They said it couldn’t be done. Not in this economy. Not after COVID shut down travel. Not with these tech layoffs. But we did it.
Today we announced that RocketRez closed a $15 million USD Series B funding round with growth capital firm Level Equity.
How did we get here?
The current state of the travel and tourism industry is equal parts fragile and revolutionary. Operators are trying to innovate to keep up with customer needs, and the world at large is still trying to bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic — inflation is mounting, and investments are dwindling.
So why us? By most estimates, there are more than 150 different ticketing systems on the market, but we got funded. Not just because of strong sales and growth in all key metrics. And not just because we’re providing world-class technology for a market that’s ripe for digital transformation. And certainly not just because we’ve assembled phenomenal teams for engineering as well as providing white-glove service from account executives and customer service managers who have spent decades on the ground in the very industries they now serve.
We were funded because we’re redefining what it means to be an all-in-one platform for mid-market tours and attractions.
We have built enterprise-level technology and are making it available for the middle market, and we’re doing this with both the attraction operator and the traveler in mind. We are not category creators. We are category innovators.
By focusing on the guest through the lens of the operator, we have been able to achieve something that very few other ticketing platforms have. We are solving problems, not just providing software.
At the center of it all is data.
In tours and attractions, operators often talk about a single unit of data – the “per cap.”
Per caps is the measure of how much is spent per person. You take the total revenue from the day, divide it by the total number of people who came through admissions, and you have a dollar amount that roughly equates to the average customer value.
The problem is that you hear operators talk about per caps in admissions, and per caps in the gift shop. These are the same customers making purchases on the same day, but the operator doesn’t know it because the data isn’t connected across systems. How do you zoom out and get a robust view of a visitors’ whole experience? How do you know what’s working? How do you build new discounts, offers, and bundles that incorporate everything you have to offer?
That’s what RocketRez does. We track data from across the entire customer journey. This allows operators to deliver personalized guest experiences with confidence.
Where many other res-techs stop at ticketing, we see ticketing as just the beginning of a complete operations system. The only real way to get good data is with a set of interconnected tools for operating the business.
What does it take to be an enterprise-level platform?
To truly be a platform, there are a minimum of 10 essential systems that must be cohesive and deliver data to a centralized hub where insights can be derived and actions can be taken. The RocketRez ticketing and operations platform has all of these.
- Ticketing & Reservations — Obviously. Great ticketing is table stakes. It’s the very beginning.
- Guest Management — Call it some form of a CRM, but it’s where each and every guest is tracked – their visit and purchase history, their communications, memberships and donations.
- Pricing & Promotions — A flexible promotions engine that lets operators bundle products together, upsell ticket packages, and manage prices for every product on every channel and OTA.
- Retail Management — Merchandise and ancillary products are a significant revenue stream and branding tool for many attractions. We provide comprehensive inventory management that allows attractions to sell in their gift ship using a harmonized system with their ticketing. The ability to cross-sell retail items with online ticket purchases is one of the simplest and most effective ways to increase the average order value and can only be done with a platform that has these systems connected.
- Food & Beverage — Ticketing, retail, and food & beverage revenue all operating within the same system is a huge advantage for attractions. Pre-ordering food with the ticket purchase is becoming more commonplace. It keeps guests on-site and enjoying their experience longer and with greater reported satisfaction.
- POS — Point-of-sale hardware is the vehicle that enables on-site touchpoints between the guest and the attraction. On RocketRez, they are designed with each other’s capabilities in mind.
- Kiosks — Self-serve kiosks are often the first interaction between a guest and an attraction, and can make or break the guest experience. Ease of use is crucial. Kiosks are not just a contactless way to spend money. It can truly enhance the guest experience.
- Communication — Scheduled, triggered, and real-time email and text messages are critical at every stage of the customer journey. Communication increases sales, improves the guest experience, and delivers important, timely information to the mobile device that nearly every guest is carrying.
- Business Intelligence — Our platform guides operators to make decisions on every facet of their business, with real data and analytics modules to improve operations and the guest experience.
- And, of course, a mobile app that guides travelers through their interaction with the tour or attraction. As people are increasingly mobile (both technologically and physically) they have an entire world of information at their fingertips. They need a companion to provide real-time information about their visit to an attraction. This is RocketPASS. A mobile guest experience platform that provides guests the convenience they are looking for. At any time, visitors can google a map of a location, where to park, when to arrive, what the weather will be, and what’s on the menu. Or, you can deliver it to them with a mobile guest experience app and give them that convenience that they’re looking for.
What’s not on the list – fleet and cargo management for passenger vessels, staff scheduling and payroll, and event management, because not all of our customers need those. But for those who do, yeah, we’ve got those features too.
So that’s why RocketRez secured funding; because it is our stated mission “to enable unforgettable experiences that bring people together.” We do this by providing an end-to-end ticketing and operations platform that helps our clients succeed. Our clients succeed because they have a technology partner that is building for both them and their guests.
Where Do We Go Next?
Up. Up-market specifically.
If there’s one thing we know for sure, it’s that we are not for everyone, and that’s OK. Our platform is built for tours and attractions that have high volumes and large footprints.
We’re built for tours and ferries that operate an entire fleet of vessels. We’re built for zoos, aquariums, and wildlife parks that are spread out over many acres. We’re built for attractions that have sophisticated revenue streams made up of multiple food and beverage operations, online and on-site gift shops, and who host events with hundreds of attendees.
We’re built for tours and attractions that are looking to grow and looking for a partner they can succeed with. This is the middle-market.
We also know who we are not built for. We are not built for live stadium events like sports and concerts. There are great solutions for those. We are not built for Family Entertainment Centers. We overlap quite a bit, but there are pieces of our core platform that just don’t make sense for many of them. Of course, there are exceptions and we’re always open for a conversation, but for us, it’s just as important to know who we’re building for as who we aren’t. Maybe someday.
Another word that keeps coming up as we discuss our 2023 strategy, and the years ahead is “accelerate.” This funding is an investment in our current and future customers who have trusted us to deliver great technology.
Our primary focus is, and has always been, to listen to our customers and partners and deliver what they know will best enable unforgettable experiences. This means quality-of-life improvements to the platform that already provides valuable business outcomes. Expect dramatic additions and improvements across the board from UI and UX to long-awaited features and integrations.
Our clients also want more data. And we are in a unique place to give it to them. But of course, data is nothing without insights and the decisions it leads to. Data and insights are a fundamental value of our system and something that almost no other res-tech can provide. That’s why you’ll see us dig deep into data sciences – an area you might have already heard us talking about.
And more than anything, our clients and partners want guidance, which is why we’ll continue to hire industry experts who can bring experience and expertise to accompany the technology.
We’re here to listen. It is our absolute privilege to work with some of the world’s finest tours and attractions. We plan to do a lot more of that - at a much faster pace.