ALVA shares results of its latest visitor sentiment research

Our sister organisation, ALVA – the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions – has just shared with ASVA the findings of its most recent research into visitor sentiment across the UK. Undertaken for ALVA by consultancy Decision House, this latest research wave was carried out during the February half-term. As always, a big thank you to ALVA for providing us with this information freely, thus enabling our members to benefit from its latest industry data and insights.

Of particular interest to our attraction members will be the research’s key findings concerning consumers’ continued concerns about safety and how they feel about whether COVID-mitigating measures should be continued – an issue that is very pertinent as Scottish attractions plan ahead for arrangements post 21 March when requirements for face coverings are lifted.

ALVA’s research revealed that two-thirds of consumers still feel less comfortable about visiting an attraction than they did before the pandemic, and overall, the findings clearly support the continuation of at least some protective measures. The report highlights that more people would be encouraged to visit attractions if mitigating measures are in place than would be put off visiting if these are present. Key findings related to safety measures included:

  • Small minorities of visitors (around 10% for indoor attractions) have anxieties strong enough to prevent them from visiting an attraction – a very positive shift since summer 2021. There is now an overriding sense that the time has come to return to visiting attractions.
  • Ongoing consumer nervousness is still apparent however, with around 40% still expressing concerns about visiting attractions – mainly centred upon continued anxiety about crowds.
  • Many caveat a desire to return with a need (and sometimes, expectation) for some safety measures to be retained. Indeed, over 40% of the market still disagrees that all COVID safety measures should be removed.
  • There is however a growing proportion of consumers pushing back against some of the more onerous measures (pre-booking, mask wearing and proof of vaccination status) to the extent that these are a barrier to them visiting.
  • General encouragement of pre-booking, or perhaps compulsory pre-booking during busy periods, now appears a more sustainable strategy than blanket compulsory pre-booking.
  • It feels like the market still needs the ‘safety blanket’ of some overt COVID measures, even if these are primarily signals to demonstrate that an attraction has the best interests of its visitors at heart, and messaging around respecting fellow visitors.
  • In deciding upon measures to retain and remove, we perhaps now need to change the question from ‘which measures keep our visitors safest?’ to ‘which measures least impact upon the experience?’

You can access the research report here.