Online ticketing comes to the rescue for parks & zoos

For many, it’s the little things that have been missed most during lockdown life. Like the freedom to enjoy a spontaneous day out at the zoo when it’s sunny. Or to take the kids to the park for a picnic when the clouds finally break. It’s only when you’re told that you can’t do these things that you realise how much you were taking them for granted before… when things were ‘normal’. That’s why we’re so thrilled to finally see some of our favourite outdoor spaces reopening – albeit slowly, and cautiously. 

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We’re all (painfully) aware by now of the need to stay socially distanced when we’re out and about – which means experiences of jam-packed parks and heritage sites are, for now, a thing of the past. One of the most prevalent ways organisers are tackling this issue is through the use of ticketing, even in situations where it would never traditionally have been used. The National Trust, for example, has experienced great success through its timed ticketing system – selling out of booking slots within hours. Through purchasing tickets with allocated time slots, people have been able to once again enjoy the beauty of National Trust sites while resting assured they’re not putting themselves at risk.

At Ticket Tailor, we’re seeing many of our own customers take on similar initiatives. Like the Peak Wildlife Park in the UK’s treasured Peak District, which is selling day passes in order to keep capacity low enough to enable social distancing. Then there’s Canada’s Cobbs Adventure Park, which is using a mixture of timed ticketing and season tickets to manage capacity. Others include Massachusett’s The Zoo in Forest Park, and Wales’ Manor Wildlife Park.

Could ticketing save our favourite attractions?

Governments around the world are desperately trying to strike the perfect balance between keeping their populations safe and protecting their economies. Just a few weeks ago, the BBC reported how zoos were facing mass closure, with Chester Zoo warning it could be closed for good. But now, with the government announcing that some outdoor attractions like this could reopen, it seems there is at least some small glimmer of hope for their future. 

The situation in the USA is fluid and varies from state to state. Outdoor attractions, though, seem to be doing well so far, due to the lowered risk of transmissions in open space. 

There’s no doubt that ticketing systems are going to be – and already are – a monumental part of kickstarting economies around the globe as we continue to tackle the Coronavirus pandemic. While most zoos will have already operated some kind of ticketing system, not all will have allowed attendees to book in advance - particularly with time slot management. It’s this element that’s going to be so crucial in helping them manage their capacities, as well as aiding track and trace protocols.

How to make sure your outdoor attraction is Covid secure

If you’re planning on reopening your outdoor attraction, you should:

  • Speak to your local authorities and get familiar with Covid secure government guidelines at the time of reopening

  • Station hand-washing basins (hot water and soap) or hand sanitiser (at least 60% alcohol) at regular intervals around your site

  • Train and educate all of your staff on Covid safety measures, following government guidelines around this

  • Accurately calculate how many attendees you can have on your site at any one time that means social distancing is still possible

  • Put perspex screens up at help desks and tills

  • Put markers on the floor to indicate one way systems around toilets and typically busier areas

  • Try using an app like Ticket Tailor’s Tazotix for fully distanced checking-in at your attraction

Of course, the most important action you’ll undertake will be to educate yourself on all things Covid, making sure you’re carrying out the proper risk assessments and seeking the correct government advice before opening.