How Mobile is Transforming the Experience Economy.

Mobile apps that encourage engagement between brand and audience are leading the charge for development of a robust visitor attraction sector that can be always open.

Your visitor attraction is a business, and your business is a brand.  That being the case, you probably already know that in today’s data driven and ever connected world, consumers (your visitors), are increasingly making decisions based on their engagement with brands they trust and have a ‘relationship’ with.  

Helping facilitate that process and connection, is the trusty mobile phone, which since its evolution, has catapulted the development of a multitude of ways for brands to engage with their audiences (visitors).  

According to an article by Cybercrew, some 53.5 million Britons have smartphones, a penetration rate of 75% of the population (and begs the question of whether babies of the future will be born with one in their hands…).  The average Briton is also spending more than 2 hours per day on their phone, checking in several times a day, and smartphones make up 47.3% of online traffic in the UK, which is predicted to grow even further.

How is this relevant to the experience economy - the visitor attraction sector?

Mobile marks the single biggest opportunity for the visitor attraction sector (museums, cultural and heritage sites, zoos, wildlife parks, aquariums, art galleries etc), to directly attract, engage and retain growing numbers of interested audiences.

The ubiquitous mobile has ushered in an era of Software as a Service (SaaS) platforms.  Specialists build these engines that can be made to look like your brand, and they house all marketing and content and engagement needs in one place, and slice and dice specific communications to specific audiences when optimally relevant through multi-channel delivery mechanisms.  This leaves the visitor attraction free to concentrate on their core business - creating and providing the best ‘experience.’

Visitor attractions are sitting on the edge of a phenomenal opportunity to adapt their marketing and digital transformation strategies to take full advantage of mobile.  Mobile and audience engagement are perfect partners for building long-term and engaging relationships with customers.

Whilst mobile seamlessly facilitates the shopping process for high-street retail brands, in the visitor attraction and experience economy, mobile communications build ‘relationships’ with audiences, offering them personalised information, offers and unlocking a range of interactive content designed to truly ‘engage.’

Beyond mobile marketing

In using technology, for instance, an audience engagement platform (AEP), to segment audiences/visitor profiles, the visitor attraction (operator) can send personalised information to a visitor based on observed patterns of their behaviour, that resonates with and improves their overall experience.

This contributes to turning one-day sightseers into long-term repeat customers.  Naturally, customer retention adds to the all-important revenue generation bottom line.

Aside from push notifications, SMS, WhatsApps, emails and the likes, to keep visitors informed as to what’s going on at your establishment, mobile also integrates digital wallets (no need to carry cash or card anymore), and with clever apps on call at any time, enables the easy access to more detailed content (including audio visual presentations etc), at the touch of a button for a deeper interaction and learning experience.

Your visitor attraction goes from having set opening and closing hours to being always open via the mobile.  That’s not to say that visitors can physically visit the attraction/experience at any time of the day or night. 

Appealing to a younger audience

Although mentioned earlier and in a light-hearted manner, today’s younger generations are rarely without their mobiles.  These omnipresent tools have become extensions of self.  Mobile is thus the ideal method to engage with this set, as it affords them the opportunity to become immersed in the experience through technology such  as augmented reality.

Because this is undoubtedly the era of the selfie and definition of self through statement experiences, AEPs that offer the ability for visitors to personalise how they capture their day and post them directly to social media channels, are the platforms that are helping the museum and heritage sector re-engage with the younger generation for example.  

Also appealing to this segment, and younger, is the gamification of content. Augmented trails, treasure hunts, discovery games – who doesn’t want to be Sherlock Holmes and solve the mystery of the Museum Maze!

Mobile and the social media age are also pushing the boundaries of creativity for what is possible in the arts and cultural visitor attraction market.  Several Instagram worthy exhibits have quite literally caught the eye of hundreds of thousands of visitors, all content that is shared and which encourages others to visit.  

Capturing all this information is the audience engagement platform that turns insights into action for future campaigns and engagement opportunities.  

Deepening the learning experience

iBeacon technology, activated through web Bluetooth on mobile phones and run over native or progressive web apps for example, is a fun example of how mobile is being used to great advantage. As visitors pass by certain exhibits, objects or locations, beacons can be triggered to launch additional information or pop ups.  For the operator, beacon technology is also another key tool for tracking and understanding visitor behaviour.

As educators are also able to deliver engaging content from the audience engagement platform direct to the audience experience app, mobile has become an extension of the classroom too.  

As the lesson plans are housed on the AEP, they can be accessed through the audience experience app allied to the specific brand (site).  Thus, mobile is helping contribute to a shift in becoming more sustainable across the entire attraction sector.

These are just some of the benefits that mobile can bring to the visitor and audience experience arena, but as time waits for no-one, isn’t it time your branded experience goes mobile and gets truly engaged?

To find out more about audience engagement platforms see our article on ‘What is an Audience Engagement Platform’ or get in touch to request a demo.

Transforming experience through technology – always at your side. 

Photo by Chris Curry on Unsplash

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