By Keith Dunphy, CRO, Omnico Group
Contactless technology has proven itself a game-changer for attractions. Growing in popularity well before COVID-19, the contactless trend accelerated out of necessity during the pandemic – making today’s case for investment stronger than ever.
It’s no wonder consumers are demanding it, after a year of such profound change. According to our research, more than half (56%) of attractions visitors consider contactless a ‘must-have’. Without it, attractions risk falling short of consumer expectations in terms of venue safety and could miss out on footfall before they even begin.
However, contactless tech is far from just a safety measure. It can also enhance the guest experience, facilitate spend and grow revenue. With closures costing the attractions industry an estimated $23 billion last year, businesses simply can’t afford to ignore technologies and tactics that can see them on the road to recovery.
So, as attractions work to get back on their feet, they should look beyond safety and deploy contactless to enhance the visitor journey and boost profits. Here’s why:
1. Contactless tech improves the overall attraction experience
When we hear contactless technology, we immediately think of payments. Of course, measures to streamline transactions are important. However, contactless is even more impactful when used to improve visitor satisfaction, too.
This is where contactless experiences come in. And right now, almost a third (29%) of consumers are worried attractions aren’t doing enough to facilitate them.
Contactless technology should be embedded throughout the attraction journey. From the moment guests book to the time they arrive, the purchases they make, the food they collect, and the contact they have with staff on-site.
We know consumers are expecting to see a variety of contactless tech when venues reopen. This includes contactless entry systems (56%) – like smart turnstiles and RFID tickets – and mobile apps (51%), as well as self-scan and checkout (49%) and self-service kiosks (45%).
Together these technologies create a far better experience for visitors. They minimise the time people need to spend waiting and give them more opportunities to enjoy themselves, keeping them engaged at every moment of their trip.
2. Contactless tech boosts profits
Predictably, over the past year attraction venues saw significantly reduced footfall and revenues. There was a 70% fall in visitor numbers for UK venues. This was a stark comparison against the usual seasonal spike.
Unfortunately, businesses can’t expect things to bounce back to pre-pandemic standards immediately. Boosting revenue won’t be easy at first. So, attractions operators need to pull out all the stops to lower barriers to purchase and facilitate spend.
There are two main ways of doing this. Firstly, by improving the level of service. Contactless technology helps speed up operations, meaning visitors are served quicker, enhancing revenue opportunities, and delivering a better experience.
Secondly, by improving customer satisfaction. Visitors that spend less time waiting in queues or at checkouts thanks to contactless experiences have more opportunity to enjoy your venue and spend at its different touchpoints.
In fact, in many cases, contactless technology can have a direct, positive impact on profits for attractions. A third of consumers (31%) told us they’d likely spend more on food, drink and merchandise if they could do so via mobile order ahead, for example.
A ticket to recovery for attractions
COVID-19 has deeply altered consumer demands when it comes to attractions. And it has made it clear that contactless technology is an absolute necessity.
Not only does it enhance the customer experience, but affords immense efficiency while boosting revenue. If attractions are to recover, they have to acknowledge this key trend. Operators must introduce contactless technology as they gear up to reopen.
By leveraging contactless, in the form of touchless payments, self-service, mobile orders, or RFID tech, operators can create an exciting, seamless experience for their guests, and kick off a successful peak season.