In 2020 the way we interacted online changed.
Following the COVID-19 pandemic all visitor attractions and venues in the UK, and across the world, changed the way they sold tickets forever. The strict regulations around capacity management across venues in England meant that most attractions had to adapt to selling tickets online and limiting capacity.
Many online ticketing companies had to also change their software to reflect the demand from visitors and attractions to move bookings online and ensure safety at all venues. Now we’re in 2023, three years on the importance of online bookings hasn’t gone away, but rather than just managing capacity for safety reasons, there’s a whole host of benefits afforded to visitor attractions that encourage online ticket bookings. Many venues will manage their bookings through both online tickets and selling tickets at the admissions desk.
These amazing benefits include, being able to plan resources better, manage your stock levels and reduce the wastage in every area of your operations by only catering for the footfall predicted from pre-booked tickets. But what about members? Member visits have a big impact on your daily footfall, it can be difficult to predict exactly when a member wants to visit, and this can impact your all important planning as we’ve just mentioned.
How do you control memberships? You need to provide a self-service membership management area for your members to use. You might be thinking, wait… what is that? We’ve asked some key questions about it below.
What is self-service membership management?
Self service membership management is simply a login you provide for your members so that they can log in to your online ticketing solution and book their visits to you. The self-service element of the tool means that members oversee managing their own visits to your attraction. They can book dates in advance to make sure they have a ticket for the days they wish to visit and can even book onto time-slots for arrival or events. It also means if they need to amend their booking, they can do it online without needing to call up to change their booking.
Why should we use it?
This is a time-saving tool. All those hours of admin, changing bookings and amending visits is significantly reduced for your team if members can simply login and manage it themselves. It also allows you to plan your resources each day based on how many members are booked to visit you on that day.
How do we set it up?
The set up should be simple enough if you have a decent online ticketing system for your visitor attraction. You should be able to activate it in the admin tool or just simply speak to your ticketing partner for help on the set up.
Who is it for?
We think that managing entry for members is a great way to start, it will help you to know exactly who is planning on coming and at what times you will be busy. Your marketing team may have to do some promotion to get members used to booking before they come and visit, especially if they’ve not had to do it before, but you can encourage this with some great benefits, such as early entry or introducing the ability to change dates up to 24 hours before. Once members are used to it, you could go one step further and allow day visitors to manage their bookings online too. You don’t loose out if they change the date of their booking as you’ll have taken the payment, so just sit back and wait for them to come and visit you on a day that’s best for them.
When can we use it?
If you have the functionality within your ticketing system, just make sure that the marketing team are onboard to start communicating the update with existing members and you can get going pretty quickly.
Don’t forget you could also help manage membership renewals, by having them check all their details are correct on the online portal, then they can login and make their renewal payments online. It’s super simple for the user and will allow your visitor services team to focus on those guests onsite or solving problems rather than the time-consuming admin of changing bookings.
As an online ticketing company that wrote their ticketing software during the COVID-19 pandemic, we were able to work with our customers to understand what was important to them from their ticketing software and build it from scratch. A huge driver for many attractions was to be able to offer this functionality to their members and even their day ticket holders. Life’s busy, kids are unpredictable and plans can change. Being adaptable will get the visit off to the best start and could even increase secondary spend onsite, if they are able to visit when they prefer. VisiSoft’s online ticketing system comes with this membership management functionality as standard. We can help and advise on the set up too.