10 Museums & Attractions Share Their Reopening Strategies

Lauren Voges

June 11, 2020

How are museums and attractions preparing to welcome visitors? What measures can you put in place to make sure your visitors feel safe and comfortable? And what are visitors expecting from you as venues? Over the past few months, Tiqets’ Regional Managers have spoken with 400+ museums and attractions worldwide about how they’re handling and recovering from the impacts of the Coronavirus.

On Thursday, 4 June, Tiqets held a webinar to share some of the insights gained from these discussions about reopening strategies of museums and attractions. Tiqets Regional Managers Jaume Vidal (Spain), Nadia Mastrangelo (Italy), Heidi Andersen (Denmark) and Linda Snoek (Netherlands) shared how reopened venues in their regions have handled issues like safety and hygiene measures, capacity management, communications and staff preparedness. Here are some of the key takeaways to apply to your own reopening plan.

3 Venues share their new safety and hygiene measures

It goes without saying that hygiene and safety measures are especially important in this new post-lockdown era. To curb the spread of the Coronavirus, venues must be vigilant when it comes to safety and sanitization. The regional managers took this moment to spotlight the venues that have tackled this issue particularly well.

Copenhagen Zoo: Create more space and double-down on cleaning 

Copenhagen zoo is rethinking its social distance rules in light of the Coronavirus outbreak.

Copenhagen Zoo has been open since 23 March, and have focused strongly on adhering to government safety measures and guidelines. Creating an environment where it’s possible for people to be a safe distance from each other while queuing for tickets can be tricky. The Copenhagen Zoo tackled their space issues by:

  • Creating two queues outside their venue, one for pre-booked tickets and one for on-site ticket purchases.

  • Suspending any shows (such as animal feeding) to avoid crowding

  • Implementing one-direction walkways so that people are less likely to bump into one another

They have met the demand for improved sanitization measures by:

  • Increasing the number of times the zoo is cleaned 

  • Making hand sanitizer available throughout the venue

  • Limiting touch points to avoid many people touching the same areas

Gardaland: Up your staff count and limit contact between staff and visitors 

Gardaland in Italy is addressing capacity management by increasing support staff.

The famous theme park has not yet opened, but when it does, it will focus on maintaining safe distances between people. They plan to do this by having customers reserve access to any ride or attraction in advance. Some of the other safety and hygiene measures they plan to introduce include:

  • Increasing staff numbers so that they have more people on site to check and guide customers

  • Stepping up their cleaning measures

  • Introducing plexiglass covers to separate guests and staff, thereby protecting their staff and allowing them to serve more guests

  • Using QR codes to limit touch points, to reopen restaurants and cafes while maintaining distance measures

Canal cruises in the Netherlands: Team up with similar suppliers to come up with guidelines

When you take a canal cruise in The Netherlands you'll need to be more mindful of social distance rules.

While canal cruises are offered by a range of suppliers in the Netherlands, these different suppliers worked together to create a set of guidelines that they could all follow. To come up with these guidelines, the suppliers looked at the full customer journey to assess what measures to implement, identify high-risk areas, and locate where they should provide reminders to customers. Some of the measures they came up with include:

  • Signage to remind customers to maintain their distance and guide them through the boat tour from start to finish

  • Filling the boat from the back to the front by letting customers who are sitting at the back of the boat on first, and the customers who are sitting at the front of the boat last

  • Only allowing people who are from the same household to sit together

Gaudi’s El Capricho, the Colosseum and Moco Museum share their capacity management strategies

Capacity management has been a hot topic among museums and attractions, as many governments have put capacity restrictions and social distance rules in place for public spaces. It can be tough to restrict your capacity and maintain oversight of how many people are in your venue at a given time. Here’s how some venues are tackling capacity management issues. 

Gaudi’s El Capricho: get online!

Gaudi's El Capricho uses the Tiqets Booking engine to allow customers to book time-slotted visits in advance.

Before the Coronavirus outbreak, Gaudi’s El Capricho didn’t have any online ticketing, so they had no means to enforce time slots and visitors couldn’t book their visit online. This meant that it would be especially difficult for them to assess their number of customers at any given time, and they ran the risk of discouraging customers from visiting (as there may not have been space for them to visit once they arrived). Tiqets helped them come up with a solution in just a few weeks: they implemented the Tiqets Booking Engine.

This meant that once they knew when they would be able to reopen, they could already start selling tickets in advance. Based on their capacity restrictions, they can let people in every 30 minutes which means that they can implement time-slotted booking as well.

Colosseum: boost quieter periods with special time-slotted offers

The Colosseum has taken all bookings online.

For the Colosseum, capacity management has always been an issue, as it is such a popular attraction. Under the new regulations, they can only accommodate 600 visitors per day. To help manage this, the Colosseum put several measures in place.

  • They decided to reopen with only online booking to have better oversight over their numbers throughout the day. 

  • As most of their visitors usually visit in the morning, they decided to launch a new product to promote visiting in the afternoon. Their new afternoon product offers a discounted entrance fee for the Colosseum and includes a visit to the Gladiator Arena nearby. 

  • They arranged for visitors to be escorted on their visit, to help with crowd management and adherence to social distance rules.

Moco Museum: give visitors a designated route and skip the cloakroom!

The Moco Museum's reopening strategy includes a skip the cloakroom system and a designated route.

The Moco Museum already had a time-slotted entry in place, which in itself is a useful way to help manage capacity. They took this a step further and now offer only online time-slotted entry. Here are some more of the measures they put in place to better manage capacity in their venue. 

  • They created an official route through the museum to help with the flow of visitors.

  • They’ve put barriers in place so that groups of people remain apart from one another and maintain the required distance at all times. Their rule is one party per 10m².

  • They’ve instituted a skip-the-cloakroom system so that people don’t have to go back to the entrance to collect their coats at the end of a visit. This helps maintain distance rules.

How Oceanario de Lisboa and the Thyssen Museum are upping their marketing ante

One of the biggest challenges when it comes to reopening is how to attract customers again, and which customers to target. As most international travel has been put on hold, a lot of venues have decided to refocus their marketing and communication efforts and target local audiences instead. Here are two examples from our regional managers of venues that are doing this exceptionally well.

Oceanario de Lisboa: support your local community

Oceanario Lisboa is changing their marketing as part of their reopening strategy

The Oceanario de Lisboa decided to focus its marketing efforts on local families with a special month-long campaign. In June, all children will be able to attend the oceanarium for free. As children will likely be unable to attend without their parents, the venue will be able to maintain a steady stream of sales while giving families a chance to do something fun out of the house.

Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum Madrid: The Thyssen is for you

The Thyssen museum's reopening strategy includes a new marketing campaign.

The Thyssen Museum launched a campaign aimed specifically at locals: The Thyssen is for you. Built around the fact that tourists will not be visiting the museum, this campaign focused on giving the local community special access to the museum. The Thyssen Museum organised two days of free access to the museum for locals and they made it essential for bookings to be made online and in advance. Marketing campaigns like this can help to ignite local interest in your venue and encourage more domestic visitors.

How Christiansborg Castle and Muiderslot prepped their staff

Making sure that your staff is well prepared for the new regulations was also a topic that came up in many of the roundtable sessions that sparked this webinar. Christiansborg Castle (Denmark) and Muiderslot (the Netherlands) are two venues that prepared their staff especially well.

Christiansborg Castle: Up your staff numbers

Christiansborg Castle has increased their staff members to help with capacity management.

After being told that they would need to reduce capacity, Christiansborg Castle decided to increase their staff numbers as their venue is a large one and will likely need extra policing to ensure that visitors adhere to the new rules.

Another tricky issue they wanted to be prepared for was uncooperative visitors. Staff at the venue have been instructed to tell visitors who do not follow the rules or appear to be ill to leave the premises. In the event of someone refusing to leave, the venue has made sure that security staff will be on the premises to escort uncooperative visitors out. There hasn’t been any need for security so far, but having them there is perhaps enough to reassure both staff and visitors.

Muiderslot: Get creative with staffing 

Muiderslot had some creative staffing solutions as part of their social distance rules adherence.

Muiderslot is an excellent example of a venue that came up with a creative way to handle its staffing issues. This venue usually relies on elderly volunteers to run their daily operations, but since many of them fall into the high-risk Coronavirus category, they have decided it would not be safe for them to work.

Of course, to reopen their doors, they’ll need staff. Their solution to this problem came from an unexpected source: the Dutch airline KLM has a volunteer group, and some of the people in this group have offered to step in and help out at Muiderslot. Thanks to this arrangement, the venue has 40 new volunteers. This is a great reminder to be creative when coming up for solutions in unprecedented times!

Looking for inspiration on how to engage with your visitors while they can’t visit you? We’ve got some.

Read the latest blogs for museums, tours and attractions

7 Online Marketing Tips for Museums and Attractions 

These online marketing tips can help you grab the attention of virtual window-shoppers, regardless of whether you’re back to business as usual or virtual-only.

How to Attract Tourists: A Case Study with the LINQ High Roller in Las Vegas 

When the High Roller opened, they hoped for instant success. But to attract tourists they needed a digital marketing strategy and the right selling points.

10 Ways to Become the Go-To Attraction for Repeat Visitors 

Here’s why museums and attractions need to focus on attracting repeat visitors – and 10 ways they can do just that.