9 Revenue Maximisers for Visitor Attractions

Hand Coin tree The tree grows on the pile

This year, we’ve seen record-breaking web traffic for zoos, farm attractions, adventure parks, and theme parks, but alas visitor numbers haven’t followed a similar trend. It is quite clear that visitors are shopping around for value and not booking until the last minute due to unpredictable weather.

Working across various attractions gives us a unique insight into industry trends. Growth this year has come from venues who have a major new attraction (but truthfully in most cases not the usual uplift you would expect from this new investment), or growth has come by those offering extra discounts to draw in visitors. We’ve also seen growth from attractions where we have dramatically changed their marketing methods (but this isn’t really a like-for-like comparison so not fair to include).

With the Summer School Holidays around the corner, the key strategic takeaway is the need to maximise spending from those who are visiting. We’ve compiled nine proven techniques used successfully in the visitor attraction sector globally to either encourage visitors to return more often or to get visitors to spend more during their visit.

1. Summer Pass

Summer passes are excellent for locking in loyalty, offering unlimited visits for the full six weeks of Summer for a fixed price. Our research shows they are typically priced just under the cost of two tickets. Unsurprisingly, they are often purchased prior to or in the first two weeks of the six-week school break, when families get the most value.

At the end of summer, you can squeeze even more value by offering families an opportunity to pay the difference and upgrade to an annual pass. In our experience, conversion is about 10-15% of summer passes.

2. Bounce-Back Offer

If you want to encourage repeat visits without offering a summer pass, bounce-back offers are a great option. These can be automated if your ticketing partner, like Digitickets, offer automated post-visit emails.

For a bounce-back offer to be effective, it needs to be time-limited and offer a substantial discount—we suggest 50% off. This isn’t for everyone but does work.

3. Online Discounts

We have observed that visitors are increasingly making last-minute bookings, a trend exacerbated by the poor weather. They tend to visit attraction websites on the day of their visit or the night before to finalise ticket purchases, aiming to ensure they can fully utilise all available facilities.

Offering an online discount that expires the night before their visit can incentivize them to complete their transactions earlier. If you want to secure bookings further in advance, consider implementing a rainy-day guarantee or an early bird special (see point 4 and 5).

4. Rainy Day Guarantee

A Rainy-Day Guarantee can provide confidence to book online, especially during wet weather. Most guarantees allow visitors to return within 7-14 days from the date of their visit. The terms for what constitutes a rainy day vary; some attractions require 30 minutes of rain, while others leave it to the Duty Manager’s discretion.

You’ll need a process to avoid misuse. At a basic level a return ticket can be issued to include details like the date, name, and postcode which visitors need to present on their second visit along with proof of ID.

Parks offering this guarantee find they have something positive to say to customers even when it rains, and it also generates good reviews. In reality, very few return to redeem their ticket—a win-win for customer satisfaction without significantly impacting ticket yield.

Examples of terms and conditions can be found at Noah’s Ark and Big Sheep.

5. Early Bird Tickets

The Early Bird concept operates similarly to Black Friday deals or flash sales. These offers are always time-sensitive and come with significant discounts, encouraging people to purchase tickets to attractions in advance.

At Agility, we fully support Early Bird deals for all Tulleys events (Christmas Santa Experience, Pumpkin Nights, Shocktober Fest etc.). These events follow a proven strategy, purposely releasing a limited number of tickets each time to create scarcity and urgency.

The ROI on Early Bird tickets is compelling. We have compiled a few marketing case studies on Tulleys for their Christmas and Black Friday release which can be found on our website.

6. Free 7-day return

A free return proposition works well in tourism areas, emphasising huge value to those holidaying or staying in the area.

7. Limited Capacity Experiences

The zoo industry excels at providing exclusive, limited-capacity experiences for an additional fee. From feeding otters or camels to meeting meerkats or owls, the options are diverse and engaging. Similarly, theme parks offer distinctive experiences, such as walking the Big Dipper at Blackpool Pleasure Beach or exploring the exterior of the Brighton i360 tower.

What unique experiences can you offer to drive revenue, generate user-created content (UGC), and transform casual visitors into loyal ambassadors?

8. YES Ticket

This wasn’t our idea (but we do wish it was). The YES ticket is an excellent idea for family attractions who charge extra for a few items. It packages these attractions under a YES ticket upgrade, including additional features, a kids’ burger meal, and a drink.

Marketing under a YES ticket umbrella takes away the parents’ pain of having to say no, making life easier when they can say yes to their kids!

To price this effectively, determine the revenue per visitor for each element, the actual cost of offering it, and current usage. The YES ticket should be priced between £5-£10 for quick, easy decisions.

9. Pre-purchased Food and Drink Deals

Dining packages are big in the US and have started to appear in the UK at several attractions. Consider adding in ‘all you can eat’ or ‘unlimited refill’ benefits that in reality cost you very little but have huge value for the customer.

These strategies are designed to help you maximize revenue from your existing visitor base. By implementing these ideas, you can encourage repeat visits and increase spending during each visit.

Agility Marketing are a specialist marketing agency for the visitor attraction sector.

Written by Anita Waddell (MD) | Posted 24th June 2024