Latest visitor sentiment research published

Our colleagues at The Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA), have shared with ASVA the findings of their latest research into visitor sentiment. The research was carried out by insight-led consultancy Decision House to gauge the views of the public on visits to re-opening venues.

The latest wave of research (wave 9), was conducted after the Prime Minister and First Minister had announced the postponement of easing physical distancing and other mitigation measures, so respondents were aware of those political announcements and their consequences.
The research shows that, whilst there growing desire to visit attractions, and particularly attractions in Scotland, there are anxieties amongst a significant proportion when it comes to the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions, including physical distancing.  This throws up some interesting questions for the sector, all of which we will cover in our upcoming Members Meetup event  on 14th July –   Beyond Level 0 – How are Scottish Attractions Approaching the Lifting of Restrictions?

Some of the key highlights from the latest wave of research include:

  • Since late April, there has been another positive shift in appetite for visiting attractions when they re-open. In particular, some of those ‘waiting to see what happens for a short while’ are now ready to visit, although this hesitant group still represents around 40% of the market.
  • Appetite for visiting has continued to grow across all age groups, in the South of England, Wales and Scotland. Indeed in this wave of research, Scotland has the highest percentage of respondents (75%) who indicated they had either already visited or intended to visit as soon as opportunity arises.
  • Although confidence is clearly growing and anxiety around using facilities falling, 60% still express fear or concerns about visiting – especially on measures to limit crowds / keep distancing. Three-quarters of the attractions-visiting public are not yet ready to remove Covid-19 safety measures, the same as at end April.
  • Although falling slightly since the end of April, there remains notable support for some form of ‘proof of vaccination / exemption’, especially for indoor venues and among the over 55s, once the vaccine has been fully rolled out. Around a third of those who would ordinarily visit indoor attractions/events claim that they would not visit unless all visitors had some form of vaccine proof.
  • Evidence indicates that vaccine proof would be a trigger for tempting many from the more cautious segments to return to indoor attractions, but may alienate some current visitors. This is less the case for outdoor attractions, although around a third of those from the cautious segments might be tempted to visit by some form of vaccination proof.
  • Most safety measures will still be highly comforting to visitors, although the impact of providing hand sanitiser on feelings of safety has decreased over time, whilst measures focussed on limiting capacity have remained highly comforting.

We are hugely grateful to ALVA Director Bernard Donoghue for sharing the latest research with us and we look forward to welcoming him to provide further insights at the aforementioned ASVA Members Meetup on 14th July.

You can download the full report here.

On the back of this research, ALVA has produced guidance for visitor attractions wishing to maintain some mitigation measures after restrictions are lifted. This guidance is very much just that though and ALVA is clear that  it is definitely up to individual attractions to make their own decisions about what is right for them.

You can view the ALVA guidance at this link.

From an ASVA perspective, we accept that there will be differences across the sector, when it comes to what measures will be maintained. That is inevitable when you have the breadth of different businesses that we have in our sector. What should be a constant though is the need to listen to and understand the concerns and needs of your own staff and your visitors when you are deciding which measures may be best to maintain to ensure a safe and enjoyable environment for all.

ASVA will certainly support all its members in their own decisions on how to manage opening, and we know for many it is a very tricky balancing act to manage commercial viability and ensuing everyone feels totally safe.