As parks and destinations move towards reopening (as is already happening in China), influencing customer behavior will be more important than ever. Firstly, to ensure social distancing is maintained, and secondly to maximize spending from what is certain to be reduced footfall.
Many destinations companies will look at how Disney and Six Flags use rewards based systems to smooth out peaks in demand, improve the in-park customer experience and prolong engagement and loyalty.
These companies know consumers demand a more engaging experience, which should be reflected in loyalty programs.
Rewards should still relate to spending of course, but the evidence is that visitors like rewards for interactions such as completing surveys, providing feedback, taking part in gamification campaigns, being frequent visitors, or giving mentions on social media and using designated hashtags.
This is how companies build a two-way conversation with customers now. It makes complete business sense. Capgemini Consulting analysis found more than three-quarters (77%) of loyalty programs based purely on what people buy, fail in the first two years.
Six Flags, which has 26 parks across the US, Mexico and Canada, has moved away from the purchase-based approach. It has linked its rewards scheme to a system of tiered memberships. Increased membership numbers (up 18% in 2019) helped boost revenues substantially prior the coronavirus pandemic because as the company stated, members are more loyal and higher-spending than customers with seasonal passes. It estimates the lifetime value of a Diamond or Diamond Elite member to be three or four times that of a season pass holder.
As lockdown continues around the globe, parks and destinations should be gearing up their rewards programs, engaging customers before the doors reopen. Customers should be able to earn rewards from favorable social media activity and recommendations, even if they are not spending anything. Once restrictions are eased, a family is more likely to visit a park that has already rewarded them.
The Omnico Commerce platform gives all operators the ability to implement a behavior-based rewards program that excels at overcoming the immediate and more long-term challenges of running park while anxiety about coronavirus continues.
For example, when visitors return they can be nudged to behave in compliance with social distancing rules. If they are using a park’s RFID wristband or have downloaded its app to their phones, sensors or beacon technology will recognize them. The Omnico engagement engine will then rapidly analyse their interaction history and send them a heavily personalized offer or promotion that directs them to a less busy ride or restaurant or gives them further options that help reduce the size of lines or crowds.
In the longer term, parks and casinos can use these capabilities to manage demand and build meaningful relationships with individual guests while they are on-site. It isn’t just Disney that can recognize a guest before they enter the door of a restaurant. Customer preferences and histories also provide the foundation for experiential rewards, as well as other meaningful ways to surprise and delight. Six Flags, for instance, offers visits for friends and other experiences as rewards alongside traditional discounts.
Integration with CRM systems allows Omnico Commerce to put this new power in the hands of any operator’s marketing department. Operators can design and manage exactly the kinds of rewards triggers they want in order to influence behavior here and now, but also to provide a better customer experience and greater loyalty.
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