History Colorado Museum is using IBM big data analytics to increase visitor traffic and deliver an exceptional museum experience.
IBM also announced a collaboration with Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium (PDZA) to use IBM Big Data analytics to engage visitors with a more enriching zoo experience based on data generated from mobile devices and social channels.
Using IBM Big Data analytics, PDZA's online ticket sales have grown more than 700 percent, with online sales expected to increase by up to 25 percent by the end of this year.
Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, with just 80 full-time employees, is the only combined zoo and aquarium in the Pacific Northwest.
The 29-acre zoo, which promotes and practices wildlife and ecosystem conservation initiatives, is one of the top tourist destinations in Pierce County, Washington and attracts more than 600,000 visitors a year.
On a daily basis, millions of data records are generated on visitor exhibit and special event preferences, and participation in conservation initiatives.
Significant visitor feedback is also generated on social channels, such as Facebook, which reveal visitor likes and dislikes and other feedback on overall zoo operations. The zoo needed a lens to focus on the actionable insights that emerge from this massive amount of information.
Also in collaboration with BrightStar Partners, the zoo turned to IBM Big Data analytics to uncover the patterns and trends in its data to help drive ticket sales, enhance visitor experiences, and increase visitor participation in raising awareness of wildlife conservation.
The creation of membership marketing campaigns has also been simplified by IBM Big Data analytics. The membership team can obtain the data they need within minutes instead of waiting several days for the IT team to extract membership information from the POS system and create a mailing list.
The analytics capabilities also make it easier to monitor the success of social media marketing. For example, zoo members who "checked in" to the zoo's Facebook page were given a three dollar admission discount during a recent promotion. Business insights garnered from big data analytics have helped to identify the patterns of when and what customers are purchasing online, which has contributed to the zoo's online sales program growing by more than 700 percent in the past two years.
Zoo employees also now use iPads to access the organization's financial data securely as well as attendance, membership, and retail information. By analyzing online sales, staff can compare what time of day members are more likely to respond to offers.
After analyzing sales data and open rates, a recent promotion went to members whose membership would expire at the end of the day, offering them a targeted discount if they renewed before the end of the day. The zoo saw a 6 percent buy in on that promotion when its typical return on mail renewal campaigns is 3 percent.
A major next step for the zoo is the introduction of a mobile ticketing solution, which can subsequently be extended to use the near-field communication (NFC) capabilities on smartphones.
This short-range, wireless technology can transfer small amounts of data between two devices held a few centimeters from each other. In the future visitors will be able to "check in" at different areas within the zoo, which in turn will help zoo managers better understand which exhibits are most popular and have the longest "stay times."