Using membership & reward programmes to drive visitor numbers during the low season

The low season can have a huge impact on visitor attractions. However, foreign and local visitors alike don’t always expect the best weather in Ireland, meaning low-season experiences can be just as memorable here as those on offer during the high season. For more popular attractions, smaller crowds off season allow visitors to see exactly what attractions offer while enjoying shorter queues.

With lower visitor numbers, attractions have the opportunity to create unique and seasonal events, which are in higher demand now more than ever. A recent report revealed that 72% of millennials prefer spending money on unique experiences. With many potential benefits to visiting attractions off-season, membership and reward programs can be a great way to highlight the benefit of these unique experiences and maintain visitor numbers year-round.

 

Create seasonal experiences

Creating themed events during the off season is a great way to provide a new experience to past customers. In a study into seasonal tourist areas in Australia, 70% of visitor attractions were found to stay open year-round. Of those that stayed open, 39% ran seasonal special events, with the local community being a key source market for these events.

Venues and attractions can create seasonal events to match their own unique offering. From Santa visits in December, Egg Hunts at Easter time, to Harvest displays in October, these experiences can take advantage of the extra space and capacity afforded by quieter periods. For example, the team at Dublin Zoo welcome back the Wild Lights experience every year. Taking place from October – January, the Wild Lights attraction operates outside of normal working hours at a typically quieter time of year. Bringing in over 210,000 visitors in 2018, the night-time attraction has a different theme every year related to Dublin Zoo.

 

Highlighting the outdoors

After spending two years in and out of lockdowns, consumers want to be outdoors, even in the winter. According to a recent report from Fáilte Ireland, demand for outdoors is expected to continue to grow for the next five years. Seasonal attractions can be set up to be comfortable no matter what the season with outdoor heaters or additional wind or rain protection.

 

Build your customer database year round

Building a robust customer database with comprehensive visitor profiles allows you to market your personalised experiences more effectively. Using the example of Wild Lights, this family event takes advantage of the Christmas school holidays and presents a unique outdoor event, and can be targeted at local visitors, who are more likely to be repeat customers. By capturing customer details at earlier visits, families and local visitors can be specially targeted with these events.

By capturing this customer information at the point of sale through your connected membership and award programs, you can build your customer database year-round.

 

Driving low-season visitor numbers with loyalty programmes

With an integrated loyalty program, it is easier to drive repeat business and highlight special seasonal events. In a previous article, we looked at how repeat customers typically spend 31% more than new customers, meaning these valuable customers are a welcome boost at quieter times for your visitor attraction.

However, for simple cash purchases, visitors will not need to give their contact details. You can incentivise this in a number of ways. Paperless ticketing is a great way to create customer profiles, as tickets are sent straight to their email address. This is also a good way to show your green credentials, by cutting down on paper waste.

By connecting your ticketing system to your website, you can build customer profiles wherever tickets can be purchased. You can also incentivise visitors to buy online to “skip the queue” at busier times of the year. This is also very useful for visitors bringing their whole family, or for those who have children with special needs. For these customers, allowing them to purchase online and skip the queue can cut down on wait time and reduce stress, making seasonal attractions an even better option for them.

Ahead of quieter periods, loyal customers can be sent special awards such as seasonal attraction preorders, discounts or a free cup of coffee or hot chocolate in your café.

Driving low season visitors with Meridian Experience

Combining integrated loyalty programs with seasonal events means you can have a reason to reach out to customers year-round and encourage repeat business. Meridian Experience, our proprietary ticketing software for visitor attraction sites brings all the functionality you need to run a successful loyalty program and promote seasonal events. Meridian Experience also connects with your website, so you can build your database wherever your customers are.

Contact the Retail Integration team today to discuss how we can help you drive business for your visitor attraction all year round.

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