Located within Resorts World Sentosa (RWS), Universal Studios Singapore (USS) is a family-oriented theme park similar to its other locations worldwide. Unsurprisingly, this theme park, which started operations in 2010, is one of the factors that boost Singapore’s tourism significantly. Its visitors can experience cutting-edge rides, attractions and shows based on their favourite blockbuster films and television series which include the world’s tallest duelling roller-coaster, Battlestar Galactica. USS also hosts special annual events such as “Halloween Horror Nights”(HHN). Events have unique themes such as HHN2016’s ‘Lady Death’.
However, whilst USS’s popularity has remained sustained, this could not be said about the main attraction of RWS which is their casinos.
The headline “Genting Singapore goes into the red in Q4”, as shown on Channel News Asia, showcases this predicament very clearly. Due in part to the anti-graft measures being put in place in China and the general slowing of the global economy, RWS’s general financial performance have suffered. This why my group proposal to mitigate this through the promotion of USS has the primary attraction for visiting the resort, enabled through aggressive promotion on social media. Our group feels that RWS has not fully maximized the potential earning power of USS due to not allowing USS’s brand to be clearly communicated to potential visitors globally. The aim of our group is to increase the number of visits and increase visitor spending in USS.
Analyzing USS, we find that USS’s main strengths are its strong variety of rides and its strategic location in the regional hub of Singapore. Its weakness is its relatively more expensive tickets and tendency for having long waiting times for rides. USS’s opportunities is increasing population in Singapore with a higher disposable income and the growing Asian middle class, being more willing and able to pay for high quality experiences. The main threat for USS is the presence of strong and rivalrous competitors in the entertainment industry.
Doing deeper analysis of how USS conducts its social media presence, we realized that much of USS’s social media and even online presence, is subsumed under RWS’s brand. Other than RWS official website, there is a RWS Facebook (1,062,644 Likes) and Instagram (33,600 followers), a RWS YouTube channel (7844 subscribers), and a dedicated RWS blog called RWScoop. Whilst there is a purpose to this strategy, namely that RWS wants to portray a wholistic experience approach, it also means that prominent attractions of the resort are not given the opportunity to shine.
As a result, USS does not possess any independent social media page and instead, a visit to RWS’s facebook page may result in you seeing news about a restaurant, as shown above, which we feel is a waste to not allow multiple brands draw in the visitors to RWS. This is despite the fact that USS’s unofficial page has more than 99,910 likes and have had more than 1M check-ins.
This is further compounded by the fact that much of RWS social media presence is fairly low on generating positive buzz and consumer engagement; most of the mentions on social media as shown using Synthesio metrics are mostly indifferent or neutral.
As such, our social media objectives intends to accomplish two things: First, create a more unique and independent brand image for USS and second, make the USS experience more personal and tailored to individual visitors.
Our target audience are the millennials aged 18-35 years regardless of whether they are Singaporeans or tourists. In terms of their consumption behaviour, these group of people is the largest consumer segment through their high expenditure in the entertainment services.
Our strategy to accomplish this are three fold: First, “MemoriesOfUSS” campaign and message. Second, utilize the USS Adventures (#UUSA) app to go enjoy a personalized journey through USS. Third, Giveaway Contests.
First, the “MemoriesOfUSS” strategy is intended as a multi-platform approach to revitalize USS’s brand image and attempt to begin building more substantive engagement with its online audience. We propose the launching of a campaign entitled “MemoriesOfUSS”, to be used in taglines and hashtags, among others. The idea behind this campaign is to sell the image of the theme park as a place to create memories and enjoy experiences, instead of merely a leisure activity.
Second, the USSA app would augment the social media campaign, as well as serve other useful functions in the park. We propose developing an application to be used in real-time while visitors are at USS, called USS Adventure (USSA). This application is meant to act an complementary add-on during the user’s visit USS. In order to personalize the experience for different visitors, when a user enters USS and downloads the app, they are first prompted to answer several personality questions. The app then plots a customized route for the user through USS.
The first value-add of the app here is that instead of users having to use physical maps to plan their journey within the park grounds and physically checking queue durations and show timings, the USSA app provides a path suited to the user’s preferences (as indicated during the short questionnaire portion) and calculates a best-fit route that also takes queue and show timings into account.
In addition, at every QR checkpoint which would be located in the queue lines of rides, the app will prompt the user to take a picture using a filter as shown below, with an automatic prompt after that to share the picture on Facebook/Instagram using the designated campaign hashtags (which will be automatically generated).
These photo taking opportunities not only give users an activity to distract them from the monotony of queuing but also creates a “desire” and “curiosity” effect when friends see it.
Lastly, giveaways. This strategy is mainly designed as an auxiliary measure to increase the effectiveness and mitigate the drawbacks of the first two strategies, as well as to generate more positive buzz online. We propose organizing giveaway contests of tickets to USS events such as the aforementioned Halloween Horror Nights, entry tickets to USS itself for repeat visits, or other RWS attractions such as restaurants or theatre shows. The contest entries would consist of visitors entering their own #USSA posts after having completed one playthrough of the USSA application, with the giveaway prizes being awarded to the most up-voted #USSA playthrough by other Facebook/Twitter users. This encourages sharing and engaging among users and their own social networks. This strategy is easily scalable for any RWS events and attractions.
In summary, despite some gaps in social media marketing currently present with USS, presence of rivals and vulnerability to economic slumps (being a luxury attraction), USS remains a highly marketable product with a lot of future potential. Our social media campaign hopes not only to tap into new markets by ramping up the company’s online presence, user engagement and distinguishing its brand image, but by personalizing individual visitor experiences and hopefully creating a more vibrant online community as well.