US zoo taps into big data analytics to drive visitors and ticket sales

Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium employs big data analytics from IBM to study everything from online sales and visitor attractions to the weather

A zoo and aquarium complex in the US is claiming big data analytics have helped increase ticket sales by 700 per cent and will provide a 25 per cent boost to online sales this year.

The 29-acre Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium (PDZA), which is situated in Washington, attracts more than 600,000 visitors a year and is actively involved in wildlife and ecosystem conservation. The business collects millions of data records relating to visitor exhibit and special events preferences as well as participation in its conservation activities.

To do this, the zoo partnered with IBM and its business partner, BrightStar Partners, to employ big data analytics across its data sets with the aim of driving ticket sales, enhancing the visitor experience, and increase participation and awareness of conservation initiatives. Another key priority is capitalising on conversations across social channels such as Facebook in order to better engage with the 18-35-year old demographic.

According to PDZA, one way big data analytics has made a difference is by simplifying its membership marketing campaigns and giving the team access to relevant data within minutes. Previously, the membership division had to wait several days for the IT team to extract the information from point-of-sale systems and create a mailing list.

Big data analytics has also helped to better the zoo’s social media marketing efforts, improved its ability to connect with social users, and act on insights gleaned from social channels. A recent example was a campaign offering a $3 admission discount to zoo members who checked in to its Facebook page. Insights generated through big data analytics have also highlighted when and what customers are purchasing via the zoo’s website, contributing to 700 per cent online sales growth in the past two years.

Another way the zoo is endeavouring to improve visitor engagement is by supplying employees with iPads to access financial data securely as well as attendance, membership and retail information. Using analysis across sales data and open rates online, the organisation has launched a series of targeted activities including a recent discount promotion to members on the day their membership expired. The zoo claimed a 6 per cent buy in, double the average return on mail renewal campaigns.

PZDA is also using analytics across a range of external data such as weather information, as well as improve staff resourcing across various areas of the zoo.

“As a zoo, we are now realising the power of big data and how insights can be gleaned from information ranging from Facebook comments to a retail sale made at our gift shop,” said PZDA spokesperson, Donna Powell.

“The collaboration with IBM and BrightStar Partners, and the use of big data analytics, are helping us to better understand visitor preferences while conserving wildlife at the same time.”

Forthcoming technology plans at PZDA include introducing a mobile ticketing solution that works with near-field communication (NFC) capabilities and allows visitors to check in to different areas within the zoo. This information will be used to understand which exhibits are most popular and have the longest ‘stay times’.

More on big data in practice

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO Australia conversation on LinkedIn: CMO Australia, or join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia

Join the newsletter!

Or
Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

Social purpose: Oxygen for your brand health vitals

If trust is the new currency, then we’re in deep trouble. Here's why.

Carolyn Butler-Madden

Founder and CEO, Sunday Lunch

Customer experience disruption: Healthcare faces a bitter pill

Over the past decade, disruptors such as Amazon, Apple and Australia’s Atlassian have delivered technology enhanced customer experiences, which for the most part, have improved customers’ lives and delivered unparalleled growth. Can they do the same for healthcare?

Alex Allwood

Principal, All Work Together

How can a brand remain human in a digital world?

Some commentators estimate that by 2020, 85 per cent of buyer-seller interactions will happen online through social media and video*. That’s only two years away, and pertinent for any marketer.

James Kyd

Global head of brand strategy and marketing, Xero

https://bit.ly/2qLgzmR Transform your life a proven digital blueprint

Okitoi Steven

How this banking group tackled a digital marketing transformation

Read more

Its great to hear that companies including JCDecaux, oOh!media, Omnicom and Posterscope Australia have all partnered with Seedooh inorder...

Blue Mushroom Infozone Pvt Ltd

Out of home advertising companies strive for greater metrics and transparency

Read more

Much ado about nothingAnother fluff piece around what it could possibly do rather than what it is doing

gve

How AMP is using AI to create effortless ‘experiences’

Read more

is it true that Consumer expectations are also changing as a result. If we trust someone with our data there is also an expectation that ...

Sunita Madan

Society will decide where digital marketing takes us next: Oracle

Read more

This Blog is Very interesting to read and thank you for sharing the valuable information about Machine Learning. The information you prov...

johny blaze

What machine learning has done for the Virgin Velocity program

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in