How to launch a new experience for your attraction

21 May 2023

Eight-step guide on how to launch a new experience for your attraction.  

Photo by Tim Mossholder

What experience have I got to be writing this article?

Before joining Navigate, I headed up the marketing and communications for the National Aquarium. We launched a new experience offering to utilise the venue and locations after hours and in places used sparingly.

This allowed us to hugely increase revenue in addition to visitor footfall and got us vast amounts of press and attention with sell-out sleeping with sharks, dining at the aquarium, and even snorkelling in the exhibits. After that, I joined Naturebreak, a company specialising in showcasing the best hands-on experiences in nature. So I've had the pleasure of working across many experience launches, and I know what works and what to avoid.

If you work for a marketing team in a visitor attraction, the chances are you've been approached by family, friends, work colleagues, and fellow bus passengers with "Have you thought about doing an X event?".

So, anyone can come up with a random event idea, throw it on your website and expect people to come. But that won't develop a connection with your audience, and that won't build advocacy for your brand. In this article, I will explain the steps you can take to launch a new experience for your organisation.

Photo by Kevin Lanceplaine

Step 1: Ask the experts

As marketers, we know how to communicate to audiences, tell stories, and ultimately drive sales. But to create a compelling experience for your audience, you must speak to the teams delivering those experiences on the ground.

If you want to launch a new “feed the red pandas” experience, you must have the animal team's buy-in. If you're going to launch a new "night at the museum" event, you must speak to the functions team to know what nights aren't their best-selling for corporate bookings. Once you've got the teams on board and excited, you can do what you do best.

Step 2. Find the market

Now you have the internal team on board, it's essential to speak to your current audience to see if there's an appetite for a new dining experience (excuse the pun). Whatever the new experience, it's best to do market research before committing to launch. Just because it's a clever/ good idea doesn't mean audiences will want to pay for it.

Why not do some on-the-ground questionnaires with people visiting you during a regular day? (Tip, a coffee voucher will typically get you "five minutes" of a visitor's time, and their answers may surprise you). Or if you have a close nit members list, email out a survey to find out their thoughts. Once you know people want this experience, it's time to build your product.

Photo by AbsolutVision
Photo by Zalfa Imani
Photo by Nikolay Tchaouchev

Step 3. Define your offering

Now that you have both your internal and external comms in place, it's time to do your own research to define the experience. Is there any other experience like it in the UK? What is the price point of different experiences? What is the drive time that people will travel for the experience? The bigger the drive time, the higher the price point (within reason). It's always better to launch an experience at a lower price point and sell it out, than launch too high and then backtrack with discounts or lower the cost.

It's important to work out the length of the experience, making it feel like a worthwhile product. What are the after-booking communications to send out, directions for the day, and experience package? All things to consider.

Step 4. Create the experience content package

My favourite part of the process is taking the black-and-white details of the offering and turning them into an unforgettable experience. This takes time and expertise; either do this in-house with your team or look to a specialist agency to take care of this for you. If this experience is a potential high-value product from your research and workings out, getting an external opinion on this can hugely help.

Consider a logo for the experience. For example, West Midland Safari Park launched a sub-brand for their luxury lodge offering. High-quality images that showcase the offering. Video to utilise in your content and to drive engagement in your paid advertising. Putting together a quick press release for the experience launch (some media might even want to feature the experience and give it a go).

Step 5. Announce on social media, newsletter, and press with a chance to win a free experience.  

This step saw tremendous excitement for new experiences at the aquarium and gave us considerable data growth. I'd recommend doing a paid media campaign with some budget and unique creative (see an example here). To win a free experience, ask your audience to enter a competition. 

They'll give their email address to enter and hopefully opt-in for further news about the experience. A media budget behind this will help, or if you're looking to drive your email list for the next 12 months, speak to an agency like Navigate, who has vast experience in this. 

Step 6. Reveal the winner and announce tickets on sale on a date (build anticipation) 

Once you've revealed the winner, announce that the tickets will go on sale on a specific date, and to get access to the ticket link, first sign up to your mailing list. Also, if done correctly, you'll have thousands of people who signed up to win the experience. 

These are warm leads; why not email a discount code for the experience to your newly engaged mailing list, and send them the ticket link before public release.

Step 7. Launch tickets and look to sell out all available tickets 

If you've done all the steps correctly, an engaged audience will be ready to book your new experience. You'll likely then have press or influencers who'd like to come and try for free for publishing news about the experience. 

Try to fit them around the paying guests if you can, and obviously go through the influencer and press checks to see they have an engaged audience that includes the demographic you're looking to target (for questions to ask, email us, and we'll give you the complete list to ask). 

Step 8. Evaluate

How did the campaign go? Did the experience sell as well as you'd hoped? Did all the weekend slots sell out, but you have many weekday sessions left? Try adding capacity when you can, and reduce the cost during off-peak times. Evaluate your data and insights and evolve your offering. 


It's better to have a handful of quality sell-out experiences that bring in significant revenue than hundreds of smaller, cheaper ones that still take staff time to run and promote. 

Remember that, like most things, it takes time to launch new experiences, and you'll learn more each time you do it. If you've got an idea but are still determining if it will work, feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn to discuss. 

And remember, make sure you get buy-in from your internal teams first, and ask for support from expert agencies if you want to go big on revenue growth.