The name of the mobile game is to enhance the customer experience (CX) and if you haven’t nailed it yet, you are likely one of the thousands of brands working toward it. Museums, sports arenas and other attractions around the world are vying for the foot-traffic of the masses, and a well-designed, strategic attraction mobile app is the most valuable tool in providing that dazzling experience. It can garner national recognition, draw and retain customers and drive revenue. Read what our expert designers and developers believe are the best qualities of an attraction mobile app for national destinations.

In our experience researching and developing a mobile strategy for The Fox Theatre, we’ve discovered a few key elements to providing the ultimate customer experience through an attraction mobile app:

  • personalization
  • mobile ordering
  • mobile tickets
  • map of the venue
  • easily accessible list of exhibits or activities
  • interactive media
  • social sharing
  • geolocation technology
  • beacons
  • push notifications to promote loyalty and exclusive offers

Each of these features improve the visitor’s experience by solving a customer pain point, providing simplified access or offering an enhanced way to enjoy the attraction, thereby driving deeper engagement. The challenge for attractions worldwide is to give their visitors a truly unique experience that can’t be found elsewhere. Here are five national venues that are successfully integrating features into their apps to set them apart.

American Museum of Natural History

According to Capgemini, “‘fully-engaged’ customers deliver a 23% premium over the average customer in share of wallet, profitability and revenue.” When it comes to creating an engaging mobile app that enhances the user’s physical experience, the American Museum of Natural History’s Explorer app hit it out of the park with valuable features that drive deeper, more personalized engagement.

The app opens to a user-friendly view of icons with all sorts of interests you can tap to create a personalized list of activities for your day. The options range from exhibits to the museum shop to restaurant options. To deliver a fully engaging experience, visitors can take quizzes that broaden their knowledge. Also, within the app you can avoid ticket lines and receive reminders for exhibit showtimes by purchasing tickets directly. You simply access the ticket within the app; no longer will you have to worry about keeping track of it.

Memphis Zoo

The Memphis Zoo mobile app offers fun features that enhance the zoo experience including an interactive map and playful, kid-friendly media. The interactive map helps visitors to find their way around the zoo solving a common problem for the visitor – removing the difficulty of navigating the 76-acre attraction. With a simple tap of the screen in a certain location, a brief description of the nearby exhibit comes up and with GPS tracking you can easily identify where you are. Additionally, you can create a virtual photo booth and take a picture with a Memphis Zoo frame to create a fun memory. Save your photo to your camera roll and share on social media or with your friends for an interactive experience.

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) reopened its “purpose-built [facility] to showcase the museum’s celebrated collection over 10 breathtaking floors” in 2016 after a 3-year renovation closure. The museum delivered on its mission to “embrace new ways of seeing the world” with a space nearly 3x as large as before and the launch of a mobile app that boasts “mind-blowing audio content with cutting-edge indoor positioning technology,” setting a new precedent for museum audio tours. The in-app audio tour leverages GPS-tracking technology to detect your location, and each user receives content about artwork in their proximity. It empowers visitors to create their own tour – a customizable journey through generations of masterpieces. The app put SFMOMA on the map as a mobile-forward organization and helped the longstanding institution to stay relevant as a must-see attraction in San Francisco.

Lincoln Center

The Lincoln Center deployed a massive upgrade to its web and mobile brand presence in 2016 to not only grow its brand recognition, but also drive affinity for the arts. “Our mission is to get the best of the performing arts to the broadest audience,” said Lincoln Center chairwoman Katherine Farley. “That means digital.” In response, the organization deployed an app that focused on ticket purchasing, mobile ordering and social sharing.

The app provides customers with the ability to skip long drink lines by pre-ordering drinks. After placing an order within the app, guests pick up their drink when ready. Additionally, the app encourages visitors to share exclusive media with friends on social media, helping to generate buzz about the venue and its performances, improve the user experience, drive loyalty and increase exposure to the brand. According to the Social Habit, 53% of Americans who follow brands on social are more loyal to those brands.

Related: How Mobile Apps Can Boost Revenue

Amway Center

Beacons can be leveraged to push location-based offers and promotions to your visitors, alerting them to great deals and driving sales. They can be used for initiatives like loyalty programs and mobile payments, all of which lead to increasing a brand’s mobile presence. In a survey by Aimia and Columbia Business School, nearly 69% agreed that they would share location data in order to receive those location-based discounts.

NBA’s Orlando Magic was the first NBA team to deploy beacons at its home arena Amway Center in 2014. Since launching the effort, the team has reported an increase of more than $1 million in ticket sales during the 2014-2015 season alone.

“The Magic is committed to our fans and their experience in our building, and we are continually looking for ways to take these areas to another level,” said Magic CEO Alex Martins. “iBeacons provide the perfect fit to accomplishing this goal. As the first NBA team to offer one-to-one personalized experiences enabled by iBeacons and integrated with our mobile app, it allows us to build on our mission of providing legendary moments every step of the way.”

Each of these apps solves a pain point for visitors while offering unique ways to enhance the customer experience.  An optimized attraction mobile app capitalizes on each of the customer touchpoints, identifies the gaps and seizes opportunities to drive deeper engagement that increases sales, and these attractions have provided the ultimate customer experience in doing so. So what are you waiting for? It’s time for your venue to nail the customer experience with a mobile app!

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