Increase Attendance and Loyalty in the Off-Season
“You don’t earn loyalty in a day. You earn loyalty day-by-day.” Jeffrey Gitomer
The holiday season is over and it is still a long time before we will see the large crowds of Spring Break and the Summer Season. When planning our Special Events much of our attention is focused on our busiest seasons for obvious reasons; increased attendance and revenue make it easy to justify extra staffing and shows. We frequently look at our “Shoulder” or Off-Season as the time to scale back our offerings. It seems to make sense; after all, we have fewer guests, but what if instead of cutting back, we choose to focus on giving back to our most loyal guests?
Last weekend I had the chance to attend the “Inside Look” event at SeaWorld, Orlando. This event allowed all guests at the park on select Saturdays and Sundays in January to enjoy special behind-the-scenes access to see Animal Care areas and to hear from SeaWorld Ambassadors who work with the animals every day. This event was open to all guests in the park but seemed designed to appeal specifically to Annual Passholders and other frequent visitors to the park. It allowed Ambassadors a chance to really connect with the guests and to show how SeaWorld lives their Mission on a daily basis. This was especially evident when we got to see the Rescue and Animal Care facilities and hear the stories of some of the animals that they have rescued.
This event was well organized and ran very smoothly. It was obvious that everything was planned to ensure a great guest experience. Each guest was given a special event map and extra signage was added throughout the park to ensure all guests could easily find each special event area.
When I spoke to some of the Ambassadors/Trainers to say thank you and to tell them how much I was enjoying the event, they made it clear that they were excited to be sharing their knowledge of and love for the animals and to be “giving back to the guests who support us all year long”.
As a guest, it made me feel really good to hear that MY support mattered and that it was noticed by the team at the park. People naturally want to spend their time (and money) in places where they feel appreciated. By acknowledging how important our frequent guests are to us and extending our thanks to them, we can actually increase their loyalty and make them want to visit even more frequently!
Have A Great Week!