The last time you took a trip, did you use a frequent flier number when you booked your fight? Perhaps you stayed in a hotel that has a reward program. Maybe you redeemed points for free perks during your stay, or maybe you even used the points to pay for your room. Most hotel and airline chains offer loyalty programs through which customers earn points for purchases. As points accumulate, the member benefits from the loyalty program in the form of redemption points for free hotels, flights, and other special perks. These same loyalty accounts can also link to credit cards to accumulate even more points. The more outlets from which the loyalty member can accumulate points, the more data the systems exchange.
While the company rewards the member with perks and freebies, the company is also indexing massive amounts of data about their members. Companies then use this data to communicate with their customers through more efficient and precise offers. This is the power of CRM, or Customer Relationship Management, and it’s catching on in the attractions world.
On the receiving end of great service, who doesn’t want to be treated like a V.I.P., to be pampered, and even to receive an offer in our INBOX …. But what if I don’t like sushi???? With generic offers or promotions, that’s the problem: some people might absolutely love that offer while others will hate it. The offers that we make to our guests should resonate with each specific recipient. Understanding guest behavior and then responding with strategic and efficient communication has become a billion-dollar business…and it all begins with technology.
Think about how data might be recorded at your park or institution. First, your guests purchase their admission ticket online or at the front gate. Then, they purchase their food, drinks, and souvenirs from separate systems. Each of these systems—from the ticketing system to the membership database and from your retail POS to your food and beverage system—collects its own data. The cashier processes the order, the system settles the transaction and updates the database record…and then everything just stops.
The data that each of your systems collects is incredibly valuable…but only if you use it. Think about that guest who bought the premium admission ticket: Is there an opportunity to engage them with up-sale items? Perhaps a VIP dining experience? The vast amount of data that we collect can—and should—work harder for us. The solution is to get the data talking with an integrated CRM solution, so you can better determine your guests’ wants and needs.
The Integrated CRM Solution
While in the travel world, integrating CRM systems is down to a science, in our attractions world, this is the new frontier. Systems need to talk with one another—that’s a foundational requirement. All your systems (ticketing, F&B, retail) need to talk—and CRM is the key. When we are able to see a “bigger picture” of the guest’s visit with us, we are able to use the data we collect to keep our guests happy, engaged, and feeling like they are spending effectively!