During the summer, visitor attractions enter their busiest period. According to the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions there was a 3.2 per cent increase in visitor numbers to UK attractions in 2015. We take a look at what might be the biggest trends determining performance this year.
Visit England reported 7.3 million people chose to holiday in England in the first quarter of 2016 – up 10 per cent on the same period in 2015. This rise, alongside the beneficial exchange rate, indicates that customer spending and visitor numbers will increase in the summer of 2017, although spending will differ on a location by location basis, dependant upon the facilities on offer and other factors.
However, there is ample opportunity for owners of attractions to increase their income through additional streams such as food, beverage and retail, encouraging visitors to spend more on site. Offering a season or annual ticket is also an increasingly popular way to secure a higher initial entry fee and then repeat visits and secondary spend over the year which visitors might otherwise have been reluctant to undertake.
Staycations are creating a revival of “retro” holiday. Seaside locations in particular are enjoying a renaissance with towns like Margate and Whitstable becoming more popular. Visitor attractions such as piers and farm parks have seen an increase in popularity as holidaymakers opt to stay in the UK. The popularity of the former and their increased revenue has been reflected in the amount of activity in the investment market; seven piers have been sold within the last three years.
New technology will continue to play a big part in the experience of a visitor attraction with developments such as virtual reality and touch screen interaction becoming commonplace. To the millennial generation these high-tech experiences are ever more valuable. Attractions may also be able to take advantage of technology to analyse visitor flows and to measure and therefore improve on the experience provided through immediate feedback.
Online booking and review sites have also changed the way the public interact with a venue, even before their visit. Social media has become important in the promotion of an attraction, the venue’s response and interaction with these platforms are key to successful reputation management and online advertising.
Read more: Aspects of Leisure