Beacons & improving visitor flow

by André Esteves

How to improve visitor flow using beacon technology - a use case for visitor attractions.


A recurring problem we hear from professionals in the visitor attraction and tourism sector is how to encourage repeat visits and increase visitor flow around a venue. Take a theatre or cinema space, for example, the primary goal is to get more people to book tickets, but the venue has a wider offer as well – a food offer, perhaps a temporary exhibition or a learning and participation programme. So once a visitor is physically inside your venue, how do you keep them there? How to you get them to discover and explore what else is available? Using beacons to tailor proximity marketing campaigns and improve audience segmentation can be hugely beneficial.

As an example, let’s think about a potential customer scenario: Rachael has popped into the cinema’s café to meet a friend for a coffee. She has been in the café for half an hour and receives a notification on her smart phone suggesting a film that will be showing in the cinema in 10 minutes. She is able to view a trailer and receive an offer only available to people physically in the building with the cinema’s beacon app downloaded. Rachael wasn’t intending to see a film today, but she likes the look of the trailer, doesn’t have other plans and the discount convinces her. She’s able to book a ticket there and then on her phone or walk to the box office and quote her discount code if she prefers.

This solves a number of problems for the cinema. Firstly, it gives the cinema the ability to push an offer to people in the vicinity just before the film starts to fill any empty seats. A time limited offer might also entice an individual to see a film they wouldn’t normally choose, potentially widening audience development opportunities.

On the flip side, perhaps Rachael started off in the cinema seeing a film. This time, the beacon is placed in the cinema screen. The beacon is able to monitor when she leaves the screen and sends her a notification suggesting she visits the café for dinner. Again, here is another opportunity to reward her for buying a ticket to a film by perhaps offering her a free drink if she buys a meal. Rachael might not have been intending to go for a drink or a bite to eat in the café afterwards, but the suggestion and added incentive from the offer might convince her to stay.

Because beacons have a ‘listening’ feature, it’s possible to monitor where Rachael goes within the cinema and how long she spends in certain spaces. It’s also possible to understand whether the offer of a discount or even a suggestion alone had any affect on her behaviour.

This deep insight into how audiences behave in a physical location is invaluable for marketers to assess the effectiveness of strategies and inform planning as well as providing added value for visitors. Providing tailored suggestions for visitors based on where they go and what they do in a venue or exclusive content only available to people who are physically in the venue and have downloaded the app is a key driver for repeat visits as well. This promotes a culture of exploration and new experiences – audience engagement at it’s best.


Published by:
André Esteves

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