Effectively Managing Visitor Dwell Time

With social distancing likely to be in place as attractions and institutions prepare to open their doors, ATS Heritage takes a look at how best to balance maximising visitor numbers with observing social distancing guidelines.

Signage, staff and volunteers will have a key role to play, but technology – such as an audio or multimedia guide – can take away much of the strain and ensure that:

  • Important Covid-19 guidelines are explained clearly, to ensure that visitors enjoy their visit safely and responsibly
  • Visitors are politely invited to continue moving through the venue (particularly at common pinch points) to ensure as many visitors as possible can enter and the 2-metre rule can be observed
  • Tours can be adapted to add or remove ‘stops’ to reflect which areas are currently open to the public. This is particularly useful where venues are doing phased openings

In normal times, visitors are often invited to take their time. Research suggests that the typical dwell time for a special exhibition is between 75 and 90 minutes – much higher than a free permanent gallery.

However, in the current climate many attractions are introducing a shorter version of their tour. The aim is to ensure that key messages are communicated but visitors won’t have an opportunity to dwell too long in each space.

A number of our high-profile clients currently have different versions of their tours, which they can switch between depending on how busy they are.

A great example of this is St Paul’s Cathedral. In peak periods only a highlights tour is offered, while in the winter months a fuller tour with more layers is available.

We can learn from this approach to offer a simplified version of your tour – all done to ensure that:

  • You maximise the number of potential visitors
  • The safety of your visitors is respected
  • A high-quality visitor experience is delivered

We are also seeing across the industry that timed ticketing is being introduced at attractions which hadn’t previously utilised this. Timed ticketing is an excellent way to manage visitors and is likely to be with us for some time to come.

If you would like to learn more about ways to manage visitor dwell time, do get in touch with us to discuss your options on how best to present your offering to potential future audiences.