5 KPIs Every Visitor Attraction Needs To Track Now

In this article you’ll find advice on the most important Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for visitor attractions, how to measure them & fundamentally – how to act on them – and the most important things you can learn from the industry giants.

Think of the largest family attraction you can possibly imagine: Legoland, Alton Towers, Thorpe Park – what are they doing differently to you?

Well the truth is, not a lot. They have their attraction, they have their gift shops, cafés, restaurants, bars, admissions and they have customers – Just like you. But what sets them apart from most attractions is their ability to research their performance, analyse the results and consistently develop from what they discover.

Working with Key Performance Indicators = Success.

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So, let’s start at the beginning.

What is a Key Performance Indicator (KPI)? Well to put it simply, a KPI is a measurable factor that helps you, the decision maker, identify how well your attraction is doing.

This is how the big attractions set themselves above the rest.

They study their KPI’s and constantly develop from them. They do customer research, they monitor sales and they experiment with pricing, layout, user experience, functionality, accessibility and more.

With this research, they can identify what makes them money, and then start to take action and either capitalise on it, or make changes to compensate for losses.

1) Frequency of Visits

Frequency of visits is a very simple KPI to work with, and it can provide a great insight into the visitors experience at your attraction. For example, if your attraction has a decent overall attendance, but you get very few repeat customers – you may be offering an experience that customers recommend to others, but don’t feel drawn to return to themselves. One way of working with this would be a remarketing campaign.
Find out what time of the year a customer attended, did they come for a specific event or exhibition? Start an email campaign to customers to inform them of a similar event starting, or remind them of the quality of the original exhibition that drew them in. Start working out patterns in your attendance/ticket sales and start working from there, the more visits a customer makes, the easier the pattern will be to decipher and the more qualified your remarketing campaign will be.

2) Average Spend Per Visitor

Many of the major attractions invest in heatmap technology to measure their visitor journey and match it to spending, but we really don’t think that’s necessary – your EPOS system alone should give you all this information and a lot more. To take this analysis to the next level, a modern EPOS system should allow you to scan a visitors ticket or pass at all of your retail sites when they make a purchase. Your EPOS reporting should then allow you to track the spend value of specific visitors or members to identify your high spenders and those where you are failing to maximise on-site sales You can do some simple research to match ticket sales to your gift shop and café sales. Do some quick maths – are your visitors spending more money once they’re on site?

If you can get people to your attraction effectively but you can’t get them to part with their money during their visit, your issues lie in conversion. Anything to do with conversion should tell you that you have a serious problem with either upselling, stock, layout, pricing and so on.

3) Annual Pass Sales

Another relatively straight forward KPI to start working with is your annual pass sales. If your sales are relatively low, your customers might be telling you they don’t think they will come back to your attraction, or that it would not be value for money.
So, give them something to come back for, the promise of new attractions and exciting events. Get them to invest their interest in the development of your business by offering something to return for. Plus, annual passes are an excellent way to measure expected footfall and build loyalty.

4) Marketing Reach

Not only can developing a social media strategy improve your marketing reach massively, but being active on Social media can give you a fantastic 2-way communication platform with visitors. Social Media is also a great indication of the extent of your marketing reach. You can easily find out who is listening to your message, and what kind of customer engages directly with your brand.
Social Media Analytics can provide a quick and easy insight into your popular demographics so you can see exactly who is most interested in your business and start marketing directly to that demographic.

5) Profit

The clearest KPI, and the one that essentially overrides all others. If you aren’t making a profit, it’s time to make a change. The real power of working with KPI’s is comparing your research to form the larger picture of how your business is performing. So, if profits are falling, start considering the average spend per visitor – if your visitors only really buy tickets and don’t spend anything in your café or gift shop, it’s time to address the quality of the assets or whether they’re even necessary.
You could turn a higher profit by rolling back your operation and cutting some things out altogether! A modern EPOS System will provide all the insights you need to delve into your profitability to start making comparative decisions using your KPI research!

Working from KPI’s can often be difficult because it involves introspective consideration – the KPI’s provide the information you need, it’s down to you to make the difficult decisions about acting on and reacting to your research.

One of the most difficult aspects of working with KPI’s is actually gathering your data in the first place. A modern EPOS solution will offer many ways of collecting all the data required in our top five KPI’s. A great solution will also provide physical solutions for acting on your data, for example VisiSoft systems have loyalty card functionalities and huge analytic possibilities.

Finally, remember a KPI is irrelevant to your business without action. Watching a problematic KPI worsen with no corrective action is no benefit to the business. However, hopefully these KPIs will not only help highlight an issue but also give you the insight needed to make informed decisions to tackle the problem effectively.

1. Average Customer Value

Establishing a baseline average customer value is a great place to start assessing your park’s performance, as you can visualise the basic behaviours of your existing customer base.

You could use this initial calculation to make a comparison, however, as the nature of the holiday park industry is ruled by the seasons (and other influential factors that cause sway), you’ll need to limit the time you’re analysing to periods that are relevant to your customers in order to not mask or inflate your values. We recommend a monthly calculation as a minimum. When you’ve worked out the periods that you’re going to compare, you can begin to get better visibility of your performance, and see more quickly whether changes that you’re implementing are making you money. To better understand your Average Customer Value, you can break this calculation down to two further key metrics, that sit below the headline figures.

Frequency Of Visits
Frequency of visits is a very simple metric to work with, and it can provide great insight into your guest’s experience at your park. For example, if your park has a decent overall attendance, but you get very few repeat customers, you can begin to profile what kind of people you’re attracting and start to ask questions about what would make them return, and how you can influence them to do that.

Start by finding out what time of year a customer attended, or whether they came for a specific event or school break etc. You could then start an email or social media campaign to inform them of other experiences available at other times of the year, or remind them of the quality of the original visit that initially drew them in. Start working out patterns in your visitor sales and plan from there. The more visits a customer makes, the easier the pattern will be to decipher and the more qualified your marketing campaign will be.

Average Spend Per Visit
You may be succeeding with your marketing and brand awareness to get people on-site, but how much are they spending whilst they’re there? If you can get people to your parks effectively, but you can’t get them to part with their money whilst they’re there, your issue lies in conversion. Anything to do with conversion points to a problem with upselling, cross-selling, accessibility, stock and pricing. You’ve got a captive audience, so remove any barriers between them spending to make your figures soar.

2. Profit Centre Analysis

A Profit Centre is anything in your park(s) to which cost and revenue can be attributed. They might be different sites, or it’s more likely to be discrete threads within the one venue – the sales office, café, bar, attractions or one-off events.

These might be considered almost as individual businesses. A holiday park business ought to record information about each of these cost centres individually in real time. Recording everything, then trying to work backwards to abstract data about one thread or another, is a waste of time and opportunity.

Basic reporting offered without an integrated system, shows turnover and profitability. If these rise year-onyear, a park business might be tempted to say that it was on track. However, even if turnover and profit are both rising, the increases may not be as marked as they might be if serious problems are being masked, and remain unnoticed because financial performance has not been thoroughly examined.

But Look At It From A Different Point Of View.
Deeper analysis of the position above quickly reveals that the holiday park’s outdoor swimming pool is seriously under-performing. Having started slowly in its first two years, the lido made a small loss in 2017, and a much more severe one in 2018 as the new indoor pool was opened. The deficit highlighted by analysis of the figures on an area-by-area basis indicates a cost centre that needs urgent further investigation and remedial action. The reasons for the apparent failure should be identified and rectified at the earliest opportunity.

Locations Versus Revenue Streams
Further visibility can be gained by analysing your cost centres from a level above. If you define your cost centres into site locations and top-level revenue streams, you can instantly expose areas for growth and investment for a greater return.

You may think that you make your most money from new caravan sales as there’s greatest revenue in it, but isolating your revenue streams for comparison might show that your hospitality offering consistently outperforms new sales for a greater total margin. In this case, you might look to address the selection of new caravans you have on sale, or offer new ways for customers to own new caravans via different payment models to increase your conversion rate on this stream.

If you separate out each individual park or location, and look at the running costs versus revenues for each, you may find that your busiest and visually most impressive park makes you less margin than some of the seemingly quieter parks. You could then look to find ways to distribute your customers out among the lower performing parks to increase their yield, or look to invest more, or replicate an installation in one of the under-performing parks to help bolster profits.

The key here again is the data. If you can’t see problems or successes, you can’t fix or capitalise on them. Having top-level hospitality profit, occupancy rates and new sales conversion rates on a per-location basis makes you better placed to make decisions that directly impact your park business for the better.

3. Product Contribution Mapping

The Product Menu shown is a means of helping you understand how your park’s goods or services perform relative to each other.

The best items in a product range are those which sell in high volumes at high margins, and therefore generate the most contribution most quickly. This Product Menu can be applied to each and every scenario or location where you’re selling to your customers: new sales, owner fees, cafés, bars or online.

Nurture Your Best Sellers:
These are your parks best sellers. Avoid the temptation to put all of your park’s energy into these. Focus on them, but protect yourself from complete dependency, since it would make the business vulnerable to industry trends, problems with suppliers, or a number of other reasons beyond the park’s control.

Increase Price or Cut Costs:
This focuses on items with small margins, even though they sell in relatively high numbers. Serious consideration should be given to broadening the margin by increasing prices or by working with suppliers to reduce costs. Sustaining the status quo is reducing long-term profitability and potentially requiring high overhead to maintain volumes.

Focus On Sales & Marketing:
You might have good products with good margin, but sell in lower volumes. Consideration should be given to adjusting the margin to increase volume of sales, and therefore profit contributions, lifting the product closer to the top right quadrant or even better. Could more vigorous marketing achieve the same result without reducing margin?

Product Elimination:
Items offering low margin which sell in small volumes. There may be a strategic reason to carry on offering these lines, but you as a holiday park business must understand it, and justify the decision. Use core data to consider the real implications for your business, otherwise it’s time to remove these products and focus effort elsewhere.

4. Stock Day Analysis

The ‘Stock Days’ concept is a measure of the length of time items remain in stock, and converts the ‘dwell time’ of goods within a business to a financial value.

As such, it is an effective measure of cash flow within a business, specifically relevant to hospitality. Holding items in stock for too long means that your holiday park’s money is tied up unnecessarily and ceases to be available for payment of other more pressing bills or exploitation of emerging trends or customer requirements.

How To Calculate Stock Days
Average Stock Days = (Value of Stock – Cost of Purchases In Last 12 Months) x 365

Benchmark For Success
Does your holiday park business have more than one location or individual site? If so, you could benchmark them against each other. Perhaps they could be benchmarked against others in your industry, if you know someone well enough to ask for, and receive, such information. You could benchmark the figure against yourself on a month-by-month basis. Remember that the figure won’t be the same, or even similar, for each segment or area of your park. They’ll be different given the nature of the goods and services involved. Benchmarking as an exercise will indicate if your attraction is performing to industry standards (or market leaders), and perhaps if one of your own locations is under-performing against its peers elsewhere.

Creditor Days
Another invaluable calculation is of Creditor Days. This can be a ‘golden egg’ for any holiday park business. If stock can be sold, therefore generate revenue, before it has to be paid for, then there is no need to involve the park’s existing balances in the purchase of the goods. This is because the invoice can eventually be settled from the proceeds of the sales when it is due. For this reason, Stock Days and Creditor Days are best considered jointly for each product. From your Average Stock Day calculation, you can work out how many you can sell at the current rate before you need to pay for the stock. If you can sell all the stock in an order before the payment is due, you can re-use the revenue generated to your advantage to benefit your customers. This insight will greatly influence the size and quantity of the orders you’re placing and ultimately, the money that you’re making.

5. Overhead Reporting

This is a big risk area since overheads are often influenced by factors external to your holiday park, although their influence has implications within it. As a result, Overhead Reporting is an area that can cause significant financial problems.

This is true for holiday parks of any size, which can get too big for themselves. Large and multi-site holiday or leisure parks with turnovers in the hundreds of millions sometimes work at break-even point because of the size of their overheads, which can get out of control.

Overheads mean nothing on their own, and need to be placed in context through benchmarking. If a holiday park is booming, rising overheads may not be an issue, but even in those circumstances, there is always scope for caution. Firstly, the effects of any downturn will be more immediately and severely felt, and secondly, profits will be reduced in good or bad years.

The Solution

It is important to remember the need to capture this data quickly. This is in order for it to remain relevant to what’s happening in your park(s) at a given point in time, rather than what happened in the previous quarter, or even earlier.

The older the data on which decisions are based, the less effective the decisions will be; indeed, they may have become irrelevant. Whilst day-to-day matters can demand attention, it is important that these financial issues are not overlooked. Having regular and consistent reporting is the only way to achieve informed decision making. You are too busy dealing with whatever your park throws at you to struggle to see what the numbers are telling you. Set timetables for the data which must be submitted, ensure that the data is consistent, and insist that deadlines are adhered to.

Conclusion

This has shown that effective business decisions for your holiday park business can be made by:

  • Identifying the right data to collect, park/ business-wide
  • Collecting it diligently, consistently, and at appropriate regular intervals
  • Examining the figures revealed
  • Taking informed action based on the issues they highlight

Taking this approach means problems can be identified and addressed in a way that yields maximum benefit to your holiday park business

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