Back in March I remember thinking about how this crisis would be a marathon not a sprint – one we find ourselves now right in the thick of. True to expectation, it’s a tough race to run, especially with the finish line not yet in sight and the start now a distant memory. At Dexibit, our customers are split between three quite different situations – those still awaiting reopening and wondering what that might look like, those reopened who are coming to terms with the new normal and those already in the pain of a rolling shutdown – a reminder to us all of the importance of scenario planning in a volatile year.
Worldwide, most venues reopened at about 20% of visitation (compared to this time last year) and as it stands today, are collectively operating at about 30%. In the first month of reopening, most venues make positive gains as they work out how to welcome visitors back in or tweak capacity optimization – yet few have made significant enough returns to get back to normal. The exceptions have been in outdoor venues such as zoos and during school holidays in regions who had beaten COVID-19 for the moment. At home in New Zealand before a recent rolling shutdown, some lucky venues even experienced year on year growth at one point, due to local visitors ‘staycationing’ rather than travelling overseas. Other bright notes have been member retention, which so far has not taken as big a hit as many initially feared, plus Average Revenue Per Visit (ARPV), slightly up globally as visitors make the most of an increasingly special day out.
Data to help compare reopening and recovery experiences with other venues is in high demand. As a result, we’ve released a new Benchmarking tool to support sharing by regional location or peer group. We’ve found it most useful in finding common visitation trends across groups such as associations, government authorities, organizations with multiple venues, informal industry networks or even neighboring venues partnering to bring visitors back.
As always the case with benchmarks, the more data the better. As a result, we have made this Benchmark tool our free offer to support visitor attractions through the crisis while building this important data source. We’d also like to ask for your help in referring other visitor attractions, commercial or cultural and especially in groups where you may already share visitation statistics together, or perhaps those where this has long been the goal. In turn, we hope this valuable benchmark will increasingly deliver more value to your team as the recovery journey progresses.
You may have noticed a slightly different user experience in our recently released Benchmarking and Simulator tools as Dexibit modernizes to our next generation experience. It’s faster and more interactive, plus gives us the opportunity to incorporate enhancements for users. Over the coming months, we’ll be rolling out this modernization upgrade across all products, starting with Dashboards and followed by Insights. One of the exciting changes you’ll see is the introduction of our Studio tool, introducing the ability to create and share your own visualizations, with easier filtering and grouping of data.
Our strategy forward is focused on helping the visitor attractions sector reopen, recover and return – getting visitors back through the doors, engaging and spending and returning loyally. In addition to tracking recovery with Benchmarking another significant current initiative is to reconceptualize our Insight models around the recovery challenges of supporting safe and happy visitors, financial sustainability, then market growth. Our first priority is optimizing for capacity – both preventing breaches and maximizing utilization. For example, no shows or attrition on advance passes is unsurprisingly higher and more variable than normal – predicting and analyzing this visitor behavior can reduce the opportunity cost of constraints.
Our team treasures opportunities to understand what your organization is facing, share ideas for feedback and test out product developments to ensure these hit the mark. We also love sharing your stories – whether a quote to inspire others, a case study to showcase success or a presentation to deep dive into lessons learned along the way – it all helps in our mission to power our cultural future.
Wherever your organization is in its journey, we’re right here behind you – please feel welcome to call on our team as you need us, wherever we can help in navigating recovery. Together, let’s grow, grow, grow!
All the best,
Chief Executive, Dexibit
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