Returning to attractions: Do visitors and venues feel ready?
There is light at the end of the tunnel. We all had a rough year, where venues had to close and adapt their environments to restrictions set by the government. Even though the pandemic is not over yet, we can already look forward to re-opening and hopefully this time it will be for good. But... what will the industry look like in a post-pandemic world and are we ready for it?
After this long-lasting pandemic it is crucial for attractions to understand how to build trust and confidence amongst their visitors. That means you need to show them that you are a safe place to visit and that you can still deliver the best experiences while balancing safety.
If you would like to know more about what your visitors are seeking and expecting when they return to your venue in this post-pandemic world, as well as how you can adapt to their new needs and demands, this read is for you.
Fans and critics: How to exceed expectations for both.
Now that a reopening seems to be around the corner...what are your visitors looking for? We are all ready to step out of the lockdown environment to enjoy our leisure time in our most favorite attractions and destinations. But are we all ready to let go of all the measurements? No social distancing, no cleansing facilities on every corner, no time slots, and big crowds. Some visitors may already be shivering at the thought of such a scene. And where some may have fear, others have built confidence. So, what are the expectations of both groups, and how do they differ?
As soon as the opportunity arises, we will be visiting our favorite venues. According to this report by ALVA, less than half of our visitors will return to our attractions full of confidence. That is the group of people who are ready to support their most beloved attractions without health concerns or fear. On the other hand, more than half of visitors have stated to fear for their health, and are not ready to let go of all measurements yet, nor do they feel fully comfortable in high-touch environments. They may not even be ready to visit their favorite attractions. The fear and confidence within this group is divided over different circumstances.
The fear of visitors also knows its different stages. Some visitors are not ready to visit an attraction when there are crowds or when there is no social distancing. A set maximum capacity would make them feel more comfortable. Some may also need over-the-top cleanliness and possibilities for disinfection, while others may not even consider entering if masks are not a mandatory requirement.
In the end, everyone feels differently about this delicate situation, so how can you tackle all of these different visitor sentiments and trust levels in order to exceed expectations of both groups? Keep on reading to find out more about what your focus should be in order to delight both the skeptics and the bold thrill-seekers.
How to leverage customer sentiment? Reassure the critics while being irresistible to your fans.
Reassure the critics
When your venue finally gets to reopen again, you want to be ready to deliver your absolute best experience to your visitors. Where some touch points within your experience might need a new brainstorm session to remain safe and smooth, others will be equally applicable as they were before. What is important however is that you have all of them clearly mapped-out, so that you can identify which ones might create friction and unease for your most anxious visitors and act upon it.
While every venues’ experience is different, most of the touch-points between attraction and visitor generally overlap. For example, the fact that it has always been a hassle for visitors to stand in a long queue, when entering the venue, an attraction, or when getting a snack is true for any attraction. How have venues tackled this so far?
During the pandemic long queues were avoided by many of our partners by implementing in-advance reservations, time slots, and limiting capacity through Crowd Control. While others decided to tackle long queues by applying virtual queuing technologies.
Most of these practices proved to be highly efficient in reducing crowds, bottlenecks and unsafe situations when entering the venues or lining-up for the rides. However, queuing still remains a challenge when it comes to food and beverage, since many visitors still queue to order their food and meals at the parks. This could easily be avoided in your attraction by implementing mobile food ordering. This will allow you to get rid of the long queues in front of your food stands and thereby offer a delicious and stress-free experience to your visitors.
Also, no matter if your venue is attracting people that do not mind measures or people that do, nobody likes to visit a dirty toilet or to sit on not cleaned tables in a restaurant. Make sure that you comply with the minimum hygiene standards and keep your venue rigorously clean, maybe even stick to the extra cleaning rounds you did during the pandemic. It doesn’t require any radical restructuring or investment, but will have a huge impact on your visitors' experience.
You might know how to get ready, but how do you know your visitors are ready? You can just ask them and use your resources! Do this by sending them a post- or pre-visit questionnaire, but also by asking on your social media. Ask your lovely visitors what they are seeking for when they can visit your attraction again. By closely communicating and interacting with your visitors you’ll have a more clear idea of what they expect from you.
Once you know your visitors’ expectations, you can show them that you are thinking of them and doing your utmost to make them feel comfortable. If you are doing something extra to reassure those visitors who are still finding it hard getting back to normal, share it with them and let them know you think along. One of the most efficient ways to communicate your COVID-19 safety and hygiene measures to your visitors is through smart engagement tools directly on your website, such as a non-intrusive but highly visible wonderbar at the top that redirects them to one of the pages where you have your requirements and safety measures listed down.
Be irresistible for your fans
On the flip-side, there will always be your fans, those who have been dreaming about visiting your venue again. Their love is likely to put the general concern surrounding COVID-19 and its measures on a secondary plane. Therefore, you do not need to put so much effort on convincing them that it is safe to come visit you, rather, you need to stay top of mind with irresistible and memorable offers that they will not be able to refuse. Leverage the emotion component within your marketing efforts and reach their radar with creative offerings, events and experiences that will make their mouths water.
Just like you should communicate with the ones with fear, you should also communicate clearly to your fans. In order to boost your revenue and connect with those visitors who love hearing from you, you could implement data driven email marketing campaigns, for example by retargeting those loyal fans who have already visited you in the past. Not only email marketing can do the work, but also your own mobile app channel, from which you could send your visitors notifications about the latest COVID-19 updates within your park or about special personalized offers to show your appreciation. This way they will be even more enthusiastic about visiting your venue again, after waiting for such a long time….!
Related read: Why your venue needs to be sending push notifications.
So far we have talked about your visitors and if they are ready to return to your venue, but is your attraction ready to safely and efficiently welcome them all? If there’s still some aspects of your reopening which present themselves as difficult challenges to tackle (such as properly spreading your visitors, having a successful promotion, selling enough tickets, complying with all the continuously changing COVID19 regulations…) Convious can support you in exceeding both your team’s and your guests’ expectations.
Our team is offering a free advice session - no strings attached - for a limited time only, so if you’d like to learn more about what Convious can do for your venue’s success, book your session today.