Adam Gartenberg's Blog

Business Analytics and Optimization, IBM and Social Marketing

Driving visits (and beer sales) at the zoo

IBM announced today that we're working with the Cincinnati Zoo to help them increase visits, in-park spending and customer service through Cognos business analytics software (Cincinnati Zoo Adds 50,000 New Visits, Drives New Revenue With IBM Business Analytics).

Working with BrightStar Partners, the zoo has replaced the three separate point of sale systems that were used to capture and collect sales and admission data – one for ticketing, one for retail, and one for food and beverage - with a unified analytics system that provides employees and management with a single view of data, providing insight and an “at a glance” view of the business across the park.  

As a result, they are able to apply analytics to provide real-time insight and alerts to employees and management, and they can take action to better target promotions and merchandising and otherwise maximize cross-park sales.  They were able to increase in-park spending by as much as 25% almost immediately after going live with the system, and are expecting $350,000 in additional revenue and 50,000 additional visits as a result of the new capabilities.

But let's look a little deeper at one area where the new system had particular benefits - making sure the "beer hut" always has the right beer on hand.

For example, the Zoo’s ‘Beer Hut’ concession features six different brands, which are typically rotated based on sales volume and the seasons. With IBM analytics, management can now instantly identify which beer is selling best, on what day, and at what time to make sure inventory meets demand. Previously, it took seven to 14 days to get this information, which required hiring part-time staff to sift through register tapes. 

Seriously, though, this is just one example of the ways that analytics can provide visibility and insight to help an organization increase their top line while also increase customer service.  The park's director of operations sums up the overall benefits best:
“Almost immediately after going live with IBM analytics software, we were able to increase our in-park spending by as much as 25 percent by utilizing 360 degree customer views. We turned that information into strategic offers to our guests, and arming our managers with real-time data enabled them to react to a dynamic and fluid business driven by seasonal weather patterns. It was instant payback,” said John Lucas, Director of Park Operations for Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens.

“We now have the ability to see and analyze data in all corners of our business -- presented in the way we want to see it whenever we need it -- and be more responsive to our customers. IBM analytics software is also revolutionizing our cross promotion and cross sell efforts, helping us better serve clients, and most importantly, because of our increased revenues, we’re better able to deliver our mission of inspiring passion for nature and saving wildlife for future generations,” Lucas said.

Link:  Cincinnati Zoo Adds 50,000 New Visits, Drives New Revenue With IBM Business Analytics