Amusement Parks See Huge Swing to Advance, Online Booking

The pandemic has driven big changes in how travelers are planning park visits, and amusement and theme park operators not prepared for the digital shift could find themselves falling behind
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Reading Time: 1 minutes 34 seconds

Operators of amusement parks, including theme parks, adventure and water parks, have seen big shifts in how and when travelers are purchasing park tickets. The share of travelers purchasing amusement park tickets via computer has risen from 29% in 2019 to 41% in 2021. The share of travelers booking on their phones has nearly tripled, from 14% also to 41%. 

​​Walking up to the attraction ticket office had long been the dominant way visitors to parks and ticketed attractions would purchase tickets. Online channels had been growing pre-pandemic, but two key factors have accelerated the shift online:

  1. Capacity limits amid reopenings, as well as the need for contact tracing, forced many operators to require advance purchase;
  2. Travelers also have been doing more advance planning and booking to inquire about cancellation policies as well as health and safety measures. This rapidly accelerated online buying.

Amusement Park Takeaway

Park operators may not be able to count on similar volumes of same-day walk-up purchasers as they have in the past. Parks must adapt marketing and ticketing strategies to target the in-advance, online purchaser.  

These shifts may be especially important for smaller, secondary amusement and theme parks that have historically received more same-day walk-up sales. Parks that have not invested in a great digital experience for their customers may find themselves losing share to other attractions and activities ready for the digital shift. 

Arival Path to Purchase Series: Amusement Parks 2021-22

Based on exclusive new research of 1,000 U.S. travelers on their planned or intended travel over the next 12 months, this report highlights key trends in traveler behavior and expectations for amusement parks. It features actionable recommendations for park operators and marketers across product, marketing, distribution, pricing and operations. 

Arival’s Path to Purchase Series: Amusement Parks 2021 is free for Arival Pro Access Insiders, or available for purchase for $79. Click here to download or learn more

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