As visitor attractions across Ireland begin to reopen their doors to the public, it has been revealed that almost two thirds are making changes on-site to accommodate a younger, domestic audience. The poll of visitor experience professionals from tourist attractions and heritage sites found that 6 in 10 were planning to adapt their offering in light of the current crisis.
The research was part of ATS Heritage’s recent webinar ‘Irish Attractions Reopening: Clever & Careful Guidance’, which featured contributions from Sile Boylan from National Gallery Ireland, Aileesh Carew from EPIC: The Irish Emigration Museum and Jessica Hoyle from National Museums Northern Ireland. Among the subjects explored was staff training, flexible signage, new hygiene practices and how to make on-site interactives hands-free.
The 30-minute webinar is available in full online and can be viewed here.
In the meantime, here are some of the tips shared in the webinar, which could help form part of your reopening strategy:
Take Away the Fear
From online guidance to on-site signage, there are many steps that sites can take to encourage visitors back through their doors including:
- Creating a ‘Welcome Back’ video, either for your website or for screening at the beginning of the tour. This can show visitors all the steps that you have taken to ensure that they have a safe and enjoyable visit
- Introducing a one-way system. For those sites without a linear route, this is a great time to create one and it challenges organisations to think again about how they present their collection
- Having your staff wear PPE. At EPIC the staff use clear visors, so visitors can still see their smile
- Have clear signage around your site. A bit of handholding is going to be necessary for the time being and the more we can do to make visitors feel comfortable, the better.
We all know the importance of minimising touch points and there are some simple steps we can take to give visitors greater confidence and peace of mind:
- Offer a stylus so that visitors can make full use of your interactives, without making contact with their hands
- Alongside your traditional audio guide offering, give visitors the opportunity to download the tour as an app on their own phones
- Online pre-booked ticketing eliminates the need for queuing on-site and reduces contact between visitors and staff members
Embrace Your New Audience
The sharp fall in international travel means that the audience profile is going to change for many attractions. Instead of international travellers aged 50+, we now expect the majority of visitors to be both domestic and younger This creates an opportunity to do things differently including:
- Thinking about how you address this new audience, both online and on-site. Does your website copy need to be updated? Can the collection be made more family-friendly?
- Use this period to create a host of domestic champions for your site. Your new audience are likely to share a good experience with friends and family. So it is worth spending time to address how best you can meet their needs
We would like to thank our wonderful panel for their contributions and also the attendees for their thoughtful and insightful questions.
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