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Ante Up, Attractions: How to Boost Your Revenue This Year

Updated: April 7, 2017 | Ticketing | Online Sales | Share on LinkedIn

by Don Eash, executive vice president & chief operating officer

Back when I was a kid, if you wanted to go to an amusement park or museum, you walked up to the front gate, bought your ticket and off you went to enjoy your day of fun.

But the days of venues depending on foot traffic is long gone as consumers now want to buy their tickets online from your website. On their mobile devices. And have their tickets scanned from their phones when they show up at the front gate. It’s the age of convenience that today’s consumers have come to expect.

Selling tickets online is now table stakes in the game

Yet surprisingly, our view of the industry shows that 20 to 30 percent of attractions are still not offering their customers the ability to purchase tickets online.

Those are some significantly missed revenue opportunities. Recently I was reviewing online transaction history for our customers. From 2014 to 2015, there was a 16 percent increase in overall online transactions – a very healthy growth rate. But what was even more insightful was that these transactions resulted in a 23 percent increase in revenue.

This revenue growth can be attributed to two things: 1) ticket prices naturally increase over time, and 2) the more exciting reason: consumers are opting to purchase additional products and services with their tickets such as meal plans or parking passes.

Carefully craft the online ticket buying experience

Upselling consumers at the moment when their intent to purchase is already high can yield very favorable results. More and more people want all the logistics taken care of before arriving at your front gate. By providing the right prompts throughout the buying process, you can capitalize on this. For example, did a customer purchase two adult and two children’s passes? Offer them the ability to reserve and pay for a stroller rental right away.

Another huge business benefit to capturing these dollars online is increased spending from these guests when they arrive on-site. Studies show that people who make their purchases online tend to spend more money when they’re at your attraction. Generally, ticket cost is the largest expenditure a customer will have. By having this expense disassociated from their arrival at your venue, people focus more on the experience and less on price pressure. So they’ll be more likely to buy that $25 T-shirt, $5 cotton candy and so forth.

Recognize drop-off points in the buying process

Let’s imagine you have visitors on your website, reading about the rides or exhibits you have. They’re having a good online experience and decide that they want to see how much tickets cost so they click, “BUY TICKETS.” And then something terrible happens. They feel as if they are whisked away to a different site. The colors, imagery and branding of your website have been replaced by a stark-looking screen asking them to sign in or register.

Guess what happens? They’re turned off for a multitude of reasons (something feels fishy, you’re asking for personal information and all they want is to see ticket costs) and they abandon your site. Perhaps they’ll consider another way of purchasing your tickets such as calling an 800-number and still come to your venue. But a worse outcome is that they reconsider your venue completely and go somewhere else.

You can easily overcome this pitfall by ensuring the transition from being a “site visitor” to a “shopper” is a seamless experience. Ensure the branding from your website carries over to your “web store” and provide shoppers what they are interested in seeing: what your tickets or special packages cost. Then as they move through the purchase process, ask for the information needed to complete the transaction.

Another potential drop-off point is when the final price is presented. We’ve seen online stores that show the total cost in large text at the top of the page. Worse yet, in red. This is a surefire way to put the brakes on a purchase.

Ultimately, you want to draw attention to the value a guest is receiving versus the price they are paying. Structure your checkout page so that you’re highlighting the value of each ticket and other purchased products and services then have your total at the bottom, in a regular-size font.

Know that selling online is now more affordable than ever

Up until recently, cost has been one of the biggest barriers to venues selling online, especially smaller attractions. But nowadays, there are options to be up and running quickly and with minimal upfront cost and a per-transaction fee model. To offset these fees, attractions often pass them onto the consumer through convenience or service fees.

Get started today

There’s a great quote from an anonymous source: “The best way to get something done is to begin.” Now go out there and find the online selling solution that will open up a new revenue stream for your venue and take your profits to new heights.

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