The engagement visitors have with Zoos and Wildlife Parks provides an interesting semiotic. When observed closely, this sign system can help Zoo managements gauge visitor experience and subsequently plan a strategy to enhance the excitement and pleasure that these spaces offer.
It occurs quite often that visitors do not find enough time to view all the listed attractions. At the end of their tour within the facility, they are left wanting for more. This happens predominantly because of the absence of a scheduler and lack of indoor navigation system within the venue. The result is a shallow experience which visitors take home with them. Not a very positive thing for Zoo management, isn’t it?
Apart from watching the wide variety of animals assembled from global geographies, adding to the experience of visitors is their own safety and security as well. The shocking incident at Cincinnati Zoo is a stark reminder of uncertainty when it comes to emergency management at Zoos. In Edinburgh, another incident involving a giant panda occurred which could have easily affected the visitor experience resulting directly in decreased visitors to the facility.
Nobody wants to visit a Zoo and encounter a wild animal without a strong fence in between them. Right?
In this scenario, how can Zoo managers read vital signs of visitors which will, in turn, help them in refining their own managerial procedures so as to transform the visitor experience to a favorable one?
Well, adopting technology that can be customized to serve these purposes could be one solution. But more on this later; first, let’s understand these five signs better.
So, continue reading for the FIVE essential signs which Zoo managements need to read thoroughly to enhance visitor experience.
1. Recurring Visits
Well, who doesn’t like recurring visits from happy customers? Like many facilities where visitors like to come back for more purely because of the thrilling moments they’ve just experienced, Zoos are vital spaces where this can be guaranteed.
Recurring visits from patrons is an essential sign of superior visitor experience which Zoo managements need to focus on and ensure it is realized. Be it navigating through this extensive terrain filled with hundreds of attractions or finding the nearest refreshment zone, visitors want to spend less time in locating spaces and more time witnessing what they are there for. They want to spend time spotting exotic animals and experiencing the thrill a Zoo offers.
Therefore, a vital sign such as recurring visits from enthusiasts should be pursued by Zoo managements while applying necessary practices and procedures to ensure this happens.
2. Visitor Engagement During Visit
A buzz is something that is generated by people when they are having a good time. Light-hearted conversations, cheers here and there, laughs, giggles amongst elderly and the young filling the air – all signs of people having an engaging time with the facility.
It doesn’t need rocket science to predict that a positive buzz is created when visitors at the Zoo are having a good time and soaking in the sights and sounds the place presents. Visitors show enthusiasm, experience thrill, involve their family and friends in the fervor that has been generated by the attractions.
As Zoo managers this is a sign which needs thorough appreciation unless you don’t mind visitors leaving your facility with a dull and drab memory of it.
Spot the buzz and keep it going with innovative fixtures to ensure your visitors have a worthwhile visit which will remain etched in their memories for eons.
3. Proactive Feedback
Whether it’s a home, a restaurant, a medical facility or a retail store when visitors come up to you and say they had a good time, they mean it. The same remains the case with Zoos as well. If your visitors have had a good time navigating your facility, then they will surely give you positive feedback and you will see them again in time enjoying the sights your Zoo has to offer.
This vital sign no manager can ignore as it is quintessential to running a good and profitable organization.
When customers are not very happy and respond with their feedback when approached more than once, then you can safely assume that not all went well with their experience while they were at your venue. Out of sheer modesty, a few of them might respond positively but that will be the last you will see or hear from them.
Hence, proactive feedback from customers is what you need to elicit as managers of a Zoo.
4. Concentrated Touring
This is the single biggest problem which visitors and Zookeepers face at either side of the spectrum – not having enough quality time to spend time at each and every attraction of the venue. While managers of the venue are busy ensuring the safety and security of the visitors, the visitors themselves are rarely aware of planning a proper route inside the facility to enable them to view all the attractions.
Due to this concentrated touring within the facility, all the attractions do not engage visitors as some do. This could occur due to the positioning of a few attractions, lack of proper information to visitors regarding these, visitors not planning their time in advance, etc.
Whatever the reason, the responsibility of ensuring a memorable visitor experience lies with the facility administrators. They need to watch out for instances where most visitors throng to some attractions whilst the others bear a deserted look.
Hence, concentrated touring is one sign Zoo managers cannot avoid if they want to enhance visitor experience at their site.
5. Euphoric Finish
As the saying goes, all’s well that ends well!
The one comprehensive sign that can aid Zoo managers in gauging visitor experience is the way visitors end their day at the facility. Do they look content? Are they stopping by to thank you for the good time they had? Did they mention they would come again?
These are some of the questions administrators of a Zoo need to reflect on and ask themselves if they want to gain consistent traction on visitors.
If the finish is not euphoric then it means the value hasn’t been added to their time and money. And if the value hasn’t been added to visitors’ time and money then it means goodbye to positive feedback.
Well, those were the five vital signs. However, the BIG question now is, how do we ensure we meet these signs to build a better visitor experience?
Leveraging From Technology
One sure-shot way is to employ trending technologies such as indoor positioning and navigation. Based on mobile application technology, this smartphone platform can help users in effortless navigation and wayfinding while supporting management with better facility management.
While there are over half a dozen such applications available in the market, Zoo managers need to identify a specific application which can attend to their needs. It will surely help if the app has additional features apart from navigation and positioning only.
For instance, the MapNav indoor positioning and navigation app consists of various features such as indoor wayfinding, pre-planned routing, instant notifications and alerts based on location, and emergency management among others.
A combination of such features helps Zoos’ management ensure visitors are able to receive instant notifications, location-based alerts, safety tips, and pointers, etc. An app like MapNav also gives you sufficient data to make subsequent visits of guests better.
Also, read our blog 8 Applicable Industries for Indoor Location Tracking Technology