Time is Money: Five ways to grow revenue by selling time

Time is Money: Five ways to grow revenue by selling time


Remember that time is money. He that can earn ten shillings a day by his labor, and goes abroad, or sits idle one half of that day, though he spends but sixpence during his diversion or idleness, it ought not to be reckoned the only expense; he hath really spent or thrown away five shillings besides.

--Ben Franklin

TIME IS MONEY. I've always appreciated that phrase-especially when it's my own free time that is being wasted. Whether I'm standing in line at the DMV or at the Walmart check stand, I think quietly to myself, "there has got to be a better way." In our science centers, zoos, aquariums, and attractions, there is.

Let's face it, our guests' time is valuable and many are willing to pay more if it will get them a more valuable experience. Yet, oftentimes, we fail to meet our guests' needs and wants for convenience, exclusivity, and value. Time is an essential factor within the formula of successful revenue management. To some extent, we can provide better service by 'staffing up' when we anticipate more visitors to our parks. We can add show times, extend park hours, and provide additional experiences like summer concerts and special events that are designed to add value and increase our guests' time with us. It's a well-known fact that the longer they stay, the more they spend.

When they visit, our guests might seem like they're in a hurry to get through as quickly as possible--the fact is that most guests want a quality experience-but they simply may not have a lot of time. These guests will pay more for a richer, more expanded, and in many cases, quicker experience. Below are five revenue opportunities that may just move the needle at your zoo, aquarium, or attraction.

Preferred Parking. If you aren't already, you should be charging a fee for parking. This is a commonly accepted practice now and creates an additional revenue stream for your facility. Further, by designate the rows and spaces nearest to your front gate as preferred parking, you are able to provide your guests with the added convenience of parking closer, walking less, and spending more time inside of your park. You should price these premium parking spots at 25%-50% more than your standard rate.

Early Entry / Extra Hours. Allow a select subset of your guests to enter an hour or two earlier than your standard opening time. They get free reign of the facility and are able to enjoy more of it without the crowds.

Priority seating/VIP seating. If you've got shows and viewings with limited seating capacity, you can charge a premium for your best seats. Oftentimes, these are also the guests who get called on as a volunteer or for audience participation sketches. What a great way to enhance the experience for your guests in time-crunch by saving their seat.

Priority entry into rides and attractions. Virtual queues have come a long way in the last 10-15 years. Today, there are many new and exciting technologies available that allow you to save your space in line and to reclaim time. In addition to the big players like Universal and Disney, many water parks are using similar services and technology to accomplish this.

VIP/Behind the Scenes Tours. Create tours that allow your guests to enter back-of-house areas and to experience your facility in unique and exclusive ways. For example, at Jungle Island in Miami, they offer a 2 ½ hour tour that is packed full of value, adventure, and enjoyment-and they sell it for $499 per person.

The sky's the limit when it comes to creating time-based value at your facility. After all, who among us doesn't want to have a better experience and to save time? Time is truly money.

Have a great week!

"Time is what we want most, but what we use worst."

-- William Penn