Strategies to manage season pass reservations

June 11, 2020
Author
Kathryn Quinn

Also, $0 season pass reservations are live!

In our last post, we started to touch on the challenge of balancing day ticket visitation with season pass visits as resorts and attractions start to re-open. With local governments providing capacity restrictions for re-opening businesses, figuring out how to guarantee pass holders can visit (that’s part of why they bought a season pass) while allowing day ticket visitors is a real issue.

Over the past few weeks, after talking with both our partners and team, we’ve outlined several methods to manage visitation for specific dates within a capacity constrained world. While all of the strategies below require season pass holders to make an advance reservation, there are multiple ways this can be done based on what you think will work best at your resort/attraction and for your customers.

Each of the strategies below will require not only the implementation of the tactics and software that can accommodate them, but also a clear communication plan so customers can understand what to expect. We’d be happy to help with either so that you can successfully manage visits while capacity constraints remain in place. 

$0 season pass reservations

If your e-commerce software allows it (and now Cloud Store does!), you can allow a season pass holder to book a reservation for a specific date for $0. We’ve recently added this functionality to our software, enabling passholders to “checkout” for a day ticket without payment. It is important to note that customers will need to have their season pass verified upon arrival.

Customers can buy a ticket or reserve a spot with their season pass
Payments are not needed for season pass reservations

Season pass reservation fee for a guaranteed visit

To guarantee their reservation for a specific-date, you could charge season pass holders a small fee to reserve a date for their visit online. Upon the guest’s arrival, you could then check the guest who selected a pass holder reservation is in fact a pass holder (Messaging can be provided in the booking flow informing pass holders that they must bring their season pass). Charging a small fee for a reservation may deter season pass holders from abusing a reservation system by reserving dates that they do not intend to actually visit.

While booking a reservation wouldn’t necessarily be required, you could clearly communicate that it is the best way to guarantee that the customer is able to visit on their desired date. While a customer could show up to your resort or attraction without a reservation, there would not be a guarantee that the resort/attraction wasn’t already at capacity upon their arrival. 

The reservation fee doesn’t have to be something that you keep. For example, the fee could be required to hold and book the customer’s reservation but refunded at check-in or converted onsite to credit for F&B or to a gift shop. In the product description, you might say something like:

“A $3 reservation fee is required to book your ticket, however, you will be provided a $3 F&B credit upon arrival at the ticket window.”

Temporary COVID surcharge for both day ticket visitors and season pass holders

If charging only season pass holders an additional fee for reservations doesn’t sound like it would work for you, you could also consider applying a small fee for both season pass reservations and on top of day ticket purchases. COVID surcharges have become more prevalent, in places from dentist offices to restaurants to recoup the extra charges of sanitation supplies/PPE and adjusted operations.

We’ll be continuing to work on features to make it easier and safer to manage capacity constrained visitation, so if you have suggestions, let us know in the comments or send us a note at partners@catalate.com.