“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
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.”