The Best Way to Create a Location-Based Experience Plan

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Organizations with physical venues in particular have a tremendous opportunity to improve the guest experience through the delivery of location-based messages and other experience-based content. However, for those new to location-based messaging, it may not be clear how to get started, what to say, or when to say it.

From my experience working with TE2’s resort and theme park customers, I have found that the best way to create a location-based messaging plan is to gain a deep understanding of your venue and how your guests are experiencing it at every step of their visit. To do this, you’ll need to spend time in your venue as a guest would. Once you put yourself into your guest’s shoes, the creation of your location-based message plan will happen very organically as you identify the information you wish you had, and when. (And, to truly put yourself into your guests shoes, you could consider adopting a guest persona to see how the experience differs for a family with small children as opposed to a first time visitor).

Whenever I visit a customer’s venue for this purpose, I invite representatives from various business units (marketing, guest services, operations, food and beverage, etc.) to participate in the walk-thru, along with TE2’s deployment team. Before I go, I’ll gather as much information as I can about guest segments and behavior, and identify any known pain points related to the physical location for both guests and venue operations. Common pain points often include the need to frequently update signage and collateral, communicating closures and other alerts in real-time, map/navigation challenges, crowded areas, lines/queues, and long wait times. Some of this information is collected directly from guests through comment cards and surveys.

To start, we begin outside a venue where guests would also start a visit, and move through the venue like a guest would. As we enter, we’ll talk about guest expectations at arrival and whether they are met throughout their stay (and if not, why?). We extend this discussion to the rest of the venue as we walk and take note of common frustrations such as long lines, crowded areas, frequently asked questions and any points of confusion. We’ll also be noting choke points and other places where it makes sense to place a beacon for location-based messages.

During the walkthrough, all departments are asked about pain points. For example, what would each department like guests to do more (and less) of? What are the over- and under-utilized outlets, and at what times of day? We’ll learn about any perishable inventory (any sellable item or service with an expiration time, after which revenue is lost and cannot be covered, such as food, reservations, tours, event tickets, ticket upgrades, etc) and talk about how real-time communications with guests could address it.

By the end of the walkthrough, we will have identified the parts of a guest’s experience that could be improved, the locations where the pain points occur, what kind of content could  improvement the guest experience in those cases, and where to place beacons. Essentially, we will have outlined your first location-based experience management campaign: the topics to communicate, the guest segments to which they apply, the time of day the content is relevant, and location where the content will be useful. An added bonus of conducting a group walk-through is that now all participants will have learned how to identify additional topics.

See The First Step for Implementing an On-Site Experience Management Program for more information about why you should get a variety of resources involved in your experience management program.

Danielle Chapman is The Experience Engine’s Product Evangelist.