This summer, the last of the restrictions imposed by the pandemic were removed, with visitor attractions being able to return to business as usual, welcoming visitors back without social distancing rules causing limits on visitor numbers.
However, these are still uncertain times, and we understand how important it is for your visitor attraction to take advantage of the removal of these restrictions, maximise earnings and encourage a full financial recovery.
To help your attraction achieve this, we have developed a guide of next steps to consider. This includes advice on re-attracting visitors to your venue, boosting the number of returning customers and increasing visitor spend, alongside advice for futureproofing your business – especially when considering the government’s winter plans and potential legislative changes that could see the re-introduction of some restrictions.
How has the pandemic affected visitor attractions?
Over the past 18 months, your visitor attraction will have suffered from the rollercoaster of lockdowns and restrictions. Many visitor attractions saw a turnover that was considerably lower than usual, with restrictions preventing businesses from opening their doors to visitors – and even if venues were able to open, this was often at a limited capacity.
Attractions also experienced difficulties due to isolation rules and the “pingdemic”, with many visitors needing refunds if they were required to isolate, as well as employees being unable to work at short notice. As a result, many attraction owners were faced with struggles when it came to managing the day-to-day running of their business – and are excited to make up for lost time in terms of income!
What are the next steps for your business?
- Re-attract visitors
Over the summer holidays, visitor attractions have seen a very positive trend of increased visitor numbers and ticket sales, with many families opting for a “staycation” – a much welcomed change after 18 months of doom and gloom.
Although this has helped repair some damaged balance sheets, it has also encouraged the public to engage with attractions across the UK. However, for visitor attractions to ensure that business continues to prosper following the impact of the pandemic, they need to continue to attract visitors.
With upcoming holidays such as Halloween and Christmas, remember to take advantage of these dates by holding seasonal events – and make potential visitors aware of what’s going on by shouting about what you’re doing on social media!
You could also try partnering with local businesses to attract a new audience to your venue. Bristol Old Vic has recently partnered with local restaurants, who have taken over the theatres catering. Consider: are there any local businesses you can partner with to help each other out?
- Boost number of returning customers
Not only is re-attracting visitors key, but you also need to maintain these and grow them as loyal and repeat visitors. By improving your customer service, you can encourage your visitors to return or even recommend your attraction to new people.
We recommend implementing an easy-to-use visitor management system. This will help you improve your customer service and reduce waiting times caused by complicated management systems, as well as being simple for new employees to learn and use. Additionally, you can offer memberships to your customers, which helps to sustain returning customers, as well as offering you an insight into which events are attracting repeat customers.
A ticketing management system can also offer reports on preferred products, events and services, allowing you to nurture the interests of your visitors and further encourage customer loyalty.
- Increase visitor spend
Ensuring that popular products are well stocked can also help your attraction maximise on sales from visitor purchases. With an effective visitor management system, such as our VenposCloud, you can easily track customer information from purchases to buying behaviours and communications – we even provide live data, which can be quickly accessed to make more informed decisions!
Reports from this will also allow you to make informed decisions on your customers preferences, as well as increasing visitor spend by distributing personalised promotions.
With our VenposCloud integrated ticketing and point of sale solution, you could increase visitor spend through the optional added extras available on our system. This could include introducing an online catering system to increase food sales or offering your customers an animal adoption.
See our full list of optional added extras.
- Be prepared for changes in legislation
Although all restrictions on social distancing have been removed, there is no guarantee that we are out of the woods.
As you know, these are still unprecedented times, and with winter approaching we can’t predict what is going to happen. Therefore, it is important to be mindful of the possibility that restrictions could be re-introduced throughout the winter months, as outline in the governments Covid winter plans.
Plan A includes recommendations for improving the safety of your visitors, from fresh air flows and improved ventilation to encouraging voluntary use of certification and the NHS COVID Pass for entry. However, due to the uncertainty of the situation the government has a Plan B should things worsen.
Plan B of the Covid winter plans involves introducing a mandatory vaccine-only certificate for certain settings, which include:
- Crowded indoor settings with 500 or more attendees, where attendees are likely to be in close proximity to people from outside of their household
- Crowded outdoors settings with 4,000 or more attendees, where attendees are likely to be in close proximity to people from outside of their household
- Any settings with over 10,000 visitors and all nightclubs.
This may include re-introducing a reduced capacity of your venue, or effectively monitoring visitors to ensure they have the correct vaccine passports.
By investing in a ticket management system, it will make it easier to monitor the number of visitors to your attractions by applying capacity limits, ensuring your tickets and admissions process is as simple as possible if restrictions are reintroduced.
We are an industry leading provider of integrated ticketing and point of sales solutions. Our VenposCloud software offers an integrated solution to visitor management, helping visitor attractions across the UK improve customer service through its user-friendliness, as well as encouraging increased ticket sales and visitor spend.