How PowerBoard is helping Sydney Zoo meet demand for choice at the checkout

Even though the Sydney Zoo launched in Eastern Creek in Sydney’s West just over three years ago, it’s become one of the city’s most popular attractions.

Even though Sydney Zoo launched in Eastern Creek in Sydney’s West just over three years ago, it’s become one of the city’s most popular attractions. Home to more than 4,000 animals and welcoming over 1 million guests each year, visitor numbers have grown significantly.

From the outset, Sydney Zoo has focused on leveraging technology and data to deliver a world-class visitor experience. Sydney Zoo Senior IT Manager Ronan Alonzo says “this spans every aspect of the Zoo’s operations and guest interactions, from growing engagement and service innovation to reducing costs and speed to market”.

The impact of the economic climate coupled with guests’ desire for variety have heightened expectations of the guest experience. Alonzo says “this has led to higher demand for booking, visiting and payment options that cater to a broader range of preferences and that simplicity is paramount”.

Offering a choice of payment methods is a vital part of meeting guests' changing needs, according to Alonzo. “Earning the trust that attracts a visitor to Sydney Zoo over other destinations can be a challenge in itself. We must respect that decision by offering the payment flexibility and security they need when purchasing with us.”

To “feed the hunger for variety and choice”, Sydney Zoo turned to CommBank’s PowerBoard solution. For Sydney Zoo, using the platform to gain access to payment options that can be switched on or off while reducing implementation costs helps the team adapt to ever-changing preferences.

Sydney Zoo entrance

Simplicity, security, and support

The Sydney Zoo team sought to enhance its existing payment technology and offer feature-rich options for visitors. They also wanted a solution that could be implemented quickly and provided the flexibility to add new payment options, like Buy Now Pay Later, to meet customer demand.

“With simple and collaborative planning and execution, we’ve been able to integrate PowerBoard online,” Alonzo says. “PowerBoard will further enable Sydney Zoo to go to market very quickly with more options for our guests, turn new features on and off as we need, and it will allow us to quickly take advantage of new innovations as they become available.”

Alonzo says that once the decision was made to go live with PowerBoard, support during the design, build, test and deploy stages was critical. “CommBank had a dedicated team that worked with us throughout the process. We had whiteboard sessions to identify and address problems quickly, which gave us a polished product at launch.”

“If issues came up, CommBank was fast to collaborate and problem-solve early. Now that we’re live, it’s basically ‘set and forget’, and we have confidence that we have a robust foundation.” According to Alonzo, there has been no need to modify the initial implementation of PowerBoard post-deployment.

Sydney Zoo’s IT team also wanted to lift the security of online payments. Alonzo says that PowerBoard offered 3D secure 2.0 fraud detection out of the box, which instantly overcame challenges related to the earlier 3D secure 1.0.

“Any fraud activity can impact heavily on the guest experience, and we want to offer the highest payment security standards,” Alonzo says. “We were grappling with issues relating to 3D secure 1.0 that PowerBoard solved immediately, and now we have improved authentication in the purchasing flow.”

Adapting to future change

From here, the Sydney Zoo team see offering Buy Now Pay Later options as a priority. Alonzo explains that without PowerBoard, introducing a new payment option would increase costs, lead to slower launch times and add to the number of vendor support teams the team would interact with.

“Previously, we would see integrating Buy Now Pay Later services as adding costs and complexity, but with PowerBoard, those challenges are non-existent. We reduce maintenance overheads, have centralised support, and can meet customer needs faster.”

“We will be keeping a close eye on additional payment options available through the PowerBoard platform that we can simply ‘toggle on’. We would be keen to explore the future possibility of adding programs like earning and redeeming loyalty points that can be then used to purchase Sydney Zoo tickets,” Alonzo added.

PowerBoard launched in early September 2023. For more information, visit

Things you should know

The information contained in this article is published solely for informational purposes only. It does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider seeking independent financial advice before making any decision based on information contained in this article. The information in this article and any opinions, conclusions or recommendations are reasonably held or made, based on the information available at the time of its publication but no representation or warranty, either expressed or implied, is made or provided as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of any statement made in this article. Eligibility criteria, terms and conditions and fees apply to CommBank's PowerBoard eCommerce solution. Find out more at Please view our Merchant Agreement, Financial Services Guide and Operator and User Guides at our Merchant Support Centre on our website.

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