Why a Personalized Guest Experience is Important

As an amusements industry professional, I strongly believe that a personalized guest experience leads to increased guest satisfaction, loyalty, and profitability. As a customer, I seek out companies that understand me and speak directly to me, as an individual. Personalization is a key differentiator for businesses and a common expectation among consumers.

But don’t just take my word for it. This article by Forbes shares some staggering stats:

  • 84% of consumers say being treated like a person, not a number, is very important to winning their business. – Salesforce
  • 90% of U.S. consumers find marketing personalization very or somewhat appealing. – Statista
  • 98% of marketers say personalization advances customer relationships. – Evergage
  • 95% of companies that saw 3x ROI from their personalization efforts increased profitability in the year after their personalization efforts. – Monetate
The Personalization Pros

With more and more companies adopting a personalized approach, consumers have come to expect that businesses will cater to their unique tastes. When I think of well-known companies who are nailing personalized service, these three tech giants come to mind:

  • Spotify follows your choices in music and then ponies up similar songs and albums that might be of interest. Of course, it’s all in an effort to ensure you’ll continue your service, but it’s a win-win for the consumer and the company.
  • Amazon is more than familiar with your shopping habits. They suggest other items you might want based on what’s in your cart or wish lists, even notifying you when your favorites go on sale. The “Would you like fries with that?” upsell technique gets me every time.
  • Peloton knows my preferred music genres for exercise (hard rock and classic rock) and my favorite instructors (Denis Morton and Kendall Toole). They show my progress, recommend classes, tell me when friends join my class, and congratulate me when I reach my goals.

Forward-thinking companies are tailoring their services for individuals, which is proven to increase satisfaction. They’re also analyzing guest data, comparing your behavior to other customers with similar history, and allowing it to drive marketing and communication strategies. The ultimate goal is to predict what guests want before they know they want it.

When a personalized guest experience is on point, it should feel seamless to customers. I don’t need to pre-plan my experience, repeat personal requests or mull over choices, because my experience has been built specifically for me. As a consumer, it feels good to know a company remembers me and makes things as easy as possible.

Personalization in the Amusements Industry

The companies I’ve highlighted above offer online services, but our amusements industry is steadily joining the personalization revolution. Having the power to create your own personalized experience generates that ‘wow’ factor, and the following attractions stick out in my mind:

  • Kim Possible World Showcase Adventure at Epcot in Walt Disney World blew my mind when I first visited over a decade ago. I was issued a flip phone (remember those?!) and followed a series of video clues to complete my mission. I created my own experience, triggered changes to the physical world around me, and saved the world!
  • Interactive Wands in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando not only provide a uniquely personalized experience, but you may feel powerful enough to levitate objects on and off park grounds (“Wingardium Leviosa!”). Guests make the park come alive around them in ways they’ve only experienced in their imagination.
  • Island H2O Water Park in Kissimmee, Florida is completely interactive, with experiences that let guests enjoy their favorite music as they move through the venue, and games that let you earn points to use toward food and merchandise discounts. Guests can track their points and interact via their smartphone app, creating a personalized visit every time.

Letting guests choose their favorite music to listen to during their visit is one way to personalize their experience.

Opportunities for Guest Personalization

There are a number of ways that personalization can be applied to leave a lasting impression on the guest while presenting opportunities for you, the owner. I’ve listed a few examples below, but the list goes on.

  • Celebrate Special Occasions – Special occasions provide the perfect opportunity for a personalized guest experience. Nowadays, technology offers alternatives to the traditional button/sticker. Employees are proactively alerted and invited to delight customers in unexpected ways. (i.e. Imagine being greeted by name and given a special birthday surprise.)
  • Build Customer Loyalty – Consumers return to places that understand what they like and make them feel special. In addition, collecting personal preferences allows companies to target guests with special, relevant opportunities. (i.e. Imagine being included in an exclusive preview of a new attraction or product.)
  • Increase Sales Through Targeted Marketing – When a business understands its customers on a personal level, it’s better positioned to tempt consumers with services or items they’re more likely to purchase. (i.e. Imagine signing up for a surf lesson and being reminded that you rented a wetsuit last time, or because you frequent the museum’s space exhibit, you’re the first to hear about an upcoming 3D movie about space.)
  • Remain Relevant – Digital services are certainly ahead of the game when it comes to personalization but a number of physical venues are already hot on their heels. Now is the time to explore a digital overlay experience that includes personalization. Your customers want easy, frictionless experiences that are specially curated with them in mind. (i.e. Don’t be left behind!)
Data-Driven Personalization

To provide a personalized experience, it’s critical to gather guest data. Yet, often, businesses collect massive amounts of information and are unsure how to effectively manage and use it. This requires a system that can take raw data and turn it into something meaningful and actionable.

The Vantage system was built to collect and interpret data, and each client is supported by a Vantage Customer Success Manager who’s remotely imbedded within the team. These data analysts have worked in the amusements industry, understand the challenges of park operations, and can customize the Vantage system as needed. They’re eager to assist with personalization, metrics, dashboards, marketing and much more.

If you’re ready to build a stronger connection with your customers, contact us. Let’s discuss how Vantage can help you reap the rewards of a personalized guest experience.

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