not evening thinking about a theme park visit right now. Today, a leisure services technology provider released a survey that further illustrates the bleak outlook for attractions.Last weekend, I showed you Google Trends search data that suggested many Americans are
The new survey from Omnico Group found that 78 percent of past theme park visitors from the United States said they were reluctant to visit a park in 2021 due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. A follow-up question found that 29 percent of park goers surveyed would not consider a trip this year at all. A concurrent survey of consumers from the United Kingdom found that 73 percent were reluctant to visit major attractions, with 23 percent saying they had ruled out visits this year.
Last month, a Theme Park Insider reader vote resulted in 34 percent of respondents saying they would not visit parks again until December 2021 or later.
All this is tough news for an industry that has been looking for recovery in 2021. Data are showing that simply turning to a new year on the calendar or reopening parks are not going to be enough to get the industry back to pre-pandemic levels. So long as Covid remains a threat, consumers are going to protect themselves - with many doing that by just staying home.
That said, many consumers are looking at what attractions have done to protect visitors from Covid-19. The Omnico Group surveys found that 86 percent of US consumers said that they were looking up an attraction's Covid-19 safety measure before booking a visit, with 60 percent overall saying that they would refuse to book a visit to an attraction if they did not feel those measures were adequate.
The top specific worries that the survey found related to inadequate physical distancing. When asked for solutions, 53 percent of US respondents said clear social distancing guidelines, 44 percent asked for caps on visitor numbers, and 36 percent said that staggered entry times would make them feel safer visiting attractions in 2021. Yet 42 percent also responded that attractions are more focused on making money right now than ensuring guest safety.
"After the year we've had, it's understandable that consumers are reluctant to return to attractions in 2021, but the outlook isn’t all doom and gloom," Omnico Group CEO Mel Taylor said. "By understanding and addressing visitor concerns now, businesses can put in place appropriate measures to negate worries and begin welcoming visitors back safely."
The group's report recommends that attractions focus on capacity limits, technology that enables contactless transactions and interactions, and an increase in personalized offers and loyalty efforts.
However, with somewhere between a quarter and a third of the market choosing to sit out 2021 - no matter what - the new year promises to be another tough one for the attractions industry, rather than the celebration that many fans and industry insiders had hoped for last year.
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