The ultimate guide to improving guest experience

Carla Vianna
Carla Vianna
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The ultimate guide to improving guest experience

What’s the one thing you want guests to do after leaving your attraction?

You want them to rave about the experience to their friends and family. Focusing on improving guest experience is one of the leading growth factors for tourism businesses today because it keeps guests coming back time and again.

In other words, a great guest experience leads to customer advocacy. They’ll share photos from your attraction on social media, leave positive reviews online, and recommend it to their friends and colleagues (often without being asked).

In this guide, you’ll learn how to provide guests with an experience that’s worth their loyalty.

What is guest experience?

Why is improving guest experience important?

How to create a seamless guest experience for guests at your venue

What is guest experience? 

Guest experience is the sum of every interaction between your brand and your guests. It encompasses your pre-visit experience and communication (including when they first land on your website), the customer service you provide them with, and the on-site experience at your venue.

We also can’t ignore the digital interactions that happen before a guest arrives.

The digital guest experience might start with a social media ad that leads to an online booking, which is then followed up with an email confirmation.

For example, a guest who recently searched for whitewater rafting tours in Denver, Colorado, might be targeted with an ad for a hiking tour operator on Instagram. When the guest clicks into the ad, they’re convinced to book the tour.

Their first interaction with the brand happened through an ad, and it’ll now continue through several touchpoints until their visit.

These online interactions are as much a part of the overall guest experience as the ones that happen in-person on the day of their visit.

Guests will perceive these interactions based on their overall expectations of your attraction.

Why is improving guest experience important? 

Your guest experience directly impacts your guest’s perception of your brand. Everything from customer service support to the physical appearance of your venue can influence guest satisfaction.

About 90% of Americans use customer service as an important factor when choosing a brand. Even more — 94% — will recommend a company whose service they rate as “very good.”

The cost of a bad guest experience can be very high. Underwhelmed or unhappy guests will likely never return to your venue. Or worse: They may even discourage others from visiting.

One in three customers say they’ll walk awat from a brand they love after a single bad experience. And several studies have shown that dissatisfied customers will tell anywhere from 9 to 20 other people about their experience.

Improving your digital touchpoints is just as important. Over 65% of customers say their experience on a website or app would be a very important factor in their willingness to recommend the brand to a friend.

The better you understand your guest’s needs and expectations, the easier it’ll be to work on ways to exceed them.

How to create a seamless guest experience for guests at your venue

Here are nine proven tips to create a friction-less guest experience.

1. Offer a great website experience

The first touchpoint of your guest experience will likely be your website.

This is where guests will come to learn more about your attraction and purchase their tickets. A great website experience is quick to load, easy to navigate, and mobile-friendly. While website speed is often overlooked, studies show that improving the speed of a travel site leads to more conversions.

Some tips to speed up your website include:

  • Minimize HTTP requests
  • Compress or optimize your images
  • Choose a clean and uncomplicated website design
  • Use browser caching so that when a visitor comes back to your site, the browser doesn’t have to reload the entire page

A tourism website that converts should have the following components:

  • About, contact, and tour/activity pages where guests can purchase tickets
  • Professional photos that help guests visualize the experience
  • Social proof in the form of customer testimonials to persuade future guests to book
  • Use online booking software like Xola that drives more direct bookings

Guests should know exactly what your attraction is offering from just looking at your homepage.

2. Send a great order confirmation email

Your order confirmation email is one of your first pieces of communication with guests.

A great order confirmation email does more than just provide proof of purchase. It should come packed with valuable information about your attraction, personalized travel recommendations, and contact details.

It should be written in a friendly, conversational tone so that guests feel comfortable reaching out to you with questions or special requests.

Here’s a quick breakdown of what to include in every order confirmation email:

  • Guest contact details, including the email and phone number they used at the time of purchase
  • An order summary of the services purchased
  • A transparent cost breakdown highlighting taxes and fees
  • Confirmation of the payment method used
  • Digital version of their tickets or information on how to access them
  • Quickly list anything guests need to do before the visit
  • Your company’s contact information

3. Personalize your follow-up emails

Improving the guest experience is all about going the extra mile.

This means that everything that can be personalized, should be personalized.

Your follow-up emails are a great example. This is when you can show guests that you want to help make their experience as great as possible. Act as a resource for them by sharing itinerary ideas, hotel information, or restaurant suggestions. Your recommendations should be based on guests’ previous interactions with your company.

This will keep your company top-of-mind as guests start preparing for their visit.

The ongoing communication will make them feel comfortable reaching out to you at any time, which can help your staff offer them an even better experience.

4. Remind them about digital waivers

If there’s paperwork that needs to be done before their visit, encourage guests to fill it out online.

Digital waivers, for example, can be completed before their visit. A reminder email, which can be automated using Xola Waivers, can encourage guests to complete their waivers ahead of time to avoid having to do it once they arrive and delaying their entrance into the attraction.

5.Welcome guests to your venue

Make sure your guests are greeted with a warm welcome when they arrive at your attraction. If you’ve set a friendly, playful tone in your emails, train your staff to portray that in person.

Your front-facing staff should not only say hello but also ask guests if they have any special requests or needs to make their visit better. It’s a chance to get to know your visitors and offer them a more personalized experience.

A warm welcome ensures guests start their visit on a positive note.

6. Use a guest experience app to make their visit smoother

A mobile app can provide stress-free solutions for the things that guests find the most frustrating, such as getting around in a big museum or paying for food in a crowded theme park restaurant.

A whopping 95% of global theme park visitors will likely spend more money at your attraction if they can download a dedicated park app.

Customer experience apps can enhance the on-site visit by offering guests interactive maps and activity schedules at the palm of their hands. Apps can also provide guests with real-time updates, wait times, and emergency alerts. 

7. Improve your signage

Good signage is incredibly important for big attractions, even if guests have access to a virtual map.

Getting lost in a museum or aquarium can leave guests frustrated and shorten the time they have to enjoy themselves. They could miss timely activities or never find the exhibits they were most interested in seeing.

Your signage should be easy for guests to navigate around your venue.

8. Try out virtual queuing

A virtual queue allows guests to virtually wait in line for a ride without having to physically stand in it.

Guests check into a line on a mobile app and continue enjoying the park until their spot is up. They’ll receive a notification when it’s time to return to the ride.

This gives guests the flexibility to enjoy other rides or activities instead of waiting in line. Being that queuing for rides and attractions is one of the most frustrating aspects of a guest’s visit, this can really make a positive impact on the guest experience.

9. Don’t forget about post-experience review emails

Follow-up with your guests soon after their visit to ask for feedback.

Guest reviews are crucial to bettering your guest experience. The feedback you get from guests will give you an idea of what’s working and what needs to be improved.

Your post-experience email should start by thanking guests for choosing your attraction. Next, ask them how they feel about their experience. Make it easy for them to leave you a review by including a link to your Facebook, Google, or Yelp review pages. If you have a customer survey, include a link to that.

If you receive a positive review, make sure to follow up and thank the customer. 

And, when you get a negative review, make sure to follow up with the guest to learn more about what went wrong. Businesses that make an effort to address negative reviews can try to make things right before losing the customer.


An excellent guest experience will bring in loyal guests that love visiting and supporting your attraction. 


Writer Carla Vianna

Carla Vianna

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