The Denver Area of Cultural Organisations in the U.S. has published some interesting insights into customer behaviour and concerns in the US.This includes some charts about expectations of visitor attractions when we reopen.
The Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) has published two waves of results from its Attractions Recovery Tracker with some key insights into how people are feeling about returning to attractions. We thank them for these results and share the key findings below.
The key findings from Wave 1 are:
Market is highly cautious overall – waiting to see how well attractions handle the re-opening phase before committing to visits
How well we deal with fears over crowds and our ability to maintain distancing measures on-site will determine our success
Therefore, all attractions need to take the time to get it right (could these inform a ‘kite mark’?):
Limiting numbers of visitors on-site at once
Be seen to be implementing and policing distancing measures on-site (not just lip-service), including toilets
Consider only opening cafés and play facilities where distancing can be policed
Can we be more flexible in providing picnic facilities in the short term?
Hand sanitisers around the site and staff visibly cleaning
PPE is more polarising, especially if compulsory for visitors
Moving elements of the visit experience outside, where possible, will undoubtedly help generate visits – outdoor kiosks, tours or even perhaps small events
Visitor-facing staff can have a hugely positive impact – providing a warm welcome and showing patience with visitor concerns
Pre-visit communications with the public is vital to support on-site actions:
Can we use the trend for virtual online visits to demonstrate distancing and other measures on-site?
Any messaging around creating perceptions of physical open spaces, whether outdoor or indoor
We shouldn’t assume that older visitors will take longer to return. They are amongst the keenest to come back, but perhaps need the most reassurance
Evidence of some increased altruism in the market presents some opportunities:
Visitors are not expecting blanket price discounting
Altruism is higher among young people and families at present
Some positive Membership opportunities:
Current members say they are feeling particularly altruistic right now
Potentially a good time for recruitment, with the public likely to remain in the UK this summer
Since the government announcement around lockdown easing, the market has become even more cautious about visits than before, especially to indoor attractions – perhaps concern over lockdown easing and / or naming aspirational re-opening dates bringing home the visit realities?
General concern over crowds and distancing is still the major visit barrier, but people are becoming more focussed on the safety measures they expect from attractions when they re-open, whether general or specific e.g. pre-booking only
Impact of a ‘charter mark / industry standard’ , which VisitEngland and the national tourist boards are working on, is therefore likely to be high – over half the market feel this would give them the extra confidence they needed to visit. In the eyes of the public, top safety priorities are:
Limiting visitor numbers on-site, primarily at indoor attractions
Be seen to be implementing and monitoring / policing distancing measures on-site Toilets and indoor cafés
Interactive exhibits or anything that visitors touch
Hand sanitiser around the site and staff visibly cleaning
Moving elements of the visit experience outside, where possible, will undoubtedly help generate visits – outdoor kiosks, tours, small events, picnic areas. Outdoor, open spaces are increasingly recognised by the public as safer than indoor, enclosed spaces
There is an increased acceptance of PPE among potential visitors, with very little pushback to either staff or visitors wearing face masks (or at least face coverings)
Visitor-facing staff can have a hugely positive impact – providing a warm welcome and showing patience with visitor anxieties – but they will need a new skill set to proactively deal with the public’s adherence to distancing protocols in place
Concerns around using public transport to visit attractions is high, particular underground trains and buses
Visitors are not expecting blanket admissions price discounting, with notable proportions of ‘members’, families and younger people (aged under 35yrs) expecting to pay more on re-opening
But let’s not forget the underlying motivations for visiting attractions – new experiences, learning, fun, relaxation etc. Challenge is how can we implement these much desired safety measures yet simultaneously continue to deliver our amazing experiences.