy to purchase tickets with a simple to use online ticketing system and then follow up to make sure you’re doing all you can to get those 5-star reviews.
If you’re looking at a new online ticketing system that can help you manage memberships, events, general ticket sales and provide a positive online booking experience, you can find out more about our ticketing solution here. VisiSoft is an EPOS and online ticketing solution that can help add value throughout your attraction, see it in action on the video below or book a free demonstration to see how it could work for your visitor attraction.