Visitability Case Study - Technology

SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium

INTRODUCTION

SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium takes you on an awe-inspiring journey through 12 amazing zones of discovery, right in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD. Home to thousands of aquatic animals, including one of the world’s largest saltwater crocodiles and sub-Antarctic King and Gentoo penguins, visitors take a journey from the depths of the ocean to the icy waters of Antarctica. 

With interactive animal encounters, state-of-the-art displays, animal feeds and regular keeper presentations, a visit to SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium is an excellent, educational and engaging experience. 

Over its 16 years of operation, the aquarium has become one of the favourite destinations of Melburnians and their families, as well as being an ambassador for the amazing Australian aquatic world to domestic and international visitors to Melbourne.  

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App Shot 6

THE SEA LIFE MELBOURNE AQUARIUM APP

In September 2016, SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium launched their new App, available via the Apple Store and Google Play. The launch of the app makes SEA LIFE Melbourne the first in Australia to introduce interactive iBeacon technology in an aquarium. Visitors can now download the app on any Bluetooth-enabled device, allowing them to access a huge amount of animal and facility information, and personalise their journey by saving their favourite moments and sharing them via social media.

Information about accessibility and facilities within the attraction are also available on the app, which is useful for families and tourists to plan their arrival and understand how to prepare for their visit.

A new way of educating

This exciting new technology allows visitors to access location-specific information about the exhibits, animals and conservation in the palm of their hand.

Not only is this new technology a vital learning tool, it will also assist visitors in navigating their journey and alerting them to special offers and upcoming events, making for a seamless flow of information to complement individual interests.

The App also sets up journey “trails” which have been (and will be) developed for each of the specific demographics. These include an adult, child and Chinese language trail.

Aquarium App Phone

Methodology and findings

One of the key strategic objectives for SEA LIFE Melbourne is to drive customer satisfaction. There are several ways in which the business can gauge satisfaction, including via an on-site KPI machine (which is located at the end of the journey, and which visitors are encouraged to complete), via feedback channels, including online, written, verbal feedback received from visitors on-site, as well as via digital and social media channels and Trip Advisor.

All feedback is commented on weekly, with full reviews every six months. This feedback is also a key element in informing the business strategy each year.

One of the most common points of the feedback over a significant time frame was that guests wanted more information about the amazing animals located within the building, as well as an engaging and interactive way in which to learn about them.

This feedback was taken on board, and SEA LIFE Melbourne were approached by a digital partner, Specialist Apps, who we worked with in developing a specific solution for the aquarium. As a result, they partnered with a leading software development company who have been at the forefront of mobile app development and content management, with a history in the educational space. 

Conclusions

Currently the App is being looked at to be developed into a simplified Chinese version to appeal to our secondary market of Free and Independent Tourists – both domestic and international visitors – as well as creating a specific “members trail” with exclusive access for Annual Pass holders.

Other opportunities include:

  • Upsells
    • Push notifications to relevant markets
    • Information while lining up (second gates, AP, LAP)
    • Events (public ticketed events, event space visuals while in the Fish Bowl)
    • Secondary spends (offers to retail and F&B)
  • Information while lining up (second gates, AP, LAP)
  • Events (public ticketed events, event space visuals while in the Fish Bowl)
  • Secondary spends (offers to retail and F&B)
  • Analytics, including tracking 'heat maps' and observing the demographics of app users
  • Cost savings on signage and collateral (including maps, education resources and brochures)
  • The ability to push out notifications to staff as they arrive at the attraction.

Initial feedback is very positive, and SEA LIFE Melbourne is excited to see where this journey takes the attraction over the coming months. 

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