Barranquilla Zoo in Colombia has a longstanding reputation of devotion to conservationism and scientific contribution so it has become an admired brand among citizens.
Serving a total population of 1.8 million inhabitants, Barranquilla Zoo is operated by a private foundation with no significant government funding, so visitor revenues cover most of the operational expenses. The zoo has about 300,000 visitors per year with about 65% belonging to low income groups, for whom a visit to the Zoo represents a sizeable family expense.
Barranquilla Zoo is home to 140 species (more than 500 animals on two hectares of land). Facilities were aging and because of the natural growth of the city, the Zoo has been surrounded by large residential areas so expansion was not possible. The Zoo needed to identify a new location so this presented a good opportunity for the management team to reconsider the visitor experience it delivered. An insight-driven approach to visitor experience design was adopted.
Our insights revealed a ‘satisfaction gap’ concerning the actual facilities and the actual experience. This insight informed three principles that shaped the new design of visit experience:
- More/better/vivid learning about animals, habitats and ecosystems.
- Involve visitors into new activities like helping to feed animals at the farm.
- Provide entertainment to the family group.
This resulted in the following changes at the Zoo. The exhibition was changed to show collection by habitat. Educational materials and signaling became better, and included interactive pedagogical files to deliver a more engaging experience. Activities were improved by allowing visitors to learn and interact with minor species with properly conducted shows. A number of customer experience innovations were also launched such as working in the farm, taking care of parrot land, a new approach for school group visits, night safari visits and family shows. Social media content and conversations were enhanced by news about animals, habitats, conservational issues and ecosystems, while inviting people to visit and enjoy the new experiences at the Zoo.
‘Zoológico de Barranquilla’ Staff now conduct periodical surveys to measure brand experience satisfaction and ensure that the Brand delivers value according to visitor expectations. This has become an important part of delivering a relevant visitor experience.
As a Private Foundation, ‘Fundación Botánica y Zoológica de Barranquilla’ is an environmentally-devoted organization, leading and supporting initiatives on conservationism, research and education, to create awareness and inspire positive attitudes and behaviors in the community, towards the biodiversity of the Caribbean Coast Region in Colombia.
[This article was written by Mr. Álvaro Gallart, Brand Equity Consultant, assigned by Barranquilla Zoo, as an “Expert Insight” for Building Brand Experiences.]