As lockdown slowly lifted and attractions and visitor sites began to re-open, we discovered there was a ‘new way’ to do things. This meant pre-booking all tickets, selecting arrival times and length of stay, pre-ordering food and drinks, or downloading new apps to order from the table. All these new solutions were rapidly, and sometimes hurriedly, installed to accommodate Covid health and safety requirements.
We needed to space out, not queue, reduce capacity and avoid human-to-human contact, so we embraced these new methods. Specific guidance from Government, for example in the UK states that to manage visitors, venues must “minimise contacts around transactions, for example by using online booking and pre-payment and encouraging contactless payments wherever possible.”
Businesses have had to adhere to these guidelines, but now with lockdown in many cases completely lifting, how many of those businesses will simply return to the way things were? We believe many will. What they need to recognise however, is that as restrictions continue to ease, in some countries faster than others, consumers have realised that those safety methods we had to use, have become what we now want to use.
Let’s consider the positive benefits.
As a mum-of-three waiting in a line is unfathomable, so knowing I’ve booked an entry time, or a slot that lasts two-hours only, has revolutionised play-dates and outings. A chorus of “are we nearly there yet” has faded, and tantrums over having to leave are now met with acceptance.
Online shopping too has reaped rewards with new Covid safety compliant technology now in place, with US consumers online contributing an additional $105 billion in US online revenue, which has accelerated ecommerce innovation by two years. This is another innovation that won’t just disappear; being able to order what you want online to collect in a few hours’ time, curb-side pick-up rather than go into store, it calls to our on-demand nature and need for speed and efficiency.
As well as a change in the way we work, book, order and eat, there is also an increasing trend of Covid-tiredness resulting in an extra splurge!
More than 50 percent of US consumers expect to spend extra, with around half of consumers who plan to splurge saying they’re “pandemic-fatigued” and intend to spend soon. The other half are waiting for the pandemic to fully resolve, and plan to splurge mainly on experiential categories such as restaurants and travel, according to a McKinsey survey.
The same survey also agrees that many digital behaviours of consumers will continue even after Covid subsides, including curb-side pickup (about 30 percent penetration, with half intending to continue post-Pandemic) or use of digital health and wellness tools (over 10 percent penetration, with 70 to 80 percent intent to continue post-Covid.)
Instances where Covid safety measurements have been entirely removed, such as Disneyland this week, have resulted in a return to long lines, packed attractions and frustrated visitors, according to the Orange County Register.
Surely this is evidence that those Covid measures on reduced capacity and pre-booking did work, if not to solve ticket revenue, then to satisfy customer loyalty! For those theme park and attraction brands looking at ways to maintain reduced capacity, but drive revenue, read our blog here.
Like many I’ve spoken to, the key is that we LIKE these new methods. We like pre-booking, pre-ordering, selecting times and length of stay, we want to avoid queues and paying at fixed till points. Covid has accelerated the innovation that we craved and given us a taste of what we want. There will be uproar if brands go back now.
Long live post-Covid tech innovation!