A Richer Guest Experience

lose your eyes. Think of your favorite zoo, aquarium, museum, theme park, or attraction – the one you love the most. Now, imagine taking your family there and you get to oversee planning their day. Money is no object and you can purchase the passes/packages, services, experiences, and any ancillaries that you feel will make the day wonderful. What will you choose to do?

Now that you’ve have formed the picture of what the day will entail, imagine that you’ve spent the entire day with your family. You got to see and do all your favorite rides, shows, and experiences. You are in the parking lot walking to your car. How was the day? What is your family thinking? How was the value of your experience?

The official definition of value is “A fair return or equivalent in money, goods or services for something exchanged”. There are 5 additional secondary definitions which attempt to pinpoint the exact concept as to the question of value. But, whether we have delivered on our commitment to provide the value in a richer guest experience or not, can be answered in the responses of our guests as they exit the facility: “Wow! That was worth it…” and “I had an amazing time!” or “When are we coming back?” Delivering on a richer experience is the underlying factor that distinguishes a successful attraction from an attraction that’s “mediocre” and “just okay…”

In today’s Case Study, we share our work with Jungle Island and how we helped to infuse value into their overall guest experience.

Case Study

Our client, Jungle Island, had a value problem. It was the summer of 2014, and the park’s TripAdvisor scores could not have been worse. They were ranked 44th in ‘things to do in Miami’ and many reviews were not kind. But upon closer inspection, something deeper was going on – despite the bad reviews, some people were rating the park 5 stars, and there was a theme – value. Many high ratings correlated with amazing (and costly) VIP tours and Lemur engagements. To increase guest happiness and satisfaction (and the TripAdvisor ratings), we needed to bring that same value to the masses who had purchased basic general admission.

We completed a comprehensive analysis of the park’s product mix which included a review of their local and national comp set. Then, we came back with recommendations to package value-added experiences at affordable rates to our value-minded guests. Two of the packages we sold were just $5 more than General Admission, but that was all that it took. We introduced the parks sales associates to Five Star Sales and Service behaviors. Now, they were proactive advocates of both the park and its array of engaging experiences.

The results were dramatic. Park guests began purchasing those new packages in droves. In fact, on many days, the percentage of package sales increased to well over 50% of the total general admission sales.

And the guests raved. These minor additions to the guest experience were just enough to engage the guest and transform their experience. Oh, and those TripAdvisor reviews? They reflected the dramatic shift, and the parks rating rose from 44th to the teens… and then to the tens.

Take Aways

  1. Value is the justification for price
  2. The best product mix resonates with a wide range of guests and needs.
  3. Variety is good…and so is simplicity
  4. It’s always best to stay grounded to metrics like guest experience reviews, and to respond accordingly.