One of the trickiest problems in the tourism industry right now is reopening attractions in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. All kinds of venues, from museums to theme parks, are wondering how they can reopen safely and securely; and how they can reassure visitors that it’s safe enough for them to visit once more. During our webinar, ‘An inside look at reopening strategies of museums & attractions worldwide’ [Link], we tackled questions from venues on how to reopen safely and successfully.
Venues that have reopened have seen an increase in domestic visitors, and (understandably) almost no international visitors. Some venues have also seen a great inflow of members. Also, over in the US, there has been a spike in regional tourists.
As almost all countries have social distancing guidelines in place, all reopening attractions and museums have had to follow these guidelines and implement capacity limits.
Capacity limits are usually based on the size of the venue, whether it’s inside or outside, whether there are walking routes in place, and of course, what measures the respective government has put in place. Generally speaking, most venues are allowed to welcome 30% of the total number of visitors their venue can accommodate.
Right now, a lot of venues are choosing to open in phases. The first phase allows only a small number of visitors to give the staff a chance to get to grips with the coronavirus preventive measures. With each new phase, the capacity limit is increased, without flouting the respective government’s social distancing guidelines.
Tiqets’ technology allows suppliers to set capacity limits and offer timeslotted entries. While it’s useful to have an API connection with the supplier, Tiqets can still offer suppliers without an API connection these capabilities.
One way to do this would be to settle on a certain allotment of tickets that will be sold by Tiqets and decide on the number of tickets that can be sold per hour to ensure the combined number of people during a certain timeslot doesn’t exceed the maximum.
At this stage, it’s uncertain how features like timeslotted entry will impact consumers’ decision making. However, our data so far shows that offering timeslotted entry, especially in a post-corona world, results in a higher conversion rate than open tickets. This is probably because the timeslot feature helps guests feel safer and more confident about maintaining a reasonable social distance when visiting venues.
Creating a pre-planned route can help with managing capacity by giving you an idea of how long people will spend in your venue. You can then make an informed decision about how to arrange your timeslots and how many people to allow in per hour. You can also update your website and customer communication to ask visitors not to spend more than a certain amount of time at your venue.
As capacity management and social distancing are mandatory for museums and attractions, online and advance booking is crucial, even for free museums.
The Tiqets Booking Engine has been configured to enable free transactions, so your visitors can reserve a timeslot without having to pay for anything.
Contactless entry is one of the key preventive measures against coronavirus when it comes to reopening attractions. So it’s no surprise that Tiqets has received a high number of queries about this feature. Contactless entry is a core feature of Tiqets’ technology and it’s been especially beneficial for venues in these strange times.
For venues that don’t have the technology to support contactless entry, Tiqets offers free solutions, like the scan-app. This app is compatible with both iOS and Android operating systems, and can be downloaded by venue staff on their phones so that they can scan entry tickets on visitors’ phones.
It’s good to communicate (perhaps even over-communicate) any new safety measures you’ve put in place. This will reassure your visitors that it’s safe to book tickets to your venue and ensure that they follow your safety guidelines when they visit your venue. Communicate your safety measures on your website and in your booking process.
Providing this kind of information upfront and clearly is essential to both visitors and venue staff. When visitors book with Tiqets, they can click on a dropdown menu that displays all the safety measures of the venue they’re booking for.
This probably isn’t necessary as most people will agree to wear masks without being forced to do so.
So far, we haven’t seen or heard of any incidents of visitors refusing to wear a mask. And for countries where masks are required in public spaces, visitors have been very receptive to the idea.
If you’re partnering with Tiqets, you can also add that masks are required to the list of safety measures attached to your venue. That way, people will know what’s expected of them in advance and not be caught off guard when they arrive at your venue.
In a situation like sudden closure, the most important thing is a speedy response. Alert your customers about the closure and make sure they’re automatically refunded promptly. We’ve noticed that people who receive an automatic refund are more likely to rebook when it’s safe to do so.
Tiqets has an automatic refund tool in its Supplier portal, which would come in handy in the event that you need to close quickly.
Tour operators can continue offering tours if they keep the following in mind:
It goes without saying that big tours are out of the question right now. While we’re seeing a significant spike in private tours, we predict that group tours will become popular again once people are more accustomed to this new era of social distancing.
We’ve also noticed that group tours overall are getting smaller. The average number of participants in group tours used to be 12 people, whereas now it’s 7 people. Perhaps this is also because tour operators are limiting the capacity of their buses to 60-70% of their normal capacity. For example, a 12-seater bus is now allowing only 10 passengers.
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