Technology Supports the Guest Experience at Cultural Attractions –

Since the pandemic, reports have shown that digital transformation across industries has been sped up by over six years. Seventy-five percent of consumers trying digital for the first time expressed they will continue its use even after the pandemic. For the cultural attraction industry specifically, these shifts suggest permanent changes in guests’ behavior regarding digital adoption. This means that customers want technology that enhances their time at your location and supports their visit before they arrive and after they leave. Here are four important ways to deliver just that. 
In today’s fast-paced digital-first world, creating technology that hands the reins over to customers to access information on their own terms is a benefit to both businesses and consumers alike. Instead of waiting in a long queue, customers can opt for self-serve options like kiosk stands or mobile ordering. 
With a mobile ordering option, delivering the food to the customer can happen in a timely and efficient manner with less room for error and overall greater customer satisfaction. Not to mention, self-serve options typically drive higher purchasing totals overall. While industry average order totals typically increase 20-30 percent with self-serve kiosks, at SSA, we’ve seen increases closer to 50 percent+ YTD through our mobile and kiosk option as opposed to a traditional POS.
It’s no secret that many consumers choose businesses for the convenience they provide. Seventy-five percent of customers who were once loyal to a brand, switched to a new brand in search of better value, availability, and convenience. For cultural attractions, providing convenience can make all the difference in whether certain customers choose to visit. The challenge is in making them aware of the easy-to-use convenience available. Doing so, however, can help reduce lines and support fulfilling orders for food and retail staff. 
Consider offering skip-the-line options for mobile food and ticket ordering and buy online, pick up in-store for retail purchases. These convenient experiences can help guests reimagine how they interact with your attraction.
Online pickup location with lockers
Providing a singular place to guide guests across their attraction journey (such as a mobile application) will also help guests plan ahead of time for the experience that works best for them. Meeting the customer where they are in their journey and providing them with what they want to see can also help ensure a seamless enjoyable experience and encourage their return visit.
“The pandemic has permanently shifted our behavior and digital adoption. Guests are more willing than ever to use digital solutions that can shift with them and provide a more convenient, seamless, and connected experience,” said Ben Dunton, SSA executive vice president of digital.
Finally, giving guests a place to share their experiences online can help reinforce your brand and give future customers a reason to visit through existing guests’ experiences. While both good and bad are shared online, offering individuals the ability to share on social media and tag your brand through “Instagram-able” moments gives you control over the types of content you are associated with. 
“More than six million people follow Cincinnati Zoo via our social channels, and we use that reach to elevate our brand and inspire others to care about wildlife,” said Chad Yelton, vice president of marketing and visitor experience at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden in Cincinnati, Ohio. “We also have an active Facebook group just for Zoo members and use that to communicate and engage with our most loyal visitors.”
“Zoo Miami connects daily with its hundreds of thousands of supporters across various social media channels. We know that our followers engage highly with our animals whether for enrichment, wellness or babies and of course video. We’ve also expanded our presence on TikTok to connect with a younger audience and participate in trends that keep our brand fresh and top of mind,” said Cindy Castelblanco, director of marketing and integrated communications at Zoo Miami in Miami, Fla.
Curious about how you can use technology to enhance your customer experience at your cultural attraction? Learn more about ways digital innovation can create a frictionless, positive experience for your guests here.  
Mobile app on phone
Photo Credit: SSA
Ben Dunton is the executive vice president digital for SSA. 
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