South Western Federation of Museums and Art Galleries

ALVA provides latest insights into how visitor attractions can build trust and confidence in visiting

Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) has provided a number of insights into planning for re-opening and recovery. The report from ALVA seeks to 'understand how to build trust and confidence among the attractions-visiting public - helping us get back on our feet quickly but also to sustain our recovery'. Two aims are to find:

  • How should we physically present ourselves on re-opening to build public trust and confidence in visiting?
  • What communications messages should we put out there to build confidence and capture the public mood?

Key points from the latest report (full report available here) are:

The market has become even more cautious about visits than before [since the government announcement around lockdown easing], especially to indoor attractions – perhaps concern over lockdown easing and / or naming aspirational re-opening dates bringing home the visit realities.

General concern over crowds and distancing is still the major visit barrier, but people are becoming more focussed on the safety measures they expect from attractions when they re-open, whether general or specific e.g. pre-booking only.

Impact of a ‘charter mark’ is therefore likely to be high – over half the market feel this would give them the extra confidence they needed to visit. In the eyes of the public, top safety priorities are

  • Limiting visitor numbers on-site, primarily at indoor attractions
  • Be seen to be implementing and monitoring / policing distancing measures on-site Toilets and indoor cafés
  • Interactive exhibits or anything that visitors touch
  • Hand sanitiser around the site and staff visibly cleaning

Moving elements of the visit experience outside, where possible, will undoubtedly help generate visits – outdoor kiosks, tours, small events, picnic areas. Outdoor, open spaces are increasingly recognised by the public as safer than indoor, enclosed spaces.

There is an increased acceptance of PPE among potential visitors, with very little pushback to either staff or visitors wearing face masks (or at least face coverings).

Visitor-facing staff can have a hugely positive impact – providing a warm welcome and showing patience with visitor anxieties – but they will need a new skill set to proactively deal with the public’s adherence to distancing protocols in place.

Concerns around using public transport to visit attractions is high, particular underground trains and buses.

Visitors are not expecting blanket admissions price discounting, with notable proportions of ‘members’, families and younger people (aged under 35yrs) expecting to pay more on re-opening.

Challenge is how can we implement these much desired safety measures yet simultaneously continue to deliver our amazing experiences [new experiences, learning, fun, relaxation etc.]

The fill report can be read by following this link: