The latest summary findings from the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA)’s commissioned visitor sentiment report are as follows:
- Strong improvement in visitor confidence in early June, driven primarily by successful opening of some outdoor attractions and the media coverage around zoos and safari parks.
- 10% of the attractions-visiting market – an estimated 4m adults – have already made a visit after re-opening, mainly to country parks (3.0m) but also to gardens (1.5m).
- Early returning is:
- more likely among younger people aged 16-34 years
- not just among those who visit attractions frequently; local people desperate for a ‘different’ trip out?
- However, confidence in visiting indoor attractions has declined since the start of lockdown. The importance of implementing and communicating safety measures in these environments will be even more important when re-opening.
- Main visit barrier is increasingly around worries about fellow visitors adhering to distancing measures or attractions’ ability to enforce these measures. How can we demonstrate and communicate that these are working well in our attractions?
- Evidence that the ‘advanced booking only’ approach is successfully reassuring potential visitors: the limited capacity this implies indicates ‘control’, providing reassurance on crowds, distancing and queuing.
- The lack of a full visitor offer will be a significant visit barrier on re-opening. In the eyes of potential visitors, providing as complete an experience as possible, applying appropriate safety measures, is preferable to keeping elements closed.
- Toilets are currently in the ‘high priority but high anxiety’ area for visitors – half will not visit an attraction at all if these are closed, but safety measures are hugely important in building confidence in their use. It’s not enough just to open toilets with no safety measures – key for pre-visit communication.
- Indoor catering outlets and interactive visit elements are the two other visit experience areas generating most anxiety around use. Again, preferable to make available with mitigating measures than keep closed.
- Anxiety around using facilities at indoor attractions is higher among older people – starting as young as 55. Measures at indoor attractions with older age profiles are even more important to apply and communicate.
Visitors are focussed on the short term at present – overwhelmingly about safety, but also about wellbeing. Wider societal issues are for another day in the eyes of visitors.