Part One: Let's Get Packaging!
When the Luxor Hotel Casino opened in October 1993, it was the 12th largest hotel in the world and billed by some as the "coolest hotel in the world." It opened with attractions too-there was a Nile River Tour that traveled along the parameter of the casino, a replica of King Tut's Tomb (which opened in late November), and trilogy of attractions which included a simulator ride, a multimedia presentation, and a giant-screen theater experience. It was quite a mouthful to offer so we began to package these exciting attractions together as the Passport to Adventure. A cool name that included even cooler attractions inside of the coolest hotel in the world. As a result, we sold thousands and thousands of Passport to Adventure packages over the years.
Why does packaging work so well? That is the million-dollar question...and depending on the volume of sales at your attraction, one million dollars or more might just be what you get from adding a well-designed package as your banner offering. Below are five key components you will need to consider when designing an effective package at your front gate:
- What's in a name? Everything! A package's name is, in essence, it's identify. The right name gives a package the curb appeal it needs to attract buyers and, just like with any other product, you've only got a couple of seconds to get the buyer's attention. That's why a package's name is so important. In my very first issue of Monday Morning with Marty, I shared how intuitive naming can help the buyer to quickly understand key points that pertain to the product (click here to read the article again). Package names should be fun, catchy, and creative but while these things are important, it's even more important that the package name be clear and intuitive. At Luxor, we chose the name Passport to Adventure as a way of communicating a few key pieces of information to our guests. First, the word Passport evokes anticipation that we're going on a journey. Second, the word Adventure tells us that this is going to be exciting. Together, the combination of the words Passport to Adventure had the curb appeal to make it our top-selling package.
- What's in the box? These are the experiences, privileges, and other benefits that are included in the package. A well-designed package must have the right mix of inclusions and they must be aligned with each of your attraction's most popular guest profiles. If, for example, you run a zoo that includes a train ride, petting coral, and zip lines, you would most certainly want to include these items in your package offerings. However, it wouldn't make much sense to bundle zip lining and the train ride but to leave out the petting coral. Also, since zip lining is generally targeted at an older age bracket, zip lining might not appeal to (or even be available for) younger children who would ride the train. Without a careful analysis of each of your common guest profiles, you'll end up presenting packages to guests that, simply put, fall flat. Inclusions must be useful to the targeted guest.
- What's in it for me? Is this a special experience? Is it exclusive? Can I post a selfie on Instagram once I'm done? These are the questions that our guests will ask themselves when considering how a package will affect them. When I took my parents on an exclusive 2-hour behind the scenes tour at Jungle Island in Miami, we had no idea what to expect. We were engaged, educated, and immersed in a jungle-like adventure that I've never experienced anywhere else in my lifetime. We played with Lemurs, fed Sloths, and my dad actually held a 20-foot long python as it wrapped itself around his body. This was truly a memory that neither they, nor I, will soon forget.
- How does it make me feel? Get emotional! There's nothing more powerful and important than connecting emotionally with the buyer towards the purchase of the product. This is package's personality--it's the wow, the intrigue, and the desire of experience! Packages sell when we can connect emotionally with the buyer. Also, a well-designed package makes it easier to market. I love using the example of Discovery Cove in Orlando to illustrate this idea. Think of the emotion that is evoked in this photo. Doesn't that just elicit a sense of wonderment and awe? The key here is to demonstrate participation in the activity. In this case, the child is enjoying an up-close and personal interaction with a bottlenose dolphin which elicits the response: "What a fantastic experience...it's something my family simply must do!"
- What's the value? Price plays an important role in the value component of your package. Well-designed packages reflect some element of savings when compared with the total cost of the package inclusions if they were to be purchased separately. But that's only one small piece of the value component. Have you ever seen the game show, The Price Is Right? The whole idea of this show is to elicit best-guesses from the contestants on what the retail price of a particular product might be. Contestants are introduced to the product--name of the product, product description, features and benefits--and from that, they make their best educated guess on the price. A well-designed package works much the same. The package name and inclusions serve to justify price. If your package is chock full of useful inclusions that sound exciting and evoke emotion, you've got a winner!
- On May 4th at 10 AM, join me for Part One of my three-part webinar series--Package, Promote, and Prosper! In Part One, we'll explore each of the concepts that we've touched on above in much greater detail and I will share real-world examples that you can implement right away. Click here to register for this exclusive event and start transforming your front gate now!