Does the visual look of your FEC (Family Entertainment Center) website reflect your family fun atmosphere? With so many entertainment options for today’s families and so many other opportunities for group outings, your website needs to step up to the plate and hit a home run.
By Katie Bruno, Director, WDD Online.
There are several major goals in mind when undertaking the redevelopment of your website, all revolving around the main goal of bringing the highest number of visitors to the your FEC or attraction who spend the most per capita.
The first goal is to bring the atmosphere of the park alive online with engaging graphics utilising strong photographic elements. All available photography should be gathered and evaluated and additional photography taken as needs arise. The resulting homepage and overall design brings the online user into the park and helps them start to make the emotional connection with the fun that they will have.
Another goal should be to integrate and implement online ticketing. Online ticket sales are popular tools for families and groups planning their entertainment time. Programs can be set up through a variety of experienced vendors that allow you to sell passes and gift certificates online. Ticket sales are available directly from the pricing page, creating a committed customer immediately.
One of the most important elements of your site should be to bring to those planning group outings all of the information they need about your facility. All the information for a particular type group is best found along the same path without the need to search the whole site including: availability, packages, pricing and catering options. In addition, a partnership with your online ticket vendor can help you to offer online consignment tickets to groups, an incredible selling point. Instead of giving blocks of tickets to groups to sell on consignment, groups are given an access link. All ticket sales take place online. No ticket or revenue tracking is needed; the entire process is automated, simple and available 24 hours.
Opening Hours, Directions and Weather
Dates and hours for a facility with a number of attractions have historically been difficult to communicate. An interactive online calendar should allow users to see all the various hours for all of the attractions just by moving their mouse over the date they are interested in. In addition to the traditional map, interactive directions should be integrated with the site. Now there is no need for the user to go to another site to get online directions, they can access door-to-door directions directly from your website. For outside attractions, weather is always a consideration. The weather report for the current day is should be available online directly on the site.
Having the correct expectations and them having them met is a very important part of a good guest experience. There is a lot of miscellaneous information that is difficult to communicate to guests but that they may find very helpful for their visit. This includes information about special facilities for infants or the handicapped, dress code and payment types. This information should be gathered and presented on a “Fun Tips” page. This helps the facility by publicising important policies and helps the visitor feel more comfortable with what to expect.
Of course the most important thing about any FEC is its attractions! Each attraction should be featured with its own page and photography. Digital video is easy to take and not technically difficult to integrate with your site.
Employment information lets potential employees know about available positions, expectations and supplies a job application for download. This reduces inquiries via phone and all but eliminates the need to mail out job applications to potential employees.
Sometimes a website visitor may want to be able to give their comments or ask a question. Instead of just providing and email address, your new site should offer an online form that: reduces the amount of SPAM received by the park, helps the park categorize and qualify inquiries, and after emailing the messages, stores all inquiries in a database for download and review at any time.
Finally, the entire new site can be simply and easily updated by your staff using a Content Management System (CMS). A complete content control system allows you to update information on hours, attractions or policies anytime through a simple, secure online interface. These interfaces are easy to use and familiar looking. Changes to the site do not incur costly website design fees and can be made instantly on your schedule instead of the schedule of your website design company.
Katie Bruno is a Director of Website Design and Development, ltd. After earning a PhD in Polymer Science and working in research for several years, Katie founded WDD Online in 1996 and continues to direct the company. Her experiences since the early days of the Internet have given her a broad knowledge of the medium and perspective on current and emerging Internet technologies. She works as the overall director for all WDD Online projects, in both art and programming.