Embracing Digital - How Visitor Attractions
are Becoming More Sustainable.

Today is International Day of Forests, so what better time to talk about embracing digital.  You might well ask what forests have to do with digital and what has either to do with the visitor attractions sector?

It’s quite simple really.  We all need to protect our environment so that things like our forests of glorious healthy happy trees continue acting as our green lung to keep our planet healthy, so in essence, we need to become more sustainable.  Thankfully, embracing digital provides numerous opportunities for this to happen across the visitor attraction sector, which is helping to fulfil net zero mandates, streamline business processes and keep visitors happy, amongst many benefits. 

Doing away with the paper trail

Still quite frequently you arrive at your destination and receive a printed ticket as proof of entrance fee.  Then you’d pick up a map or leaflet (or both) with the layout of the exhibits you have come to see.  You might even need a bite to eat, so you read your printed menu.  All of which, you discard once it has served its purpose.

Recycling only does so much to mitigate the environmental impact but what if it didn’t need to exist in the first place?

Well, that’s where embracing digital in general, and perhaps making use of an audience engagement platform, in particular, come to the rescue.

Here are the top 5 benefits of embracing digital:

First Impressions Count 

Doing away with paper, reduces the proclivity for rubbish to be strewn around your visitor attraction or experience.  Guests arrive to a cleaner environment and one they subconsciously aim to keep that way.  

And, now that COVID-19 has paid us a visit, digital helps the hygiene factor too, as it’s easier to open a mobile phone and have the ‘ticket’ attendant scan the barcode of your ticket, without the need for paper to exchange hands. 


Digital cuts the time it takes to process visitors too by helping to eliminate queues and speed up the entry process. So aside from scanning barcodes, you adopt a more seamless method of entry by using digital tickets and not paper. 

Audience Engagement Apps also make pre-booking easier – whether it’s your entrance ticket or a pre-ordered meal.  They can send push notifications for upcoming event reminders, send additional information on the attractions, or exhibits the visitor likes the most (they can even recognise how long you spend at a given display), digitally signpost to wherever visitors wish to go and an abundance of other insightful ways for events and their visitors to smartly and simply engage with one another. 

Net Zero Environmental Champions

Addressing climate change and reducing global warming is as much an imperative for the visitor attractions and visitor experiences sector as it is for mainstream industry.  We all need to do our part.  Net zero refers to balancing the books between what we generate in terms of energy and waste and what we remove once used, and on that score, paper takes an enormous amount of energy to produce and recycle to reuse.  So, where it doesn’t need to be used, let’s aim to embrace digital. 

Audience engagement platforms produce apps – either a native or progressive web app – which are automatically updated as new information comes out.  On these apps, visitors can access maps, information, quizzes, surveys, competitions, trails, and tours – basically any content the visitor attraction uploads.  All in the palm of the hand on one single device – the mobile. Paperless.

Financial Savings

A shocking 20% of our waste in Britain goes to landfill every year (and this excludes any recycling or upcycling), and considering we consume about 12.5 million tons of paper and card per annum, we’re talking big bucks – not only on what it costs to produce it, convert it, or bin it, but in how much it hurts your pocket.  

Whilst the cost of deploying a digital solution like an audience engagement platform might seem significant, there are a number that operate on a SaaS (Software as a Solution) basis helping to spread the cost monthly over the term of the contract and this also balanced against the amounts you can save across other areas of the business in the medium to long-term.  

Consider how many times you would reprint your information leaflets each time your exhibit changes or a new one is added.  Or, updating ticket prices, timetables etc.  By embracing digital there is a time saving as well as a cost reduction.

Personalising business sustainability

Who doesn’t want repeat business and returning visitors who become life-long fans? I am guessing you do, so in that case, embracing digital is for you too.  Aside from their many other benefits, digitally driven audience engagement platforms can help to personalise communication with your visitors.  

By downloading the app onto their mobile phones, data is generated as they browse through the attraction.  This data can be segmented by marketers to better understand what visitors want, but it can also, as we have said before, automatically send relevant information and special offers tailored to the individual or family.

Digital apps can even serve up augmented reality for a completely immersive experience that is novel and fun, promoting overall enjoyment.  Personalised digital interactive storytelling has the power to convey knowledge from the past in a way that makes it truly engaging, understandable and even relevant to today’s audience, as well as promoting curiosity. 

Upselling to visitors before they arrive is also easy with push notifications. In short, the audience engagement platform creates a two-way conversation that leads to a better experience, and this can in turn, lead to ongoing business, through subsequent return visits.  

According to ReportLinker the global personalisation software market is expected to reach $2.2 billion by 2026, up from its current $620 million, with the number of personalisation tools increasing exponentially.  Audience engagement platforms are one such innovation that is helping the visitor attraction and experience sector, like museums, cultural & heritage sites, zoos, wildlife parks and aquariums not only become more sustainable but personable too.

So, don’t chop a tree, plant a seed of an idea by embracing digital in a sustainable way that can grow your business.

For more information on audience engagement platforms contact us.

Image courtesy of Unsplash

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