DRIVE MORE TRAFFIC: Best Practices for Getting More People in the Door

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That's the goal. Successful organizations understand the power that proper marketing and effective promotions have on driving higher attendance. To accomplish this, we must first get our guests' attention. The message must be clear, concise, exciting, and compelling. It needs to grab their attention, get them to visit, and ultimately drive more traffic. Then, once they decide to visit, we need to keep them engaged and maximize their enjoyment during their visit. Finally, we must follow up with them post-visit to ensure that they had a great time and will return soon. The key to success rests with our ability to engage and market effectively through all three stages of our guest’s visit.

In today’s issue, we will focus on the pre-visit experience and the ways Marketing can play their part:

Hold Quality Special Events.

A strong lineup can make a huge difference. To drive higher attendance, the special events that we offer must resonate with the target demographic. You can offer anything from concerts and food & wine festivals to haunted houses and holiday parties. The key is to target the correct demographic and to connect on an emotional level.

A great example of this is Walt Disney World.  They are a master of special events. Their seasonal events have become iconic, must-see events that drive tremendous attendance. Here is just a sample of their programming:

  • Night of Joy @ The Magic Kingdom (September)
  • Food & Wine Festival @ EPCOT (September – October)
  • Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween @ The Magic Kingdom (September – October)
  • Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party @ The Magic Kingdom (November – December)
  • Festival of the Holidays @ EPCOT (November – December)
  • Flower & Garden Show @ EPCOT (March – April)
  • Marathon Weekends throughout Walt Disney World (select weekends throughout the year)

There is so much opportunity throughout the year to drive traffic using special events as a promotional vehicle.

Added Value/Exclusive Offers.

Universal Orlando does a great job of driving traffic during the shoulder periods. For example, from February – April, they hold their annual Mardi Gras event. This event includes weekend concerts, a parade, and unique food and beverage options. While this event certainly drives a nice spike in attendance, the greater purpose is to expand the annual pass-holder base. During this time, Universal doesn’t discount their annual pass products to drive higher sales. Instead, they offer each of their annual pass products with an additional 3-months FREE.  (FREE is always good!) As a result, locals spend more during the slower season—FREE concerts, FREE months—more annual pass holders.

Use Social Media to Drive Exposure.

Last spring, at a small animal park in Harpursville, New York, a female reticulated giraffe named April made history as she gave birth, live on YouTube. The events of her late stage pregnancy and subsequent birth went viral, drawing 1.2 million views at the time of labor. By the time the feed was shut off, April and her young calf had received more than 200 million views on YouTube. Moreover, the park’s Go Fund Me page had raised $135,000 by the time the calf was born.

Quality content grabs their attention...and no one is better positioned to create it than our industry. Think about it. Zoos can post images of adorable bear cubs taking a bottle. Amusement parks capture on-ride footage of that scary new roller coaster.  Science Museums broadcast the opening ceremony for that cool new dinosaur exhibit. Link any of these cool events on your social media page and you've got it made. You'll generate interest and engage more of your future visitors. That is truly the ticket to drive more traffic and to get more people in the door.

The goal of content marketing is to create content that people actually want to read/view. If you're being blatantly promotional, there's a good chance your content marketing efforts are falling flat.

- John Rampton

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