How the Pandemic Is Driving Online Booking at the Florida Aquarium

One offshoot of the COVID-19 pandemic could be the dramatic acceleration of online booking in tours and attractions.

Reading Time: 1 minute 24 seconds

The Florida Aquarium, open since early May, now issues tickets almost exclusively online. Prior to the pandemic, about 35% of guests purchased online, the aquarium’s president and CEO, Roger Germann, said in his interview with Arival CEO Douglas Quinby during the June 25 Arival Virtual Summit.

“This was a seismic shift for folks who wanted to visit the Florida Aquarium,” said Germann, who noted that pre-COVID the vast majority of visitors purchased their tickets within a few days of visiting or would simply walk up. 

Operating under government-imposed capacity constraints and a need to maintain social distancing, the Florida Aquarium, one of the first major U.S. attractions to reopen, needs to limit the number of visitors at the aquarium at any one time. To do that, said Germann, they moved quickly to adopt timed entry and are aggressively pushing online booking with their visitors.

The Florida Aquarium president and CEO, Roger Germann

Germann compared the experience of operating the attraction with the threat of Covid-19 to tuning an old fashioned radio dial, constantly adjusting to find the right balance. Once the virus is completely in the rearview mirror, whenever that is, he said he expects the business to be noticeably and permanently different from pre-COVID. Online booking and timed ticketing, he said, will be two enduring changes from this period. 

Other takeaways from the interview with the Florida Aquarium CEO:

Health & Safety: The aquarium requires guests to wear masks and maintain social distancing, following guidelines from local authorities and the CDC, said Germann. “We decided early on we’re going to make science-based decisions, not bottom-line based decisions.”

Like this? register for our Newsletter to continue the conversation

Sign Up

Asked if there were complaints among visitors, Germann said there were no major problems. The aquarium offers members and visitors who do not want to wear a mask the option to have their membership or admission refunded or extended to the date when the requirement is no longer there.

Retail and Food & Beverage: Retail shops are doing okay, but food and beverage sales are low, as visitors opt for “grab and go” and are less inclined to sit down and eat. The aquarium is considering rolling out online retail and subscriptions for online programming.  

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


already a member?

Lost your password?


Become an Arival Insider

Included in Free Membership

Included in Arival Pro Membership

The Arival on-demand video library archive
Access to the entire library of over 150 video sessions and webinars

Short, digestible research & trends reports delivering insights into our industry, such as The Tour Operator Outlook for 2021. articles
Topical articles about marketing, tech, operator business and operator stories in all areas of tours, activities & attractions & experiences

Job board access
Find a job from our regular listings, post a resume to the talent network and learn strategies from the job resources articles

New webinars
Helpful, instructional sessions covering subjects such as Mastering Facebook Ads, Grow Your Business and How To Work With OTAs — topics to help advance your business.

Discounts on all Arival in-person events
20% Discount on all Arival in-person events (save up to $300)* based on business type

Arival ProShield – Insurance program
Access to tailored insurance solutions by Granite Insurance is available exclusively for Arival Insider Pro Access Members. Insider Pro Access Members also have access to a suite of resources from Granite Insurance including templates, forms and other informative documents.

Insiders Pro Access member exclusive webinars
Paid membership-only webinars to deepen your understanding of important industry topics.

Job postings & talent directory
Post jobs & connect with candidates most applicable to your business.

Private roundtables to connect, learn and engage
Small, focused and intimate discussions exclusive to Arival Insider Pro Access members.

Full access to Arival’s library of in-depth reports
Up to date, deep analysis of tourism topics ranging from Self-guided Tours to Sales & Distribution Trends and Outlooks, based on the data that defines the industry.

The latest on-demand videos
Over 350+ on-demand videos featuring hot topics in tours, activities & attractions

Insider discounts in digital marketing, tech, e-learning, and more
Save money on additional tools, services and learnings you need to run your business. Exclusive to paid members.

Membership Overview

At Arival, we believe travel can make the world a better place. Our mission is to establish and inspire a diverse community of individuals and companies in the In-destination Industry by providing opportunities to gain insight, share knowledge and build connections. To make it possible for true collaboration, creativity, innovation, and idea exchange to thrive, we are committed to facilitating a welcoming and respectful community for all. This Conference Code of Conduct shares our community expectations and applies to all attendees, employees, exhibitors, speakers, sponsors, volunteers, and other participants at Arival- produced and sponsored events. We empower all participants in our community to actively engage in creating a friendly, inclusive and safe environment for all.

Arival’s core values include the following, and create an expectation for conduct at our events and in online community spaces:

We demonstrate a deep respect for human beings inside and outside our company and for the communities in which they live.
We value integrity and strive to consistently interact with others in ways that are authentic, ethical, and fair.
We are dedicated to transparency, committing to clear, open and honest communication.
We actively pursue and advocate for inclusion, diversity and representation of varying cultural backgrounds, perspectives and ideas

Arival welcomes people from all cultural backgrounds, and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, gender (including pregnancy, perceived pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, or related medical conditions), gender identity, religion (including religious dress and grooming), marital status, domestic partner status, genetic information, age, national origin or ancestry, military or veteran status, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, or any other basis protected by federal, state, or local laws.

Accordingly, participants must refrain from displaying any demeaning, harassing, aggressive, or intimidating behavior or materials that would interfere with others’ experience and participation in our community.

If you witness or are subjected to inappropriate or disruptive behavior or have any other concerns, notify an Arival staff member as soon as possible.

Inappropriate or disruptive behavior will not be tolerated. Arival reserves the right to refuse entry to or remove any party from any event or community space at any time when participation or behavior create a disruption or hinder the event or enjoyment of the event by other participants. All determinations are at the sole discretion of Arival, and the decision of the Arival team will be final. Severe breaches of this Conference Code of Conduct may result in disqualification from participating in future events. Individuals expelled due to violating this Conference Code of Conduct will not be eligible for a refund or other consolation.

If you have questions regarding this Conference Code of Conduct or its implementation, please contact us at [email protected].