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Technology is Key to Increased Profitability for Europe’s Leading Leisure Attractions

Europe’s largest leisure attractions see their sales and admission systems as
outdated, inefficient and a barrier to sales growth, research by Mintel on
behalf of BT has found.
Twelve leading attractions in the UK, France, Germany and Spain took part in
the survey conducted earlier this year. Between them, these attractions drew
more than 52 million customers in 2004 with an average spend per customer of
The survey revealed that most of the attractions saw their current systems
as “old fashioned” and “manual”, with some using systems that had been in
place for more than ten years and several not having online ticket booking
functionality.  Many attractions see the installation of a new IT system as a
top priority, and plan to put greater emphasis on online sales and integrated
trade partner ticketing platforms.
Gary Bullard, managing director, BT Global Services UK, said: “The leisure
industry has been through a period of consolidation, with new owners clearly
understanding the need to transform their sales and admission systems.
Standardising the IT infrastructure across different sites is a key element
in cutting costs and boosting efficiency, leading to increased profits.”
Advanced ticket sales, in particular those booked online, were identified as
a key method of increasing visitor numbers yet many of those interviewed did
not offer online ticket booking.
The average proportion of tickets sold directly to customers rather than via
third parties was about 75 per cent of all sales. Of these, less than a third
were advanced sales. By comparison, more than 90 per cent of third party
ticket sales were advanced bookings.
Many of those surveyed communicated with their trade partners via phone, fax
and e-mail - a costly and inefficient method.  Those attractions expressed an
interest in integrating their sales and admission system with trade partners,
transforming the customer booking process from a time consuming search across
multiple sources of information into a single visit to a destination portal.
This approach enables customers to purchase tickets to an attraction and at
the same time make hotel, theatre and restaurant bookings, representing huge
potential to increase the share of visitor wallet through the online portal.
The survey also found that overseas visitors, driven by low-cost airline
travel, were becoming an increasingly important market for attractions. These
customers in particular want to buy tickets online at anytime of the day and
in a variety of languages and currencies.
The use of vouchers that have to be converted into tickets at the
attraction on the day of visit was the most common reason cited for
contributing to queuing.  Other reasons included cash only ticket purchase at
the entrance gates and no advance sales.
The most common approach for reducing queues was simply opening up
additional gates/cash registers during peak visitor times.
BT has been working in the leisure industry for more than 11 years
and has developed its sales and admissions system, RialtoPlus, to meet the
technology and business needs highlighted by attractions in the research.

RialtoPlus automates all trade partner interactions. Through a web
based interface, attractions and trade partners can check availability and
make real time bookings, removing costly manual processes. The system can
transform an attractions’ online booking platform into a destination portal
which offers a range of packaged special offers, such as hotel accommodation
and restaurant meals, enabling attractions to increase profits and boost the
share of visitor wallet.
RialtoPlus is multi-lingual, supporting European languages and
payments in euros, US dollars and sterling, making reserving a ticket easy
for overseas guests.  With RialtoPlus customers can also buy a ticket online
and print their tickets at home with a barcode that can be scanned on
arrival, reducing queues and enhancing visitor experience.