With so few visitors and so many venues to choose from, your visitors have chosen yours, which means they have never been more engaged in your venue
Since the reopening of the sector in May results have been varied, with some venues enjoying pre-Covid audience numbers but many others – mostly smaller venues – reporting as little as 50%.
We currently find ourselves in uncharted waters. Trying to get a handle on our audiences and what it means for our future is very difficult, with an awful lot of speculation and second guessing on what’s next and how we can commercially monetise such a devastating downturn in footfall.
New Audiences, New Opportunities
The continuing chaos surrounding the aviation industry has had a huge impact on attractions that are reliant on international tourism, but this has to some extent been offset by the stay-at-home domestic audience that has increased significantly and will now travel far greater distances to enjoy some family time or a cultural day out.
This is where our opportunities lie – with so few visitors and so many venues to choose from, your visitors have chosen yours, which means they have never been more engaged in your venue, brand or exhibition. Even where visitor numbers are lower, venues are experiencing strong KPI results, particularly around conversion, as your new, highly engaged audiences have a greater propensity to spend. It’s important to keep this in mind.
We are experiencing a new normal. Sure, visitor numbers will continue to increase over time, but our audiences no longer want an experience where you are standing six deep in order to see a painting or exhibit. The restrictions imposed on our visitors as a result of Covid have become the visit of choice by our audiences, where they can enjoy an experience which is calmer and more relaxed with the freedom to browse at their own pace, knowing they will be able to find a seat in the café or restaurant and enjoy a quieter time in the gift shop – this is reflected in the KPI results.
Turning Visitors into Brand Ambassadors
With audience numbers unlikely to increase any time soon, it is vital to create the best possible visitor experience – and with the domestic visitor travelling greater distances, this is your opportunity to achieve a greater reach and create a new and consistent audience for the future.
The best way of increasing your audience numbers is through your offer. Create an experience that visitors will love and want to talk about for weeks with their friends and family – turning your visitors into your brand ambassadors.
Your shop, for example, needs to be more than just a shop. It needs to be an extension of the gallery, museum or attraction that provides an experiential point of difference, whether it be immersive, educational or just plain fun!
How about creating experiences for your new audiences to enjoy or purchase as a gift? Imagine an experience where visitors can enjoy an exclusive tour of an exhibition or collection by the curator that curated it, with a behind the scenes look at how the collection or exhibition was created, followed by a lovely meal in the restaurant, finishing with a personal shopping experience with a complimentary discount. What a fabulous experience that would be – our newly engaged audiences would pay highly for an experience like that and talk about it forever!
Look for Opportunities to Add Value
When reviewing your business, it’s important to keep in mind the end goal – to create brand advocates that champion your business and their experience at every opportunity
Begin by reviewing the customer journey through the eyes of the visitor, looking for opportunities to enhance the experience and deliver excellence – from first impressions, meet and greet to retail standards and store aesthetic, product availability, point of sale and lasting impressions. Look at areas where you can add or enhance value. Don’t forget to look at telephone ordering and enquiries, the time involved, bottlenecks to processes, and opportunities for adding that special touch. If you haven’t found at least one or two areas where you can apply improvements, start again.
Is there an opportunity to incorporate your online proposition with the offer of a discount code via flyers in shopping bags, increasing revenue and growing your customer database? Review the ordering, check out and delivery processes of your online offer, looking at where you can align with the physical store and improve the customer experience.
When reviewing your business, it’s important to keep in mind the end goal – to create brand advocates that champion your business and their experience at every opportunity.
Working Together for Success
We find ourselves in unprecedented times. Government support has ended, and current visitor numbers are simply not enough to generate the income required to deliver sustainable results. This requires all departments of the museum, gallery or attraction to work together in creating a compelling offer that will drive footfall, increase revenue and protect the long-term legacy of the venue for years to come.
Your route to increasing income and creating a healthier and more secure financial future is through a collective approach to delivering a compelling offer and visitor experience that engages with the increased domestic audience numbers, builds brand advocacy, and increases reach, visitor spend and ultimately revenue.