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How to augment guest experience at visitor attractions through smarter retail marketing

by Dawn Foote on 02-May-2017 22:00:00


Secondary spend at visitor attractions can account for 30% or more in additional revenue on top of ticket prices. Done right, retail marketing can improve guest experiences, increase perceived value for money and strengthen brand engagement...done wrong and you'll be left with a tired looking gift shop worrying about the ongoing decline in souvenir buying. 

So what makes for a good retail marketing offering?

Taking a recent example of a project we worked on with Drayton Manor Park, here are our top tips for smarter retail marketing.

Consider brand identity & IP

Each visitor attraction has a clear brand identity and target market, whether this is an area or experience within a larger attraction targeted at a particular audience (like Thomas Land which is an attraction within Drayton Manor Park) or a smaller attraction targeting a key demographic.

Any retail marketing offering (be it food and beverage, souvenir or experience led) must fit with that target market and align with the brand's values, personality and visual identity.

Working with Drayton Manor Park, this was particularly important because we were working with a well known IP; Thomas & Friends. As a rule, the bigger the brand, the bigger the appeal and draw, but also the bigger the responsibility to align and integrate the brand and the experience.

At Thomas Land, the retail outlets needed to fit seamlessly with the theming of the attraction, so that they became a key part of the guest experience.

Thomas Land Gift Shop Drayton Manor

Thomas Land at Drayton Manor

Don't scrimp on visual merchandising: 

Theming and signage is vital for your retail and catering outlets, but this doesn't just apply to the outside of the building. Getting the look and feel right inside is essential. As well as theming, visual merchandising (presenting products in a way that inspires and engages visitors) is key to driving positive experiences and secondary spend. 

Visual merchandising in the leisure industry

Retail marketing Thomas Land

At Thomas Land, this was particularly important for appealing to younger (and littler) visitors. Consideration needed to be made to make retail displays eye catching, interactive and engaging...and importantly the right height for little legs. 

Augmenting guest experience at theme parks

Retail marketing at visitor attractions

Retail marketing at visitor attractions

Create an integrated experience

As a visitor attraction, your guests will have come for...and will be expecting an unforgettable experience. They'll likely already have expectations for the main event (be it a ride, a show or otherwise) but it's often the case that the biggest guest experience gains to be made aren't in the areas your guests would necessarily expect. 

Consider how your retail marketing could be used to extend and augment the experience for your guests. Don't forget, this needs to be tailored to your target audience, and that modern buyers are less likely to be wowed by a generic keyring and pencil sharpener, so offering more interactive, unique and even personalised products can make a huge difference.

Green screen experience at Thomas Land, Drayton Manor

At Thomas Land we'd previously worked with Picsolve to create a new series of themed photography merchandise, including photocard driving licenses and photobooks combining ride photography, walkabout photography and fun & games for the kids.

We also developed an interactive themed video experience, using Green Screen (GSX) technology. This was integrated with the retail outlet to form a mini attraction within the Thomas Land shop. The experience featured video content, themed backdrops and interactive elements which when put together, created a fun, interactive experience for young visitors and a unique and personalised souvenir to take home.

Thomas Land Green Screen Experience

Green screen experience at Thomas Land, Drayton Manor

The Green Screen experience created a unique opportunity to upsell through experience, but even more importantly, provided guests with a personalised and enjoyable reminder of their day - one that they wouldn't necessarily have expected to get when planning their visit.

If you're looking for ways to extend and augment visitor experiences through smarter retail marketing, let's have a chat. You can see more of our work with visitor attractions and leisure suppliers here:

Katapult leisure industrycase study pack

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This post was written by Dawn Foote

Dawn is Co-Founder & Visionary at Katapult. Always enjoys a new challenge, hatching plans then working hard to make them happen.

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