The Future Of Events At Tourist Attractions

With the Tourist Attraction industry being one of the hardest hit by the UK Cornavirus lockdown, we have been reviewing what the future of on-site events will look like.

Big showstopper events during the course of the year draw large crowds into tourist attractions that may not have visited otherwise. With many attractions such as Farm Parks reporting these events as some of their biggest money makers, what happens to the annual ‘Scarefest’ or Christmas bookings to see Santa? With so much uncertainty around, what does the future look like?

Why put on an event at your attraction?

Themed events allow attractions to diversify their offering and welcoming an alternate audience into their park.

An event can completely change the purpose of your attraction for example larger theme parks may only be open during spring/summer to avoid the bad weather of late autumn or winter months. Then around the end of November may re-open with an event to drive new footfall, such as bringing in young families or attracting locals that would usually avoid busy seasons, many attractions will put on a Christmas event such as a winter wonderland or meet and greet with Santa. Selling tickets in advance and providing guests with add-ons such as pictures with reindeers or ice-skating can be a big revenue booster for a park that would otherwise be closed.

best epos for amusement parks

Country houses or heritage sites may open their doors at weekends throughout the year for events such as weddings or corporate hire. All of these events have been a great addition to many attractions allowing them the chance to diversify their offering and boost income. Year on year the scale of events have been growing, but with the current ‘foot on the breaks’ situation, how will these events start to reform in a post COVID-19 world?

The answer isn’t a simple one, yes events will be allowed again at some point, but what size and scale will be allowed.

Same events, new look?

Everyday life already looks different for many of us, wearing face coverings, sanitising, social distancing, these precautions don’t look they will be relaxed any time soon. That means the way events may run will look a little different. The traditional Halloween ‘Scarefest’ or ‘Spookathon’ event usually involves employing actors to dress up in costumes and get in the faces of guests to scare them, decorating your attraction with a scary theme and making little adjustments to till menus at food outlets to include the likes of ‘scary sausages’ or ‘horrible ham sandwiches’. Its a great opportunity to employ real marketing power to attract the footfall and on-site spend.

Such events with a social distance wont quite be the same, attractions all over the UK are starting to open at a lower capacity, does this mean event capacity will be smaller too? With up front costs so high to put on large scale events, is it safe to invest, sell tickets and potentially have to cancel the event?

There are so many questions, that we just don’t know the answer to right now. All we can say is yes, events will look different, it may require you to spend more time and money in the short term to still attract a smaller number of customers. Reviewing the re-opening guidance that has been laid out for the industry, we have put together the below points that may help you begin to re-open not only your attraction but also run successful events.

theme park tickting system

Our Tips:

  • Initially why not think about opening your outdoor areas where risk of COVID-19 transmission is lower. If you have a garden space or grounds, this could be a great way to get guests back through the door. Outdoor events such as picking strawberries, flowers or pumpkins could be an alternative event.
  • Any scheduled activity that draws a crowd, e.g. costume shows or animal feeding times, should be carefully planned to avoid large gatherings, you could try selling timed tickets online, ensuring people turn up at their allocated time slot with a QR code – meaning its completely contactless event.
  • Consider the capacity of your individual attractions and reduce accordingly. For attractions such as rides or tours, numbers will be reduced and you should think about marking out seating or standing places.
  • What used to be a normal show event will now require a reduction in visitor capacity to allow for seated or standing social distancing. To increase event ticket sales you could run the show multiple times throughout a week or during the day. Don’t forget, extra time might be needed for organising entry, exit and seating management.
  • Consider a one-way system around the event space or through certain areas of your site. This may allow you to open a Christmas wonderland walk through for families rather than the traditional Santa meet and greet.
So that’s just a few tips to help get your events back up and running. Remember you don’t have to do this alone, VisiSoft can help. Our ticketing system can help you run timed event slots or contactless QR ticketing. Track sales across not only ticketing but your re-opened attraction to see what kiosks and outlets perform best. Easily adapt  tills to a reduced takeaway style menu or launch table management so guests can sit and enjoy their meal.
Good luck with your event re-launch, contact the VisiSoft team if you have any questions or would like to learn more on how we can help your visitor attraction.

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