Social Media and CRM in the City of Dreaming Spires

Operators and industry players met in Oxford for a day of thought provoking talks and networking at Gateway Ticketing UK‘s Marketing Event.

Held at the beautiful Pitt Rivers Museum, the informal event covered all aspects of marketing: from branding and social media, to guest experience and customer relationship management systems (CRM).

Attendees had come from a breadth of different attractions, including the Roman Baths, Oxford Museums, and even from as far away as Denmark’s Louisiana Museum of Modern Art.

On brand

The day began with brand specialist and CAPCO Marketing “Comrade” Johnny Lyle who spoke about branding and social media. Identification of the target audience is key, he says.

“We are rarely our own target audience for branding an attraction. It’s about how can we get inside their heads and find out what motivates the customer?”

Johnny asked the audience “How do you know that this horse is a horse?” demonstrating the power of branding through several examples.

Johnny Lyle on Branding speaking at the Gateway Ticketing UK Event

After sharing insights into his previous branding experience with Bewilderwood and Miniature Audley End Railway, Johnny went into deep “geek” social media territory, highlighting tools and tricks to maximise an attractions presence on social media.

He highlighted that interacting with customers is key to increasing the amount of posts they see on their newsfeed on Facebook, and the importance of good images that include people in them will “organically” boost a post to higher exposure.

Image of Geo Tagging in Oxford

However Johnny also pointed out that Facebook may not be the best platform for businesses anymore, and in fact the much over-looked Google Plus has huge potential to increase an attraction’s google analytics by Geo-Tagging images.

The customer journey

After a networking lunch, attendees heard from Carlton Gajadhar, a customer experience professional, who shared some scary statistics on the importance of trust and relationships between attractions and customers.

“For every customer complaint, there are 26 other unhappy customers who stay silent. And it takes 12 positive experiences to make up for one unsolved negative experiences”.

Carlton Gadjadhar speaking on Customer Experience Journeys at Gateway Ticketing Event

With this in mind, he then explained the importance of benchmarking, and net promoter scoring to see how attractions can focus on their “advocates” and their “detractors” to improve their customer experience as well as the customer journey.

CRM and Membership

Gateway’s own Technical Director, Dave Langan went into the challenges of membership packages and CRMs which was particularly important in the museum sector where it is difficult to capture data when there are no admission fees.

Dave Langan Technical Director at Gateway Ticketing speaks at Marketing Event 2016

“It’s about getting people up the engagement ladder- they start off as Anonymous visitors, then you get them to sign up to something (maybe the wifi) to become Freemium, then they buy a ticket (perhaps an exhibition) and become Engaged, then they become Committed by buying a deal package, eventually becoming an Advocate perhaps even leaving money to the museum in their will!”.

He stated the key to these membership CRM systems is getting the financial and membership teams to communicate and most importantly join up technically so that no information is lost or duplicated.

A short roundtable session lead by Gateway’s Business Development Manager Andy Povey, then discussed challenges of CRM to museums, and the pros and cons of live chat features on attraction websites.

Top 10 Trends in Attractions

Charles Read speaking on Top Trends in the Attractions Industry at Gateway Ticketing in Oxford

Our own Charles Read then finished off the day by highlighting the top trends in the industry at present, including Virtual Reality to revitalise rides, augmented reality which will take over VR by 2025, huge advances in mobile technology to engage the customers further, customisation, IP at farm parks, interactors and play parks for seniors.

Afterwards, Gateway had kindly provided food and drinks at a local bar for the networking to continue. Overall an interesting day of conversation in a beautiful city!

Images kind courtesy of Pitt Rivers Museum and 23Snaps.