Dropping The Sigma.
You could argue there was a stigma attached to UK based holiday. Maybe they weren’t fancy enough or exotic enough for UK holiday makers used to 14 days of sun in Greece or Spain. But once the UK and other countries limited border crossing and hiked up testing there was very little choice for Brits other than to ‘staycation’. With pretty much any international travel being too expensive or inconvenient for families, the rise of ‘holidaying at home’ is here to stay. With families wanting to enjoying and spend time together discovering parts of the UK they may not have before attractions must be ready to adapt to the new positive impact this type of travel will have on the industry.
So let’s get to it then, what should your attraction be looking out for with the update of domestic tourism and how you can start to welcome more visitors.
From Families To Friends
Firstly, think about who is travelling to your attraction and why this audience may be different to previous years. With so many families stuck in isolation and forced apart by restrictions, many families will want to travel together, maybe bring friends along too. That means you could have a very mixed variety of visitor types coming through your attraction together. Experts predict that a surge in multigeneration families and group travel is likely to dramatically rise and that quality time to holiday and travel together is allowed. That means grand-parents, parent, grand-children could all visit your attraction in one group.
So how do you cater for the whole family? This about why a family visit your attraction? They come to make memories and enjoy activities together, so think about what you have available to your visitors, will live performances, or meet the animals, picnic parties work for you? Maybe try adding children’s activity areas and lots of benches and rest areas so all generations can have a fun day out. While your at it why not assess your ticketing prices, do you offer group discounts for all types of visitors?
Four-legged Friends Are Welcome
Think about four-legged friends and where they could be welcome to join in the fun at your visitor attraction. With the rise of staycations, many UK holiday makers took their pets on holiday with them last year and we expect that to be on the rise this year too! If you’ve seen our About Us page, you’ll know our Marketing Manager is one of these visitor types. When asked what helps you decided where to visitor during a staycation in the UK she replied, “We always plan ahead, before we go anywhere we want to make sure that our dogs can come with us, sometimes we’ll spend hours researching dog friendly attractions online and some places don’t make it clear that you can visit with dogs. We know not every attraction will cater to bringing our dogs along, but it really makes our holiday special when we can visit places or do activities that allow us to bring our dogs along as well”.
So with a growing demand for dog friendly attractions if you are dog friendly make sure you make it well known. Post the information on your website about where the dogs can and can’t visit at your attraction. Also on site you could pop up some signs to make sure it’s clear as to where their four-legged pals can and can’t go. If you’re not already pet friendly, have a think about what it might take to make you pet friendly. You could be welcoming a whole new visitor type into your attraction. Maybe provide some basic services like water bowls, doggy litter bins, paid dog treats owners can buy at the admissions desk.
Flexibility Is Key
With a whole host of uncertainty when booking UK staycations travellers like to plan ahead and know exactly where they are staying, what they are doing and how to get out of it if another lockdown happens. Flexibility with bookings is key for many travellers and could be the key to your attraction winning that day trip over another. If you offer free cancellation up to 24 hours before or flexible booking terms for ticket holders make it known loud and clear. Many visitors will be researching their trip and with lots of attractions now requiring advanced time slot bookings, you need to make your policy clear to visitors.
You an do this by stating your booking terms and policies on the ticket booking pages of your website, making sure each and every order requires the user to read the terms of booking in a simply put way. Don’t overcomplicate things, set out your refund/cancellation/exchange policy clearly so visitors don’t feel like they are being caught out with your compilated booking terms. Also, if you do have great flexible booking options then shout about them all over your website and social media. By making potential visitors aware of your booking terms you could easily get some extra bookings.
Think About The Customer Journey
Our final point to make is all about the customer journey. How visitor engagement with your attraction may have changed for the better. With most of us enjoying a slower paced life than before the pandemic, it has allowed us to actually stop to enjoy our experiences more and take more time to interact and enjoy our leisure time at an attraction. This could be as simple and enjoying conversations with staff and volunteers who have knowledge to share or spending more money on extra special experiences like animal meet and greets or access to ‘behind-the-scenes’ tours that might not have interested us before. With your visitors slowing down to really get the most out of your attraction, start thinking about how you could improve the customer service they receive.
This improvement could be more interactive tours or exhibits available, quicker entrance into the attraction with online ticketing so they can enjoy more of their day or better stock levels in your retail and catering outlets to ensure the most popular items never run out. An EPOS system can help with your online ticketing service to help visitors buy online simply and quickly and redeem their tickets with fast barcode entry at your attraction. You can manage your stock and EPOS together setting alerts for management as stock levels hit their low levels for re-order. Even upsell in your restaurants and cafe’s with an EPOS system that allows you to take orders at the table and offer operator prompts to upsell to meal deals. There are so many ways you can improve a customer’s experience at your attraction with the right EPOS system in place.
To find out more about how you can implement some of our tips for domestic tourism uptake and improvements on customer service speak to our team. We’ll be more than happy to talk you through how VisiSoft can help you manage more customers than ever before with the best EPOS system to help. Book a demo now to see your real life data in an EPOS system built for tourist attractions.