Retention marketing for out-of-home entertainment venues drives loyalty, frequency, advocacy, per cap/profitability, and marketing expense savings.
The idea of “retaining customers” is different for out-of-home entertainment providers than it is for retailers or other service providers. The experience you offer is probably highly differentiated from other experiences in your market. If someone wants what you’re offering, they either need to choose you or visit another market…right?
Retention marketing for out-of-home entertainment venues drives five things: loyalty, frequency, advocacy, per cap/profitability, and marketing expense savings.
Loyalty: If someone is thinking about going to a theme park, will they choose you or the competition? Or will they just go bowling or to the movies (surprisingly, a lot of people consider all of these activities to be interchangeable). Your retention marketing efforts can help them to choose you.
Frequency: Maybe they always choose you when they go bowling — but how many times a year do your customers go bowling? (actually, according to MRI-Simmons, of the 21% of US adults who said they bowled in 2019, only about 10% said they did it frequently).
One of the most important things retention marketing allows you to do is encourage your guests to visit you more frequently. If you’re a theme park, this might be getting people to visit you twice a year instead of just once. If you’re a local arcade or activity center, this might be getting people to visit you 3-4 times a year. There are a variety of strategies you can use to get people to visit you more frequently.
Getting people to visit your venue more often is more challenging than it seems — the average consumer in the US leaves their house for entertainment purposes less than 14 times a year (in 2018) and most consumers say they want a variety of experiences. Getting people to visit more than once (or even once) a year is hard.
Advocacy: Retention marketing can play an important role in getting your recent (or past) customers to recommend you to their friends and relatives. An adjunct to that is providing opportunities for your recent guests to share their experience with you so if there are issues, you can correct them.
Per cap and Profitability: Even if you’re certain that your recent guests are going to visit again soon, what kind of ticket are they going to buy? If you offer a range of admission products and packages, leaving the guest to their own devices is rarely going to lead to the most profitable sale for you. Retention marketing gives you the opportunity to drive product purchases that are more incrementally profitable for you, including upgrades and add-ons.
Marketing Expense Savings: New acquisition is expensive. Some studies have found that it costs up to 5x to get a new customer than it does to retain an existing customer. Certainly, sending a text or an email costs a lot less than trying to get their attention through advertising or your sales programs.