“What do they want now?” Admit it, you’ve said this a few times, referring to your season pass holders.
Here at Magic Waters Waterpark, season pass holders won’t hesitate to inform the staff of the smallest detail, such as when a light bulb is out in the restroom and needs to be replaced.
Those are the most high-maintenance customers you have, too, right? They pay the least amount in admission per visit, and they are the most vocal.
But at the same time, season pass holders also are the most loyal customers out there. At Magic Waters, some of them come almost 90 days a year, and others have been season pass holders for more than 25 years.
In realizing that our season pass holders are giving us that level of dedication, we recognized that we needed to improve our relationship with them. By implementing a few simple strategies, we’ve been able to turn their “waterpark love” into an extremely positive and mutually beneficial relationship.
Here are four of the most effective strategies that we’ve adopted.
1. Rethink complaints. Season pass holders mean well, and they just want a great experience. Resolve to stop cringing when one calls you or complains about something. Instead, find a way to turn every interaction you have with a season pass holder into an opportunity to get the person to support your goals.
Recently, two season pass holders (a husband and wife) came to our office about some issues they had with Magic Waters. I called the couple and asked if we could discuss their frustrations over coffee. When we met several days later, I listened carefully and found that most of their concerns were rooted in a lack of knowledge about the operation. I answered their questions reasonably, calmly explaining the rationale behind some of the policies they were questioning. Moreover, I encouraged them to learn even more about the park by signing up for our e-newsletters and following us on Twitter and Facebook.
Toward the end of our coffee, I also asked them for additional advice on which special offers pass holders might like to receive in the new year. The meeting ended with handshakes and hugs, and now we have two supporters who will help spread the good word about the waterpark. In turn, they’re getting even more say in the waterpark, which will further enhance their experiences.
2. Get personal. Establish personal relationships with your season pass holders. Really get to know them, and allow them to get to know you. The Magic Waters staff has worked extremely hard at establishing relationships, and it has paid off. I even received a wedding anniversary card from one season pass holder, whom I now consider a great friend!
3. Ask for feedback. Invite season pass holders to participate in helping to improve your operations through tools such as secret shopper groups, surveys, and participation in pre-season orientations and other ongoing training. You might also ask them for leads and referrals, not just for new season pass holders, but for groups and company outings, too.
4. Show your appreciation. A season pass holder appreciation day could be a great way to end the season in August and kick off season pass sales for the following year.
Armed with these suggestions, your mission is to stop complaining about season pass holders. Most of all, keep in mind what a very wise season pass holder once told me, “Everyone comes to have a good time, not a bad time.”