Mining Social Media to Boost 2022 Season Ticket Sales
When “mined” for specific themes, topics, likes, and dislikes, social media postings can tell amusement parks and attractions a lot about what their customers really think about them. “This type of real-time data can then help marketing departments and sales teams know how campaigns are performing, when to throttle promotions, and even identify clear places of happiness or discontentment within your user base,” says Hannah Tooker, director of content marketing at the marketing firm LaneTerralever.
Selling 2022 season tickets is a good way to inject much-needed cash into amusement parks right now, and social media mining can help make this happen. Tooker points to Six Flags as one amusement park operator that successfully mines social media for customer preferences and then creatively employs the same platform to sell tickets to them.
“Six Flags uses limited-time promotions, packages, and passes to keep visitors coming back,” she says. “Promoting these things through flash sales; in tiered packages with different benefits for gold, silver, and bronze; and highlighting the true benefit beyond the cost of admission has driven success for Six Flags in the past.”
How to Do It
What operators need right now are actionable ideas to boost 2022 season ticket sales using social media mining.
“The best place to start is with current season ticket holders,” she says. “Uploading their data to your social networks allows you to target them with renewal messaging. However, the real benefit to having this audience data is the ability to create a ‘look-alike audience’ of potential new buyers based on those who have already purchased a season pass. This look-alike audience will tend to have similar patterns and behaviors to your current and past season ticket holders and a higher propensity to buy those tickets once you know how to appeal to them.”
In both cases, paying attention to the trends, patterns, and preferences revealed by social media mining is key to the success of season ticket sales. But that’s not all.
“When it comes to promotions and marketing campaigns to grab new season ticket sales, it’s important to think like your guest,” Tooker says. “Consider what you’d want to see from an attraction in order to become a season passholder.
Depending on your attraction, guests could be swayed by influencer content that showcases the attraction experience. They could also be invested in a BOGO (buy one, get one) offer that allows them and a friend to both become season ticket holders, or they might just need a little reminder of all the fun they have had with their family at your attraction in the past through user-generated content that shows the real experience.”
Keeping the Campaign on Track
Once a season ticket sales campaign is underway, social media mining can keep it on track by measuring customers’ responses to it, as well as any messaging changes that need to be made. The team over at SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment uses this technique.
“We produce a weekly ticket sales report for all of our stakeholders across the organization, based on social media mining,” says Josh Greenberg, SeaWorld’s director of social media and digital engagement. “We call it our ‘Voice of the Consumer’ report, and essentially we do a deep dive into conversations related to passes. This allows our strategic pricing team to make changes to our campaigns in real time based upon the feedback that we’re seeing out in the public. If we’re seeing poor content performance or messages that are not resonating with the public, these are real-time signals to us that say, ‘Hey, either we have to pivot, or we have to change our approach.’”
In making these assessments, SeaWorld’s revenue management team is careful to base their actions on aggregated data across social media, rather than individual reviews.
“Looking at and analyzing all of the data carefully, versus making a fast, off-the-cuff reaction to a specific post, is very important,” Greenberg says. “You need to pay attention to everyone as a whole versus the more vocal few.”
Finding Future Opportunities
According to Tooker, social media mining has the proven ability to drive season ticket sales–and more.
“For most attractions, the importance of packages and upsells seems obvious, but it goes a little bit deeper than you think,” she explains. “Once you get a guest to commit to a package or take part in an upsell, you learn something about what drives them—something you can leverage in the future. These types of engagements, such as season ticket sales, also allow you to solidify a return visit before a guest has even visited the first time. Again, Six Flags does an excellent job of understanding their visitors and using the information they have to tailor experiences in the park, online, and even through their loyalty app.”
The bottom line: Social media mining can improve 2022 season ticket sales right now. That’s the kind of good news that amusement park and attractions operators are happy to hear.