With international tourist arrivals to the Asia-Pacific region increasing every year, there is a growing demand for integrated resorts, theme parks, attractions, and special events around the region. Despite constant improvements in venues’ amenities, the guest experience has largely remained the same over the years, relying on unadventurous booking systems, and cash payments for onsite services.
The modern millennial is a fickle tourist
Millennials aged 26 – 34 in Singapore consists of 40 per cent of the workplace — they exceed previous generations in size, in influence and in the near future, in affluence. It’s a market no event organiser, resort owner or venue operator can ignore. Nearly every tourism marketer is targeting this demographic but most fail.
Research has found 38 per cent says that they will switch brands for having bad business practices, the same group also highly value word of mouth recommendations. Slightly more than half will switch to a company, which listens and adjusts to public opinion.
Furthermore, 60 per cent of millennials are influenced the most by social advertising and 39 per cent do not desire brands that aren’t updated on mobile channels. The millennial tourist seeks more independence in both their life and their lifestyle, wanting to co-create and not just take their holiday user experiences as-is. Despite that, millennials are the most brand loyal generation.
Current problems faced by resorts and large-scale entertainment centres
Singaporean tourism companies have been doing mostly one-sided marketing. There has been a lack of meaningful discussions to engage and create relationships with the influential millennials generation. Most tourist traps have managed to ignore engagement on social media.
Ease of bookings and convenience are big factors shaping user experience – a key consideration for the modern millennial traveller. Without integrating modern reservation, fulfilment, and payment systems into these attractions, the customer experiences that they offer will not be optimal and millennials will start going elsewhere with their dollars.
Large properties such as water parks, theme parks, and destination resorts have multiple revenue centres (for example, hotel, restaurants, poolside outlets, water sports and more). Having these revenue centres operate independently from each other can adversely affect customer experiences by:
- Being unable to provide a unified and convenient payment method across the property.
- Poor fulfilment of customer needs when communication is required across multiple revenue centres.
- Lacking precise knowledge of each individual guests’ needs. This prevents personalisation of each customer’s experience. For example, when the booking system is independent of the Food and Beverage system, there will be no way to understand individuals’ personal diets and leverage this to increase F&B consumption via the use of targeted marketing.
Opportunities for attractions in the region
There is an urgent need for a system that can ensure correct billing, a better comprehension of visitor needs, reduce cash onsite and improve the social user experience. Adopting Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) or Near Field Communication (NFC) based solutions will go a long way toward solving these problems.
Venues can create a vertically integrated ecosystem that unifies their millennial guests’ experience. Guests can have the option to set up an e-wallet with their information and credits loaded in prior to going the venue to do the following:
- Make reservations online
- Set up e-wallet with preloaded credits
- Activate social media accounts for digital interactions onsite
- Prevent overspending by setting limits
- See shorter queues with e-booking of rides
- Pay for everything without carrying multiple cards and bulky wallets
- Refund balance back to personal account after visit to the attraction
- Avail any unused credit at new attractions or gift it to friends
Apart from offering an efficient and secure payment system, this also enables attractions to offer custom travel experiences for each guest. Via social media integrations and gamification features that award loyalty points based on customer interactivity, it can induce repeat business in an era of waning customer loyalty.
The data on customer interactivity across the property allows attractions to gauge guest interests and opens avenues to create multiple unique paths and experiences for the guest. For example, a safari-themed park could customise various experiences for its guests based on roles such as zoologist, conservation officers, animals, etc.
Asia is a fast growing tourist market, and the needs of its newly mobile travellers require venue operators, event organisers and resort owners to re-think their systems and strategies. In a competitive market, the modern tourist trap needs to offer a simple, smooth, and individualised experience to each guest to maintain their loyalty. With RFID/NFC-based systems are powerful tools, millennial guests can truly be sated with the holistic tourist experience.
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