Leisure and entertainment industries around the world have suffered due to recent disruptions caused by COVID-19. We know that things will get back to normal and businesses around the world will re-open and welcome guests again. However, the return to daily operations will require adjustments. 

Safety will be top of mind for guests who will be concerned about the risks of germ transmission.  Guests will be hesitant to spend time in large crowds and to touch things that other people have touched. It is critical for businesses to have a operation plan and communication strategy to let guests know they are safe in their return to having fun.

Here are the Top 10 Things to Consider before re-opening your facilities…

CLEAR SOCIAL DISTANCING SIGNAGE

While most people are tired of drastic quarantine measures, they may feel uncertain about being in crowded places once all of this is over. Since your leisure facility is likely to be busy, you will need to make adjustments to ensure your guests can enjoy the features of your venue without having to spend too much time in large crowds.   

A few ideas:

  • Ground signage: Much like grocery stores have been doing for the past few weeks, you can map out the route your guests should take when navigating your venue – including keeping distance while waiting in lines and following a recommended path/direction from area to area.
  • Seating signage: You can designate seating arrangements in food and beverage areas allowing for more space between guests while they are eating.

COMMUNICATING CLEANLINESS STANDARDS

Many guests will be concerned about the risks of germ transmission. You will need to increase the frequency of cleaning in certain areas of your amusement facility and communicate your new hygiene protocols clearly with guests and staff.

A few ideas:

  • Additional cleaning staff and equipment may be required to ensure all measures are being taken to keep the property, especially high-traffic areas, as clean as possible. Keep a detailed checklist of areas that need to be routinely cleaned and have employees sign the checklist after each cleaning duty has been completed.
  • You may want to consider offering sanitization stations for your guests, so that they can have access to hand sanitizer regularly throughout the day.

ONLY ACCEPTING CASHLESS PAYMENTS

Removing cash from the equation reduces the risk of germ transmission between guests and employees. Cashless transactions are simple, quick and secure. Guests enjoy the freedom of being able to make impulse purchases without having cash on-hand. According to the International Association of Fairs and Expositions’ 2020 Return to Live Events Survey, “Half of event-goers are more likely to return if there are contactless payments for admission, food and merchandise.”

A few ideas:

  • RFID wearables can be used to offer simple cashless solutions for your guests. By linking their credit card to their RFID wristband or loading a pre-determined amount to be debited with each purchase, guests can pay for snacks and merchandise by simply tapping their wristband. Each transaction is saved to the guest’s profile and they can review their spending at any time.
  • Guests can purchase pre-paid meal packages and have them instantly associated with their profile. In order to claim their pre-paid meal, guests simply scan their wristband at the concession stand.    

CLEAR MESSAGING AND TRANSPARENCY

Maintaining transparency in your communication with guests and staff will go a long way towards making everyone feel safer. There is no use in pretending the global pandemic didn’t happen, so it’s better to take a proactive approach and address the situation head-on with honest messaging.

A few ideas:

  • Create friendly messaging to remind your staff and guests of the importance of washing their hands, coughing and sneezing into their elbows, etc. Post signage around the park to let your guests know you are aware of the risks and are doing everything possible to ensure their visit is safe and enjoyable.

PREMIUM EXPERIENCES AND ADD-ONS

You should expect attendance numbers to be significantly lower than usual when you first open, knowing they will increase over time. You’ll want to be strategic in your preparation for this dip in attendance and find creative ways to minimize the financial impact on your business by offering premium experiences to get visitors to share their memories and revisit more often.    

A few ideas:

  • Adjust staffing according to your operational needs and consider alternative duties employees can take on. If fewer client-facing employees are needed, there may be some behind-the-scenes/maintenance tasks that can be assigned.
  • Offer more add-ons and incentives for guests to purchase season passes, etc. Spend-per-head can be increased with strategic marketing and appealing offers such as: 2 for 1 admission, special photo packages, season pass discounts, VIP passes and more.

CAPACITY CONTROL AND PRE-SCHEDULING

More than ever, you will want to monitor the number of people in your venue and regulate the maximum capacity in certain zones. Guests will feel more comfortable entering a specific zone if they know it is being closely monitored so as to avoid overcrowding.

A few ideas:

  • When using RFID wristbands, guests scan to enter the facility and can also scan in and out of certain zones. Your staff can easily monitor the number of people in each zone and can restrict access to busy areas for certain durations.
  • Schedule entrances to your property and ask guests to reserve a time slot for their entrance to the facility. By staggering entrances with set reservation times, you can monitor the crowd flow more closely and avoid having large groups of people arriving at the same time.

VIRTUAL QUEUEING AND TEXT MESSAGES

You may want to consider innovative solutions to avoid having long line-ups for rides and activities at your leisure property. Guests will enjoy the flexibility of being able to reserve a spot for a ride or activity without having to stand around in a crowded line to wait their turn.

A few ideas:

  • Let guests use their online profiles to reserve a spot for a ride or activity. When the time has come for them to get on the ride, the guest will receive a text message directly to their mobile device. In order to claim their spot, the guest simply scans their RFID wristband and their reservation will be recognized within the system.

STAYING INFORMED AND SURVEYING

It is important to remember this is an unprecedented situation that everyone will be navigating as they make the return to “normal life”. While you lead your business back to regular activities, you may want to keep in touch with other industry professionals to learn how they are managing under the circumstances and determine the best practices for your business. And most importantly hearing directly from the guests that are attending by rewarding them for completing a survey or taking the time to sit with guests to hear them out and address their concerns.   

A few ideas:

TOUCHLESS SELF-SERVE OPTIONS

When operating with fewer employees than normal it may be beneficial to provide certain self-serve options for guests. Self-serve kiosks require very little employee involvement and also limit the close interaction between staff and guests. Touchless screens allow guests to order without touching screens with their fingers. 

A few ideas:

  • Touchless Self-serve kiosks can be provided at the entrance of your facility for guests to purchase their RFID wristbands. Guests follow the prompts to select the entrance package they would like (day pass, season pass, etc.) and can select add-ons such as meal packages, photo packages and more. Touchless self-serve kiosks may significantly reduce wait times for guests at the entrance of your facility.
  • Touchless self-serve screens can also be offered at concession stands for guests to order and pay for their food directly. When their order is ready for pick-up, the guest receives a text message on their mobile device. The self-serve option reduces wait times and limits the interaction between guests and staff.

REMEMBERING SAFETY AND FUN

Through these challenging times, it is important to remember that the primary goal of your facility is to provide a safe place for families to share incredible experiences and make lasting memories. While you want to make it clear you are taking their safety seriously, remember to keep the tone and style of your messaging fun and upbeat.

A few ideas:

  • Park mascots can help to communicate hygiene messages to kids in a lighthearted way, and you can work with marketing professionals to ensure your signage is consistent and the tone is friendly. You can even gamify the experience by creating a “clean challenge” for kids to complete during their visit to your facility.
  • Remind families that safety is very important, but so is having fun! Let guests know you are all in this together and that a safe and enjoyable time can be had by all.

Créons ensemble la meilleure (et sécuritaire) expérience client!

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