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Keep Them Talking: Nurture Word-Of-Mouth Buzz for your Attraction

Watauga’s latest research, the “2024 Attraction Visitor Report: Insights for Maximizing New & Repeat Guests,” is a game-changer for attraction marketing leaders at theme parks, zoos, aquariums, water parks, museums, and family entertainment centers. With findings derived from an extensive consumer attitudinal research study involving 3,590 participants, the report dives deep into the minds of attraction guests. This article summarizes one of the many key takeaways uncovered in the research.

Close Friends are the Key to Conversion

Understanding the mindsets of current attraction visitors and potential guests is the first step toward developing strategies to activate and engage them. Focusing on the Doers, it is imperative for attraction marketing leaders to pinpoint and prioritize this audience to drive first-time visits and maximize repeat, high frequency guests.

Among all potential influencers, our study revealed that a Doer’s close friends have the biggest impact on their decision to visit and remain enthusiastic about an attraction. In order to maximize first-time guests and drive repeat visitation among Doers, it is essential for marketing leaders at theme parks, zoos, aquariums, water parks, museums, and family entertainment centers to nurture word-of-mouth by encouraging social sharing among Doer friend groups, showcasing customer reviews in marketing assets, and highlighting top social comments in Facebook ads.

Understanding Visitor Mindsets, Seekers, and Doers

Our research study unveiled three distinct visitor mindsets. Passionate Visitors who prioritize meaningful moments with loved ones at attractions and consider the cost secondary. Intentional Visitors who value frugality and personal space, prioritizing their visits when it is financially affordable and when crowds are reduced. Passive Visitors who prefer familiar attractions close to home, find fulfillment in routines, and often lose interest after visiting an attraction several times.

Watauga also applied two crucial audience lenses named “Seekers” and “Doers,” to closely analyze the data and the three mindsets of attraction visitors.

Seekers are individuals who have not visited an attraction but express interest in doing so.

Doers are individuals who have either visited an attraction in the past or are current attraction guests.

Encourage Guests to Share Experiences across Social Media Channels

Our study found that 79% of Doers discover new attractions through recommendations from their close friends. This highlights the powerful impact of word-of-mouth marketing within social circles. To capitalize on this, marketing leaders across all types of attractions should create shareable experiences and encourage recent visitors to spread the word using their own social media channels. Engage with guests and followers on social media by offering incentives for referrals and monitoring social channels for when your attraction is tagged. When you re-posting these organic mentions and experiences from guests, you amplify the attention and nurture word of mouth.

Integrate User-Generated Content into Marketing Assets

Another marketing strategy that can generate positive word-of-mouth is to focus on enhancing social proof. This can be achieved by prominently showcasing guest reviews, testimonials, and user-generated content on your website and in marketing assets. When Doers and potential guests see positive feedback and real experiences from their friends, family, and other influencers, it builds trust and credibility, making them more likely to choose your attraction. Including authentic stories, photos, and videos from satisfied guests not only highlights the enjoyable experiences others have had but also encourages new visitors to share their own. This creates a cycle of positive reinforcement, where user-generated content continuously fuels social proof.

Showcase Positive Comments in Facebook Ads with the use of A.I.

We know close friends are crucial in the discovery phase, but we also know that Facebook is the #1 resource potential guests seek out, which you can learn more about in our recent article “Convert Potential Attraction Visitors Into Loyal Guests With Tailored Social Media Strategies”. Marketing leaders across all types of attractions can use the power of Facebook to leverage the trustworthiness of close friends. Meta (Facebook and Instagram) Advantage + Creative is a new artificial intelligence technology used in Facebook and Instagram paid advertising campaigns where Meta’s algorithm optimizes performance to the best performing ad creative. This technology can enhance ad creative automatically, selecting the most compelling content by analyzing signals from an advertiser’s profile and paid campaigns. Drive positive word-of-mouth among Doers by using this technology to incorporate peer feedback and top comments into your Facebook and Instagram ads. Featuring authentic testimonials and high-ranking comments within ads makes them more relatable and persuasive, encouraging Doers to spread the word.

Conclusion: From Doer Discovery to Repeat Guest

Watauga’s research clearly demonstrates the pivotal role close friends play in driving both first-time guests and repeat visits with three out of four Doers discovering new attractions through their close friends and over half relying on them to stay excited about attractions they’ve visited. Marketing leaders at theme parks, zoos, aquariums, water parks, museums, and family entertainment centers can boost positive word-of-mouth among Doers by implementing marketing strategies that highlight authentic guest experiences, promoting user-generated content, and offering incentives for referrals. Making your ads feel relatable and persuasive encourages Doers to keep spreading the word.

To download a complimentary copy of Watauga’s 2024 Attraction Visitor Report and view an interactive visualization of the research data, please visit https://wataugagroup.com/attraction-visitor-report

Contact us to discover ways that Watauga Group can help with your media strategy.


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Watauga 2024 Attraction Visitor Report Mock-1

2024 Attraction
Visitor Report

Empowering theme parks, zoos, aquariums, water parks, museums, and family entertainment centers to effectively navigate today’s consumer landscape.