As the UK emerges from lockdown, the easing of restrictions is increasing excitement for the summer ahead. Indoor venues are due to re-open from the May 17th, with hopes that social distancing will become a thing of the past from June 21st. Consequently, people are pre-booking tickets for the re-opening of visitor attractions and scheduled upcoming events.
With plans to make the most of returning freedom, people are buying tickets to many fun-filled events. In fact, bookings for events have risen by 250% when compared to pre-Covid levels, after Boris Johnson announced his roadmap of out lockdown (The Guardian).
However, the tourist attraction sector is still surrounded by an air of uncertainty – will restrictions lift at the suggested times? What will happen if people need to isolate? That is why keeping customers informed, as well as offering your customers flexibility and security with bookings, is important. This reduces the risk for your customers and reassures them that when buying tickets to your event, their money will not be lost if the event is cancelled, or they are unable to attend.
We have outlined some of the fundamental ways that your business can support provisional bookings over the summer. In doing so, you can boost ticket sales and help your business recover from the financial impact of the last year. This will encourage your business to bounce back and increase profits during the impending event “boom”.
Offering customers more security will increase ticket purchases, even with the uncertainty that currently surrounds the tourist attraction and events sector.
By allowing your customers to make changes to their booking after purchasing a ticket (e.g. altering dates and times), you are offering your customers extra buyer security. Although we are emerging from lockdown, uncertainties remain and people may not be able to attend the event due to reasons that are beyond their control, such as:
- Needing to isolate due to Covid-laws.
- Restrictions not lifting in time.
- Changes in restrictions, which no longer allows them to use their tickets (e.g. people from two households buying tickets together, and restrictions changing meaning only one household can attend).
Your attraction should also provide full ticket refunds in appropriate situations, namely event cancellations.
We recommend not offering your customers vouchers in exchange for the ticket price if event is cancelled. This demonstrates poor customer consideration and could irritate your customers, discouraging them from becoming a returning visitor to your attraction in the future.
If the last year has taught us anything, it’s that situations and circumstances can change very quickly and often, without warning. Customers are more likely to book a ticket for an event that offers some flexibility.
One of our customers, Burghley House, use our full attraction ticketing software as part of their strategy to become Covid-secure. They use the platform for ticket purchases and a time-booking system. This allows people to purchase tickets to explore the palace and its gardens, before choosing a date or time. Then closer to when they want to visit, they can book an arrival timeslot, with flexibility on rescheduling.
When booking a time to visit the historic house, customers are asked to confirm that they will not attend and reschedule if they:
- Come into contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus or has symptoms.
- Need to self-isolate or have developed symptoms themselves.
- That they have access to the NHS app, and related information.
This raises awareness of the option to reschedule, encouraging them to feel more comfortable doing so, should they need to.
Some of our other customers, including Cardiff Castle, use our full attraction ticketing software to ensure that customers can re-enter their attraction with ease, through our flexi-ticket system.
Keep customers fully informed
It is also important to ensure that customers are aware of their rights should a cancellation take place. Advise ticket purchasers for your attraction that they can secure refunds for cancellations or receive a refund if they can’t attend a postponed event.
Always ensure that customers are aware that booking fees and delivery fees are non-refundable – keeping customers in the dark can only lead to annoyance. Also, customers shouldn’t be subject to any additional booking fees, and the original ticket price should be fully refundable.
How can supporting provisional bookings protect your business?
Keep your customers up to date on changes to regulations and your security policies. This will help reduce customers concerns surrounding booking tickets with your company, so customers feel at ease.
Ticket flexibility in particular can help reduce the chances of your company having to offer refunds, as ticket holders will have the option to reschedule their visit.
Also, if your company opt for a flexi-ticketing system, you should consider securing provisional bookings by including booking fees on your tickets. This prevents no shows and ensures that your customers can reschedule tickets for times that suit them.
Support provisional bookings with our attraction ticketing software
At Vennerys, we understand that emerging from the pandemic is going to be difficult, especially for business within the visitor attractions sector.
Our versatile, all-in-one attraction ticketing software VenposCloud can help your company to support provisional bookings and offer security and flexibility to your customers, as well as help your company to increase its offering with attraction-booking software. We also offer easy membership management and other benefits.