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As businesses and tourist attractions prepare to reopen, many customers and visitors are wondering what to expect. Fortunately, attraction analytics and intelligence platform Dexibit has spent the last few weeks exploring major attractions in New Zealand, one of the first countries to reopen, to see how various venues are operating post-lockdown. 

CEO Angie Judge and Marketing Director Cecilia Paredes toured 10 different venues as part of the #ReopenRun to understand how attractions are adapting to changes brought on by COVID-19 and how organisations can use this re-opening period to keep visitors safe, without jeopardising the customer experience. 

“As news surfaced that New Zealand would be lifting lockdown restrictions, we started getting specific questions about reopening that people wanted us to investigate with our attractions here in Auckland,” said Paredes.

“Angie and I thought that the best way to show everyone what was happening would be to visit the attractions themselves and create a video series. We decided we’d go and report on the visitor experience and interview a senior leader at each attraction to get a behind the scenes perspective.” 

They summarised their findings in a series of videos, highlighting some of the key learnings for visitor attractions and tourist businesses.

Reopening safely

Paredes explained that businesses need to accept that the changes resulting from COVID-19 are becoming a regular part of life, and while we should all continue to take the risk seriously, we also need to find ways to become comfortable with the changes. 

“It’s all about making visitors feel comfortable. Setting clear expectations on your website regarding ticketing and schedules, having clear, differentiated signage and confident, well-briefed staff all gives visitors a sense of security.” 

“It’s important to communicate key health information but you can do so in a way that’s lighter and more creative – such as aquariums reminding visitors to stay a ‘shark’s distance’ away from each other.” 

She outlined a number of measures the attractions were taking to protect visitors including using clear, creative wayfinding signage and timed talks and workshops to keep guests moving in small groups, wiping down interactive exhibits more frequently, and being intentional with the placement and design of hand sanitizer stations. 

“Hand sanitizer is part of the visitor experience now – so even the texture and smell of the sanitizer you pick can impact the visitor experience. Do more than place sanitizer bottles around the venue. A sanitizer station gives you a few seconds of visitors’ attention to communicate other important health information or to reinforce how you’re being proactive, so take advantage of those opportunities.” 

Planning for the future

After coming out of a strict lockdown, Paredes admits she didn’t know what to expect as a visitor, but now feels confident about the measures attractions have taken. 

“It was very obvious that all of the attractions we visited spent a great amount of time thinking about the visitor experience and making sure that staff and visitors are kept safe…One attraction we visited mentioned that they had to plan over 200 different safety aspects around their site prior to reopening.”

“Hopefully, after watching the series, attractions understand the importance of having a plan for reopening that is flexible to change, especially since the future is so unpredictable…and how important it is to understand and analyze their data to ensure that their reopening is successful and sustainable.”

A look at Dexibit’s Scenario Simulation tool

To assist attractions in reopening, Dexibit has released a new tool called Scenario Simulation which helps attractions simulate the impact of capacity limits, changing operating hours, different reopen dates, reduced tourism and more on visitation, revenue and membership. 

“Additionally, our paid Dexibit plans allow attractions to analyze data such as visitor sentiment (feedback), trail routes (where people go), digital (social media, website analytics) and more. These data points are all important to providing context for efficient recovery and growth.” 

“We’re now establishing a recovery index to allow our customers to benchmark their reopening performance against others in the industry and we’ll be releasing more on this soon.” 

Dexibit is offering complimentary access to its Scenario Simulation tool for visitor attractions impacted by COVID-19. For more information about Dexibit, visit: https://dexibit.com/.

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