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Nashville Zoo roars into mobile ticketing to ease user experience

Nashville Zoo, a fast-growing zoological park serving middle Tennessee and southern Kentucky, is leveraging a mobile ticketing and ecommerce system to make it faster and easier for visitors to buy tickets, become members and take part in other zoo activities.

The zoo will leverage the accesso Passport ticketing suite to offer its guests convenient access to advance ticket sales on mobile and support onsite sales with point-of-sale, membership pass processing, group sales and access control. The zoo’s adoption of the system points to how zoos’ application of mobile has advanced beyond simply finding ways to connect guests with nature and wildlife to meeting consumers’ accelerated service expectations.

“Our guests expect an enjoyable experience which, in part, means a quick and easy process of purchasing tickets, membership, or one of the many activities offered at the Zoo,” said Andy Tillman, chief operating officer for the Nashville Zoo.

Conservation involvement
Six Flags Entertainment and International Speedway Corp. are among other leisure-industry players using accesso’s systems.

Making it easier to support zoo’s conservation efforts.

Since opening its doors in 1991, Nashville Zoo has grown from a small, private operation in Cheatham County to an Association of Zoos and Aquariums accredited facility with international conservation involvement.

About 830,000 visitors annually come to the Zoo annually, making it Middle Tennesee’s number one attraction. Attendance is expected to exceed one million in about two years.

Accesso’s platform makes the zoo guest experience more efficient with shorter front-gate transaction times. Online purchasing options let guests print tickets at home or take the time to explore numerous membership options.

Partnering with accesso solved problems at the zoo created by front gates sales’ separation from online sales.

“Merging these two into one systems has proved to be insurmountable in the past,” Mr. Tillman said. “Our arrangement with accesso solves that problem making our operations and financial reporting much more streamlined.”

Nashville Zoo is the latest zoological attraction to leverage mobile to provide faster, easier service to visitors.

The San Diego Zoo’s mobile application, for instance, provides users with information about the plants and animals they can find in the zoo and how to purchase tickets.

Other tourist attractions are embracing mobile ticketing and commerce to meet consumer expectations that have increased amid the mobile mind shift.

“Venues such as the Nashville Zoo are investing in mobile and commerce technology geared towards providing value to their customers and ultimately saving them time during their visit,” said Dirk Rients, founder/CEO of Mobile Ventures. “Consumers are demanding the ability to access content and make purchases from anywhere and on any device.

“Brands need to constantly innovate and invest in new mobile technology that offers value and convenience to their customers,” he said.

Engaging guests
In July, CityPass, a family-owned company in Idaho that bundles pre-paid admission tickets for top attractions in several cities around the country launched a test in Chicago through which customers could pick up their physical booklet of tickets using a voucher on their mobile phone.

Moving beyond engagement into mobile commerce.

“We certainly think about ways to engage our guest as they make their way through the Zoo,” Mr. Tillman said. “Additionally, we encourage and carefully listen to comments that cover the topic of mobile convenience.

“If the technology exists and we can afford to implement it and it addresses a real need, we do our best to make it happen.”

Final Take
Michael Barris is staff reporter for Mobile Commerce Daily, New York