The Maui Ocean Center is the largest living tropical reef aquarium in the Western Hemisphere. Featuring many exotic Hawaiian fish species, it is a tourist destination and a place where families can have a fun and educational day. However, the team aspires to be more than just a one-day experience.
Maui Ocean Center envisions an ecosystem where the customer journey is a lifelong experience, powered by innovative technology that connects the visitor to the island.
General Manager Tapani Vuori has an ambitious vision for the future of Maui tourism. He believes the power of a fully connected experience will move customers toward a lifelong relationship.
With the Hawaiian Islands providing the backdrop, he sees it as a place for a family to gather and grow together through the years.
The team has created or partnered with many philanthropic projects and organizations to help provide a deeper meaning and appreciation for the Hawaiian Islands.
“The old paradigm of travel and tourism is changing. Younger people are truly more purpose driven. The hokey vision of what tourists have to do on vacation is becoming obsolete. We have a lot longer range vision of the customer journey. If they only come here once, I have failed.” – Tapani Vuori, General Manager
To Tapani, the customer journey begins before the decision has even been made to come to Maui and does not end - but instead is passed down through generations.
To realize this vision, the MOC needed to modernize their software to connect with people on a broader scope, utilize more data points and aim to delight at every point of the customer journey.
RocketRez is thrilled to partner with them to bring this vision to life. On November 1, 2021, they launched phase I of their operations with RocketRez providing their website, online travel agent, and in-person ticketing.
Phases II and III will include expanding to the gift shop and food and beverage with shared inventory across all channels.
A common situation we see with many attraction operators is that they implement separate point solutions for each facet of their operation.
Ticketing, retail, food and beverage and marketing each run separately. The systems do not communicate with each other. This stops many operators from realizing a modern, overarching vision of their customer journey.
“When I started, we were not doing online ticketing. We were using a retail inventory system. We switched to [an online provider], but it took 3 and a half minutes to process a customer, and it's not scalable. It created extra labor demands. My focus is trying to automate and make things run more efficiently. This is the appeal that RocketRez has.” – Tapani Vuori, General Manager
When these functions are separate, even a best-in-class point solution won’t allow you to save time, gather cross-functional data or bundle offers in a natural way. Crafting a modern experience will feel like “fitting a square peg in a round hole”. This was the MOC’s experience through the years as they explored various providers.
“We needed a solution that is seamless, scalable and has integrations. API integration with OTAs and ecommerce is very important. [We want to] bring all these pieces together.”
Operationally, housing all your core business functions in one system does wonders for management, because a single source of truth for data leads to better insight – and more confidence to make decisions.
“When we do a transaction in any of the areas (ticketing, retail, food and beverage) it drops the revenue in the correct accounting bucket on the back end. It has an integration with our CRM. We need a lot of visibility in data sets, and in the past, it's been ‘garbage in, garbage out’. I want us as an organization to become much more intelligent about how we look at data and how we allocate resources based on this data.” – Tapani Vuori, General Manager
When all data is cleaned and presented effectively, forward-thinking leaders can move to embrace the future of work.
“Everything is integrated in one single platform. Eventually I would like to run the platform from a remote location, with my own KPI and metrics dashboard that I can follow. I think RocketRez is the piece of the puzzle that allows us to move our organization in that direction.” – Tapani Vuori, General Manager
The Maui Ocean Center requires two decisions from their customer. Of course, the customer must decide to visit the aquarium. But first, they must decide to visit Maui. Influencing the initial travel decision will set the MOC apart.
“We want to become part of the decision-making tree for families to come to Maui. If we do things right, they will visit our brand several times before they physically come here. They sign up for newsletters, read blogs and follow us on social media. Then when they are here, since we know people spend an average time here of 7.82 days, I want them to visit the first or second day, and it will set the tone for their entire visit. We have a high rate of return visitors.” – Tapani Vuori, General Manager
Tapani also praised RocketRez for their custom development mentality.
“I am impressed by [your] company and team’s willingness to be solutions driven. You tell us that, within reason, whatever you need - we'll make it happen.” – Tapani Vuori, General Manager
The next phase of development is connecting other providers in Maui. As the old saying goes, the rising tide lifts all boats. Tapani envisions bundling offers with other experience providers in the area – making Maui more connected and benefitting everyone in the process.
“If we can create an ecosystem where everything is connected in real time, this is the next generation as far as I’m concerned.” – Tapani Vuori, General Manager