Ante Up, Attractions: How to Boost Your Revenue This Year
Blog | February 10, 2016
Updated: November 26, 2018 | Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn
by Matthew Hoenstine, Principal, Destinations
Generally, we focus on products and attractions as ways to grow revenue and too often fail to think of systems and processes as ways to make money. That being said, we don’t want to throw every process possible at our operation, we need to make sure that not only does it make financial sense but it also is right for our guests and our employees.
Access control is one area where a bit more structure via an automated validation mechanism generally ticks the box in all three categories. By leveraging a system to determine the validity of a ticket you’re able to reduce employee training, increase your ability to differentiate products and increase distribution methods, reduce ticket fraud and have more rich data automatically collected.
Each year attractions hire thousands of seasonal workers to prepare for the influx of visitors during peak visitation periods. For venues that are asking their employees to validate tickets, they need to provide in-depth training on what they need to be looking for and how to make the appropriate decision. In these situations, it’s important for new employees to understand the entitlements and the look of the various types of memberships or annual passes, how to determine if a ticket is for an Adult or Child, and how to verify if a ticket has already been used.
By leveraging an access control system, you can configure rules for each ticket to aid in proper validation. In addition to reducing the amount of training (and training dollars), you can achieve consistent handling of admissions and eliminate any confusion that can turn into a negative guest experience.
When you don’t validate tickets via a computerized system, you are limited in the ways you can distribute tickets as well as the differentiation in your offerings. While it’s easy to spot a legitimate ticket printed on special, difficult-to-reproduce ticket stock, it’s not as easy when a guest presents a ticket on their mobile device or a print-at-home ticket. Because these could be easily reproduced, you might be inclined to preclude these types of tickets from your offering.
You also need to balance the number of products you have with the time required to make a manual determination at the front entrance. Without an automated system, you might decide not to offer partial-day tickets (such as valid beginning at 4 p.m.) or other variations due to the complexity of enforcement.
By curtailing your distribution and product lines in this fashion, you’re leaving money on the table. Limited forms of ticket distribution also affect the guest experience as it creates barriers to their coming to your attraction. For example, guests who pre-purchase tickets online may need to stop and pick up their tickets at the front gate rather than receiving them at the time of purchase. By limiting the variation of your products, you lose out on opportunities for niche or promotional markets.
Another consideration is fraud. The more successful your attraction is, the more fraudsters will look to take a piece of the action. If you were to search the internet for “theme park ticket fraud,” you will find many posts of sly individuals selling bogus tickets to consumers. And how is the fraud detected? The majority of the time it’s because that attraction is validating tickets electronically.
Without this validation process, many of these situations would have gone unnoticed and would, ultimately, have become lost revenue. This is not to say that ticket validation prevents all fraud. But it certainly does reduce it. You’ll find that counterfeiters will find it much less opportunistic to reproduce your tickets, and employees less likely to take used or returned tickets and attempt to resell them.
Another benefit of an electronic access control system is the data you’ll obtain. You can literally know how many people are entering your facility at any moment – and use that information in a multitude of ways.
Having an accurate guest count in your attraction is critical for safety reasons and for measuring the performance of in-park revenue opportunities. Understanding your hourly in-park attendance versus your hourly in-park revenue will help you understand how well your efforts are working on driving per attendee spending. With ticket redemption data, you are also better able to recognize the revenue associated with the ticket and other complete measurements like time between purchase and use for your online sales.
I would highly encourage you to begin looking at your systems and processes to take the steps toward validating your tickets with an access control solution. You’ll find financial benefit in the form of reduced training for new hires, more flexibility with your products and distribution channels, reduced fraud and more data at your fingertips to drive your business forward.
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