What exactly is an automation? And how can you, who work with events, hospitality and other experiences, use automations? In this article, we'll go over what your new best friend automations are and 7 reasons why you should use them in your marketing strategy.

What is an Automation?

Automationa are similar to a self-playing piano. Briefly explained, it's about marketing that is automated, just as the term suggests. Going a little deeper, automations are about data-driven, behaviour-driven and targeted communication, where you let a machine or technology do a job and where your job is to monitor the system.

You are the one who starts the automations. Based on what you know about your customers and their behaviors, you decide which emails and SMS to send, based on target groups, messages, channels and timing. You also review things like outcomes and conversions from time to time and make adjustments if necessary. Otherwise, automations are like a self-playing piano!

Why are automations a particularly good fit for the experience industry?

Since your guest makes the reservation at one point but consumes the purchase later, there is a whole window between the two points in time. From the moment your customer buys a concert ticket, entrance to the amusement park or hotel night, you have the opportunity to talk to the guest and help them get a good feeling before the day of arrival. You must build the customer's expectation, engage the customer in what he or she likes and create a strong relationship even before the guest arrives – and here automations fit in fantastically well!

Here are 7 reasons to why you in the event and experience industry should use Marketing Automation as part of your marketing strategy:

1. Information before the visit
2. Upsell – increase revenue and enhance customer experience
3. Higher customer satisfaction and better service
4. Spot-on and relevant communication
5. More leads and an opportunity to pick up buy signals
6. Cost-effective marketing
7. Channel simultaneous visibility

7 reasons to use automations

1. Information before a visit

Before a performance, festival or spa stay, your guests need information. About what? Well, guests want to know where to park the car, if there are slippers in the hotel room, what sound volume to expect at the concert or what food options are available at the theater. Here you can divide the information into two different areas: need-to-know and nice-to-know. What do your customers need to know before the visit? And what is not so important to know, but might be nice to know?

Examples of need-to-know – information that your visitors need to know:

• Address: Which address should visitors type into Google Maps?

• Date & time: When do the doors open, what time does the football match start, and from what time can visitors check in?

• Parking: Where do guests who come by car park? How else does the audience get to the festival area or the theme park by public transport?

• Wardrobe: Is a hanger included in the price or not, and where is the wardrobe?

• Renovations: Is there anything temporarily affecting the traffic?

• Food: Is it possible to buy sandwiches, coffee or other food in connection with the event? Does the guest need to book a table?

Examples of nice-to-know – information that may be nice to know:

• Weather (for outdoor events): What temperature will it be at the destination? Do sunglasses and sunscreen need to be brought?

• Nearby activities: What should the guest see and do in connection with the visit or event?

• Food options: If there are different food options at your venue, what are the different options?

If you don't know what to inform your guests about, you can review which questions the customers ask in your customer service. If you use this information in your automations, you also help your customer service by reducing the number of incoming questions. In short, a win-win for both your business and your customers!

An SMS welcoming the visitor is a simple but nice gesture.

2. Upsell – increase revenue and enhance customer experience

With pre-visit automations, you have a good chance of increasing revenue. What add-ons – that at the same time make the experience extra memorable – would you like to tell the guest about?

Five suggestions for increased sales:

• Drinks: A luxurious glass of champagne on arrival at the opera, coffee for the early-morning parents at the zoo and beer for the skiers at the after-skin.

• Programs & books: Physical program about the show's actors or the ice hockey match's line-up to pick up when the guest arrives.

• Food & snacks: Dinner with a wine package at one of the spa resort's exclusive restaurants, a sandwich in the foyer or popcorn at the funfair.

• Merch: Signed fan shirts – mood boosters for everyone in the fan crowd! Rain ponchos, tote bags and mascots with your brand logo are other examples.

• Drink tickets: Drink tickets for the beer fair that can be picked up quickly in the entrance. Cause if they are bought in place, the visitor will have to wait longer in the queue!

3. Higher customer satisfaction and better service

You can work with customer satisfaction both before, during and after the event or visit.

Before the event or visit

By communicating with your customers in advance of the event and making sure they are well prepared to fully enjoy, you will achieve higher customer satisfaction. Instead of visitors feeling confused and uninformed upon arrival, they are calm and in control. They know if they should bring earplugs, what time they need to leave home and if they can buy hot dogs for the children when they arrive.

With communication that happens at regular intervals before the visit, the guests get, in short, a better service. In return, you get happier and more loyal customers!

During the event or visit

Take the opportunity to greet the visitor with an SMS. Send a link that gathers the most essential information, and wish the guest a great day.

After the event or visit

When the concert, hockey match or spa stay is over and the visitor has left you, you must continue to care about the visitor. You want the guest to leave with a good feeling and to come back!

Wish the customer a safe journey home the same day he or she leaves, send a customer survey a few days after the visit, and when a longer period of time has passed you remind the visitor of what a magical time you had together. Maybe you also add a discount code? Do what you can to strengthen the relationship with your customers – but avoid spamming them.

Göteborgsvarvet advises the participants on how best to recover after the race.

4. Spot-on and relevant communication

With Marketing Automation you have the opportunity to be spot-on and relevant in your communication. So, when setting up your automations, you should already have the following in mind:

• WHAT you want to say: What should your message be? What is your CTA (Call To Action)?

• WHO you want to say it to: Who are you talking to? What appeals to your target audience?

• What CHANNELS you should use: Should you use e-mail or SMS as a channel, or maybe both? SMS reaches right into the recipient's sphere! When the door is open and you have to communicate about hygiene factors that are crucial for the experience to be as good as possible, SMS is a great channel (but be careful not to misuse the channel).

• What FREQUENCY the automations should have: How often should you communicate with your visitors?

• What you want to ACHIEVE: Is your goal to get more consents, sell more or recruit members? Or something completely different?

When you the points above are clear, you set up automations according to segments and target groups for your particular business. In this way, the automations become foolproof and relevant!

5. More leads and an opportunity to pick up buy signals

By, for example, cookies on the website and filtering of who clicked on a certain link in an email, you can pick up purchase signals. If you also choose to send an email to the recipients who clicked on that link and are more "aggressive" in the new email, you can expect really good conversion. Buyers of experiences need to be warmed up and communicated with several times to go from leads to buyers.

6. Cost-effective marketing

If you use customer data to talk relevantly with existing customers, it will be cheaper to get them back. You also become more credible because you're not spamming everyone with everything. With a close eye on the customer journey – from the time the guest bought the experience to the time the customer arrives and then leaves you – and the related marketing, you can therefore expect a higher cost efficiency. You save time and drive sales at the same time.

7. Channel simultaneous visibility

You know what you want to say, who you want to talk to and what you want to achieve with your communication, right? Then you can also plan for simultaneous channel visibility while planning your automations. Namely, you need to talk to the customer in different ways and in different channels – SMS, email, social media, homepage etc. A buyer of a ticket to an event or theme park needs, as mentioned, to be warmed up and see your offer in several channels. Therefore, make a plan! And don't forget to follow up on your automations and other marketing efforts from time to time, to see if you need to tweak any wording or update any information.

"Automations are a win-win for both visitors and employees – they are easy for the guests to adopt and easy for the marketing department to manage."

Teresa Vikstedt

Digital Marketing Manager, Göteborgs Symfoniker

Automations in MarketHype

Streamline your marketing with automations

With automations you save time, strengthen customer relations and drive sales. They are perfect for upselling and sending important information – both before, during and after your event. In addition, it's easy to get started. Very easy.

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