Top 10 Things We've Learned

26th August 2020

10 things we’ve learned since reopening

How do you create an environment for visitors that is both an enjoyable experience and one that is Covid-safe? This is the challenge that organisations of all sizes have wrestled with in recent months. We caught up with three leading attractions and asked what they had learned since reopening.

From surprising visitor behaviour to effective communication techniques, the video below shares advice from three attractions who have successfully reopened and features contributions from Rebecca Foy from Bletchley Park, Scott Craddock from Westminster Abbey and Faye Kelly from Hever Castle.

Watch the video here:

Here’s a summary of the 10 top tips they shared:

1. Increased engagement with visitors and visitors staying longer

Scott Craddock of Westminster Abbey noted the time visitors are spending on-site has increased significantly since they reopened their doors. Visitors have also tended to interact with staff more than they usually would have before and this level of increased engagement is warmly reflected in visitor reviews online.

2. Catering to a younger demographic

As observed by so many of ATS’s clients, Rebecca Foy at Bletchley Park noted a particular increase in visitors under the age of 45 and a noted drop in their more senior visitors. This trend toward a younger, domestic audience brings with it new opportunities.

3. The necessity to be agile and flexible

Faye Kelly at Hever Castle recognised the importance of being able to quickly respond to the new ways that visitors are behaving on-site and the need to change things quickly that aren’t working. You won’t always get things right first time – and that’s okay!

4. Valuable conversations with your peers

Scott remarked how valuable it has been to connect with peers in similar organisations to understand what has and hasn’t worked for them and to use those conversations as a good benchmarking exercise. In times like these it is important to reach out and see what help your peers can offer and vice versa.

5. Onsite device take-up remains high

Contrary to some expectations, the team at Bletchley Park observed that the take-up rate for on-site devices remained at pre-Covid levels when their doors reopened. This has also been true of our other sites, including St Paul’s Cathedral and Windsor Castle as we reported in our recent blog post ‘Leading attractions report no fall in uptake of on-site devices’

6. Visitors responding well to the changes

The reaction of visitors to the changes at Hever Castle has been very positive, remarked Faye Kelly. Visitors have welcomed the measures put in place to ensure a safe and enjoyable visit. From advanced online bookings to timed slots for the play park, visitors have patiently embraced the changes and recognise that they are important for everyone’s health and wellbeing.

7. Directional signage aids staff and visitors

Scott at Westminster Abbey has found that visitors have responded very well to the on-site signage and it has made life easier for the site staff. Their bright pink signs help to encourage visitors through the space and offer an extra level of reassurance that Westminster Abbey is a safe and enjoyable place to visit.

8. The value of reassuring visitors in advance

All three sites produced a welcome video that visitors can view online ahead of their visit. Explaining the Covid safety measures that are now in place, the video allows them to easily reassure visitors of the measures that are in place and communicates to visitors that they are safely open for business.

9. You won’t get everything right first time

Faye at Hever Castle noted that after this there will be very little that will phase Operations Managers ever again! Yes, mistakes will be made as sites seek to create the best possible experience. But we can learn from each other to create an experience that works for everyone.

10. Get all of your staff on board

Communicating with visitors is only part of the solution, notes Scott at Westminster Abbey. There is real value in working closely with your whole on-site team and getting everyone on board with the changes. A united team is better prepared to roll out a new style of operation.

Are you considering new effective ways to engage your audiences? Contact us today to find out how we can help.

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