Digital Marketing Tactics to Sell More Season Passes & Tickets
Want to sell more season passes, tickets, or memberships for your local attraction? Word of mouth and customer loyalty can go a long way for ski resorts, zoos, amusement parks and more, but digital marketing is the key to year-round success and awareness for these brands.
Here, we’ll be sharing a few digital marketing tactics you can use to keep your pass holders interested and to finally convert those elusive competitor pass holders and one-time visitors.
Know Your Pass Holders & How to Target Them
We’ve seen it happen a lot: seasonal or membership-based services lump their returning members into the same category as new or potential members, and they advertise to them as a single group. But if you want to convert the maximum number of pass holders, you’ll need to break them into different audiences and target them accordingly.
In general, you’re looking at three audiences (although these may not apply to every membership- or pass-based brand):
- Pass holders from last year
- Potential new pass holders who’ve never purchased from you before
- One-time visitors to convert to pass-holders
Targeting last year’s pass holders
Last year’s pass holders already understand the brand and know what to expect in general. They’re also likely to re-up with you if you’ve delivered on your overall value. But to ensure they buy again, you can use incentives and urgency, i.e. “Get next year’s pass before prices go up!”
You can also treat them as brand insiders, letting them know that they get a discount on next year’s passes or first access to limited passes before they go on sale to the general public. This builds brand loyalty and makes them feel special (because they totally are).
Not sure how to pull this off? Think of simple email campaigns to send to members, or create a social media ad campaign to retarget current pass holders.
Targeting potential new pass holders
How can you capture someone who has shown interest, but hasn’t committed to your brand? Or how do you attract someone currently holding a competitor’s membership? (This might apply mostly to ski resorts, but can also apply to local attractions like amusement parks or zoos.) It starts by showing the value of your pass over the other.
One of the biggest mistakes we see here is brands assuming that “cheaper is better.” The differentiator between your pass and another pass likely won’t come down to money, although competitive pricing is definitely a part of it. Actually, what most consumers want is to know they’re getting the most bang for their buck.
Play up factors like location, kid- or family-friendly attractions, amount of access (unlimited visits, multiple locations, etc.), and bonuses. These might include discounts at local restaurants, gift shops, pass upgrades, or free family and friends passes. This is also a great place to lean into your brand message; are you focused on the active outdoor enthusiast, or the mom and dad with 2.5 kids and a picket fence? Make sure the content you create to promote your passes speaks to them.
Social media, content strategies, and even Google or social ads are great places to show off your differentiators (alongside that sweet price point).
Targeting one-time visitors
One-time visitors are a goldmine of potential conversions, but they don’t often upgrade to a full-blown membership on their first visit. The first question here is: Why? Are they not upgrading to full membership because the cost is prohibitive? Or, more likely, is it because they don’t see the value in a membership?
Much like with converting competitor pass holders, you’ll need to show one-time visitors the value in upgrading to your membership or season pass. Much of this can happen on the scene, where your ticket sales team can show visitors the value of an upgrade. But once their visit has ended and they still haven’t upgraded, you can use email, SMS, and targeted content to get them to convert while you’re still top of mind.
One way to do this is to let people know they can roll the price of their one-day ticket into their membership if they fulfill the upgrade by a certain date. Whether in a post-visit email or in geo-target ads, you can build that sense of urgency.
You can also use content marketing to build more awareness in general around the value of a membership over a one-day ticket, promoting that content so people know ahead of time that a season pass is “where it’s at.” Also, let them know that “It pays for itself in [number of] visits!” so they come ready to buy.
Share the Right Message (and Content) for More Season Pass Sales
With any season pass or membership-based business, there is a busy season. Ski resorts usually start selling passes around April, while zoos attract most families during the summer months. In other industries, annual memberships might renew with the calendar year or have a season where they attract the most business (corn mazes, botanical gardens, etc.).
Whatever your particular cycle is, you don’t want to just start your digital marketing efforts during those busy seasons. You want to keep your brand top-of-mind all year long. Here are a few ways to do that:
- Utilize user-generated content. Thanks to social media, user-generated content (UGC) is crazy effective. Make sure to ask for and share posts about visitors enjoying your location or attraction, “unboxing” their season passes, etc.
- Share pass holder exclusives. Play into the FOMO; share what pass holders get with their membership that nobody else does. This might include free passes to special events, discounts on merch or food, or first access and discounts to next year’s passes.
- Showcase off-season events. Don’t fall into the trap of only using your attraction or location during the busy season. Create (and advertise) events that can be attended year-round, i.e. summer music festivals at ski resorts, Halloween events at the zoo, or special guest meet-n-greets. Offer discounts or special access to these events for pass holders.
- Give them something to look forward to. Ski resorts opening a new lift or creating a multi-pass with another resort; zoos opening a new exhibit; amusement parks building a new waterpark. These are all things that your current pass holders will happily renew for, and finally, convert those “on the fence” buyers.
- Holiday and family gifts. Make it easy to give your season pass or membership as a gift. This is a great way to promote your brand and boost sales, especially during the holidays. With the shift away from consumer gifts and towards experiences, a membership is the perfect gift for a family.
Season Passes Don’t Mean Seasonal Marketing
When it comes to marketing and selling more season passes and memberships, the biggest thing to remember is that it doesn’t start and end with your busy season. Keep your audience interested by giving them insights into the value of your membership/passes and show them what makes your brand different.
If you want help creating, executing, and managing digital marketing strategies for your season pass, membership, or destination brand, V9 can help. Learn more about our travel and tourism marketing services.