5 Steps to Becoming Your Attraction’s Data Rockstar
Updated: November 30, 2017 | Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn
by Dave Langran, Principal, Arts & Heritage
Most organisations collect volumes of visitor data. But is it the right data? Does it drive the business forward? Can it be used to strengthen ongoing relationships with key visitor groups?
To confidently be able to say “yes” to all these questions, follow these five steps for developing your data acquisition strategy and setting up your venue for success.
- Plan your strategy
- Identify the relevant data
- Communicate context and intended use
- Maintain the data you collect
- Manage data and strategy on an ongoing basis
1. Plan your visitor data strategy
The first step is to clarify the outcomes you want. Are you looking for aggregated metrics about visitor numbers over time? Or will you use the data to enable visitor engagement on a personalised, one-to-one basis? Your organisation will derive the greatest value when visitor data provides insight to drive engagement and build relationships. The associated metrics will be a happy by-product of meeting your data needs for the visitor journey.
With a clear outcome in mind, actively develop your data acquisition strategy. Identify what data to capture, when to capture such data (context is critical), and via which visitor touchpoint. Align all data capture and visitor touchpoints. These decisions form the basis of a high-quality visitor data acquisition strategy.
2. Identify relevant data and sources
Visitor data comes via a wide variety of sources – Wi-Fi signups, your website, online ticket and membership sales, telephone enquiries and bookings, walk-up face-to-face interactions, feedback surveys and many others.
Identify the relevant data, based on the outcomes identified by your organisation.
- Transaction data – who is purchasing or using which of your products and services.
- Demographic information – location, age group, group type (for example, individual, family, senior), etc. This type of data is invaluable to identify which visitors in which categories are doing what and when.
- Personal data – name, email address, telephone number, interests, Personal data gives you the ability to segment and personalise ongoing communications with specific visitor groups.
- Emotional data (harder to get yet very valuable) – what do your visitors feel about your attraction and other, more general aspects of life, that may impact their engagement with you and your attraction.
Collect only the specific data needed to meet your goals. This is a best practise every organisation can adopt and is imperative for organisations in Europe or those doing business with European customers given the upcoming EU General Data Protection Regulation.
3. Communicate with your visitors
Be clear with your visitors about the data you collect and your motivation. Individuals will gladly give their data – if they understand why you are asking and how you will use it. In Europe, disclosure is a legal requirement. In any area of the world, explaining the context and use of the data you collect is good business. If a visitor values their relationship with your attraction, the data you request should be forthcoming.
4. Maintain data accuracy
Now that you have visitor data be sure it remains accurate and up to date. Ask your visitor to confirm what you already know when you next engage with them. For visitors you have not interacted with in some time, surveys can be an excellent way to keep their data up to date and accurate. Bulk data cleansing and augmentation services are available – principally based on geographic information – and should be used where appropriate.
5. Manage usage and policy
Appoint a visitor (customer) data officer to establish a data management strategy. Your visitor data officer will be responsible for the ongoing capture, management and usage policy. Not only is this recommended practise for visitor-centric attractions (or any business who values engagement with their customers), it is a legal requirement in some jurisdictions.
Capturing and using quality visitor data need not be a burdensome task. If done the right way – with informed visitors who understand how the data will be used to their advantage – you can acquire and maintain data to the benefit of all parties. If your visitors do not understand why the data is being requested and its intended use, the opposite will apply.
Be clear and transparent about your data management strategy and your visitors will work with you. They will give you the data you need, when you need it, and in a format that can be used for the benefit of all.
Collecting, maintaining and managing visitor data is not easy – it takes hard work – but in the end, high-quality visitor data will become an invaluable asset to your attraction.