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?
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.
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.
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.
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