Not All Attractions May Want to Go All in with Timed Entry

Demand for ticketed attractions and museums appears to be relatively strong, but some attractions may want to consider a hybrid approach to advance purchase vs. walk-up

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The prospects for attractions and museums looks relatively positive among travelers, according to a recently published study from GetYourGuide. After outdoor activities, attractions and museums are the most cited experience travelers are planning for in 2021. 

Not All Attractions May Want to Go All in with Timed Entry douglas quinby Arival

The findings may ease some concern since the onset of the pandemic more than a year ago that travelers may be hesitant to return to more popular (i.e. crowded) indoor attractions. Many attractions that have been open across the U.S., especially in markets with looser restrictions, have been reporting growing visitation numbers in 2021. 

GetYourGuide’s Francesca De Falco, regional manager for Italy, presented key findings and recommendations for operators from the research at Arival’s Spring into Summer Forum. Her presentation is available to Arival Insider Pro Access Members and forum attendees. 

Should attractions require advance booking? Well, mostly

Many ticketed attractions, from museums and zoos to amusement parks and aquariums, have implemented advanced booking requirements with timed entry to manage capacity restrictions and maintain social distancing during the pandemic. This has also added several business benefits for attractions, including the ability to capture more customer data and get insight on future demand. 

However, new research from BVA BDRC in the U.K. suggests that not all attractions should require advance booking. Their findings indicate that 30% of consumers in the U.K. might not visit if pre-booking were required, and one in four view pre-booking and timed entry as negative. The main reason: they want the flexibility around their leisure activities. 

There are, of course, a variety of considerations for different attractions. High-demand, must-see attractions may be able to require advance booking without an impact on booking levels, while secondary, less popular attractions may want to consider a hybrid approach to avoid turning off the more casual visitor. 

The in-depth article from BVA BDRC is available here, and well worth reading for all tour, activity and attraction operators considering advance purchase requirements. While business benefits to the operators for advance purchase are many, not all visitors and travelers want to be forced to plan and commit in advance. 

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