Effective Channel Management
A single source of inventory between sales channels (online, point-of-sale and OTA) gives operators the industry’s most flexible revenue engine to bring new offers to life.
The main reason companies do not realize the full value of new sales channels is that their legacy software, or grouping of point solutions, does not share live inventory. This creates additional work because operators must now become experts at allocating the appropriate amount of product to different channels at the right times and right prices.
One RocketRez customer remarked that their legacy system was unable to draw from the same bank of tickets between online sales, in-person point-of-sale, and OTAs. Due to the wide seasonality and variation in weather in the tours and attractions space, it created a constant need to monitor potential overselling, and gave them a virtual guarantee that on any given day, they could never truly sell out.
This use case is especially powerful for operators who run tours with fixed capacity and have a heavy reliance on OTAs, concierge, and referrals. The composite organization showed that having to allocate fixed amounts of inventory to their channels resulted in 10% under booking of their highest demand tours and missing out on last-minute bookings, call-ins and walkups.
Increasing Average Order Value
Ticketing, retail and food & beverage together makes upselling and cross-selling online easy, and additional modules provide an opportunity to bring new offers to the market.
Tour and attraction operators are in a unique position. Having a variety of products and a large physical footprint, with multi-use spaces gives operators a backdrop to not only sell additional products such as retail and food & beverage, but to bundle these products creatively in a way that increases the value of every purchase while also providing value to the guest experience.
Creating bundles, packages, and big-ticket items:
- VIP experiences
- Adding dinner
- Adding retail items
- Adding insurance
- Adding parking
- Multi-use passes
Expanding product lines with additional modules:
- Food and beverage
- Private events
- Educational tours
- Pop-up restaurants
The composite organization showed an average increase in order value of 30% through online upselling with an industry average 1% conversion rate upselling online, adding meaningful bottom line to their organization.
Upselling on site converts at 7 times the rate to upselling in the web engine. Customers will allocate separate budgets for advance ticket purchase and the day-of visit.
Whether an operator is looking to upsell their experience or cross-sell other products, delivering a timely upsell via SMS while a customer is on site converts at a rate of 7x the online upsell will. This is because of “mental accounting”.
Mental accounting is the habit of setting aside a budget for multiple items you want to invest in, and arranging them in “buckets”. The composite organizations’ customers are creating buckets for how much they want to spend on tickets, how much they want to spend at the gift shop, how much they want to spend on food and drinks, and more. Each bucket provides a new opportunity for an operator, at each step in their customer journey to increase the order value.
This is great for operators, as customers have likely paid for their tickets in advance, and are drawing from a whole other “bucket” on the day of the event. The RocketPass mobile web app allows the composite organization to reap the rewards of mental accounting with timely upsell offers and simplified payment while the guest is on site.
Increasing Online Conversions
The industry average online conversion rate for tours and attractions is a paltry 0.3%, compared with a 1-3% conversion rate across other sectors of online sales and eCommerce. Why do customers buy tours and activities at 1/10th the rate they buy products?
Several factors combine to create these conditions, including sticker shock, last-minute booking, chance of cancellation, and the paradox of choice for what to do on vacation. In addition to all these factors, many online ticket sales engines do not have a user-friendly user interface which leads to more abandoned carts and dropped conversions.
There is tremendous white space for operators to increase revenue by building the muscle of modern eCommerce and optimizing their online ticket sales engine to convert at a higher rate.
RocketRez has tackled this issue by addressing the root causes of dropped conversions with the following bespoke online tools to strengthen the sales funnel at every key touchpoint:
Web ticket sales optimized for mobile purchasing makes a world of difference.
Consider the following statistics:
- 70% of tour and attraction customers do research on their smart phone.
- 72% of mobile bookings happen within 48 hours of last-minute Google searches that include the words ‘tonight’ and ‘today’.
Mobile conversion rates are roughly half of desktop conversion rates.
Customers search for things to do at the last minute on their phones and tablets, and quite simply have a hard time deciding. The paradox of choice is real. The RocketRez composite organization is competing with all other local events in marquee destination cities.
The mobile buying experience must be smooth to the point of delightful, with rich content and imagery. Any friction in the checkout can prove detrimental to conversion.
The RocketRez web engine is among the most flexible and customizable available from top ticketing platforms. It can be designed in a way that is on brand and follows best practices for online selling on any device.
Abandoned cart tools and ticket insurance included in the web engine play on customer psychology to increase revenue.
Many factors are working to cause customers not to complete purchases they seemingly want to make (and have the budget for). Travel and tourism businesses have one of the highest abandoned cart rates of any industry in online sales.
Great operators focus on what they can control by using well-timed offers to ease purchase anxiety and rekindle any lost enthusiasm for the purchase. These strategies can be implemented by any operator and boost the bottom line in a meaningful way.
Customers abandon carts an astonishing 70% of the time. Abandoned cart reminders through email and SMS are a staple of many eCommerce websites, but are underutilized by tour and attraction operators. Cart abandonment features can add back an additional 15% of purchases on average and are regarded as a great feature by many customers.
Dynamic Ticket Price Adjustments
Adjusting prices to match market demand has reached its tipping point and is now proliferating across the travel sector to tours and attractions promoting time-based, limited capacity ticket sales.
Dynamic pricing practices had long been exclusive to airlines and other transportation, and hotels – major corporations who were able to develop the technology and who had a sales model that would fit the methodology. It was like this for decades, and an unsuspecting public never really questioned why the cost of their flight would change day by day, or potentially minute by minute.
To be fair, some forward-thinking tour operators have been doing this manually for years – looking at how fast their tickets have sold, the weather, nearby competing events and arduously updating the price of each ticket for each tour to meet the demand and take a guess at what their customers would be willing to pay.
As the trend goes in technology, the enterprise level custom-built software has become productized and made available for the mid-market.
Whether using the native dynamic pricing features or the integration with Digonex, RocketRez customers can automate and perfect their dynamic pricing strategy.
Customers who implement the practice can see an average of 9.6% lift in ticket revenue in the first year. This works both by increasing ticket prices for rapidly selling tours and time-slots, and conversely, dropping prices when demand is low due to extraneous factors.
Net New Revenue
Positive reviews are the gas that drives increased web traffic and increased visits.
It is known that 92% of visitors consult and make decisions on where to go largely based on information from online reviews. What’s important to note is that reviews also influence discovery, the step before purchase, and a lot of high-quality reviews increase a tour or attraction’s visibility in the customer’s search engine.
Reviews on third-party sites like Google, Trip Advisor, Yelp and others provide benefits in search engine optimization, with backlinks from these high authority sites. For this reason, reviews provide great local SEO, increasing website ranking especially for in-destination travelers.
User generated reviews provide valuable social proof and lead to a higher conversion on ticket sales. The data is clear when it comes to how important reviews are to traffic and conversion rate:
- 92% of consumers will hesitate to buy a product if there are no reviews left by customers.
- 97% of consumers report that the customer reviews they read influence their purchasing decisions.
- 95% of all travelers read online reviews before booking.
Think of this much like a flywheel, where great experiences beget great reviews, which leads to more web traffic and conversions.
The key to getting more reviews is simple - just ask. Specifically, just ask at the right time, as customers are leaving your site and the magic is still in the air.
RocketRez enables operators to pre-program text messages to be sent requesting an online review once a customer leaves the site. The results speak for themselves, as tour and attractions customers get 24 more reviews per month, or 288 additional reviews per year using strategic SMS communication tools enabled by Twilio and TourOpp Go! integrations within the platform. This equates to a 15% increase in reviews, which in turn enhances customer discoverability through search.
Repeat visits increase massively when strategic communication is included.
Much like reviews, the key to securing a repeat visit (and pre-paid revenue) is simply to ask at the right time. Best-in-class operators expand their definition of “repeat visits” to include any commitment by a customer to purchase another ticket, even if it is for a different person. To generate meaningful additional revenue, operators should be sending their customers well-timed SMS offers not just to come back, but also for another activity, to refer a friend, to purchase a voucher, or to purchase a gift card.
Within the composite organization, roughly 7% of people who were messaged by TourOpp Go! purchased one of these options, using strategic tools to do so.
To get customers to spend more, don’t lengthen their stay - maximize the productivity of their visit using mobile tools.
Review sites indicate people recommend roughly 4 hours at any given attraction, however, the median time spent waiting in line at an attraction (accounting for differing traffic levels) is 2 hours. That means customers are spending half of their time in line. The truth is, to sell more on-site, best practices suggest not to increase the customer time on site, but rather to make it more efficient and profitable.
76% of customers want mobile apps for queueing, ordering, operator updates, and personal itineraries to help guide them through their day on-site. With a mobile upselling conversion rate of 7%, tour and attraction businesses generate significant additional revenue by upselling on-site (significantly more than upselling in the web engine).
An integrated tech stack works like magic for data capture and reporting on customer activity.
Operators accustomed to managing several different point solutions for each function of their business, or running on an outdated on-premises system, miss out on the ability to maintain one consistent record of a customer. This creates challenges to make decisions on how to improve the guest experience.
It comes down to data. Many operators rely on simple equations to measure performance over a time frame, for example “per caps”, which is the total revenue divided by the number of guests. This presents limitations to operators looking to grow their business, because the equation does not link the effectiveness of any individual input to a monetary output. Everything is blended into one outcome.
- How many customers responded to SMS upselling?
- What upselling offer converted best?
- Which conversion was most profitable?
- What behavior indicates likelihood to become a member? Or donor?
Multiple parameter reporting insights from total customer journey data:
- Across cohorts: Morning guests vs. Afternoon, Families vs. Couples
- Across product lines: Total customer value across all digital and on-site purchases
- Attribution: Customer satisfaction based on what communications they received
Strategic communication helps convert more customers into members.
It has been shown that the lifetime value of a customer who has purchased a membership is up to 4.5x the value of one who has not. The RocketRez composite organization relies heavily on its most loyal supporters as brand ambassadors and, in some cases, donors. A memberships program, with software tools to enable it, is a key driver of predictable revenue.
Members need to be acquired, nurtured, and renewed year-over-year in order to have a program that delivers compounding value. Every communication with one-time visitors is an opportunity to convert a new membership. The RocketRez platform and associated data is highly adept at delivering timely communications for this purpose.
RocketRez drives the most business value in the member acquisition phase, judging the success of a memberships program by the member conversion rate (how many guests the composite was able to convert into members). The composite organization delivers a 0.7% conversion rate on total visitors (some exceptional customers convert above 1.5%) adding compounding recurring revenue growth to the organization.
The composite organization supplements formal fundraising efforts by thinking about donations as if they were tickets or products, and working to increasing conversions.
Many RocketRez verticals are education, conservation, or social mission-driven. They have close ties to philanthropic organizations in their community, and expert teams to help drive and allocate their contributed revenue to give the best return on investment. This is work that needs to be done by a capable human being, building great business relationships.
RocketRez customers enjoy a supplemental lift to these efforts by wrapping transactional donations seamlessly into the purchase process to drive new contributed revenue, on autopilot.
The key to driving transactional donations is the same as driving ticket or eCommerce conversions. Operators must manage the purchase process to improve conversions by eliminating friction from their checkout. In addition, they must provide a range of options; from rounding up to the nearest dollar to open ended amounts.
The simplified roundup feature and tiered donation levels - often a $1, $5, $10, $25, or open-ended option - can be implemented on any online or point-of-sale checkout. When presented this way, transactional donations convert for the composite organization at a rate of 9.78%, with an average donation of $2.56 USD, adding meaningful contributed revenue to the composite organization fundraising efforts.
Events are free advertising for the attraction and the guest experience. With significant exposure to a new audience, this can have an exponential effect on repeat visits.
Many of the RocketRez target verticals supplement their core offerings with private events. The RocketRez platform includes a complete event management module for selling event packages and managing vendors. With that, there is an opportunity to drive compounding value by using events to generate repeat visits.
The many customers attending a wedding or business function, having a great experience, and taking lots of pictures for social media, are being planted with the idea of bringing their families to visit or hosting their own event there one day. Be it a wedding attendee who decides to buy a venue membership for their kids, or a guest at a corporate event who refers the venue to their employer, best in class operators ensure that they nurture all event guests with opted-in personalized communications to generate repeat visits. This can include social media, email lists, personalized SMS, and other guest communication tools available on the RocketRez platform.
Using guest communication tools generates additional visits at the overall repeat visit rate of 7% for the composite organization, adding significant additional revenue over the course of a year.