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It's time to rethink UK outdoor visitor attractions

There's nothing more unpredictable than the Great British weather. Across the Easter school holidays, we may experience both snow and sunshine and we wouldn't think anything of it.

And yet, for the many days of both disappointment and surprise that the weather gives us, we're still no further to finding a solution for our outdoor visitor attractions.

The start of the 2024 season is excerbating the need to rethink differently about these attractions, and here's just a few reasons why.

Last-minute purchases

rain at uk outdoor visitor attractions

We're seeing a consumer shift away from pre-booking tickets, which became a fundamental part of operations during Covid-19. Guests are making decisions at the eleventh hour or opting for walk-in admissions as they seek assurance of a good day out from the weather forecast.

The impact: high unpredictability for operators, not knowing how many guests to cater for, staff to employ and the impact on cashflow. Not to mention the abandon carts on the website if the forecast says rain.

Weaker visitor growth

uk museum indoor visitor attraction

The latest statistics from ALVA (Association of Leading Visitor Attractions) showcase a 23% increase in visitors for indoor UK attractions, compared to just a 2% increase in outdoor equivalents in 2023. Guests are favouring the security of a roof and shelter.

The impact: a guest preference for indoor visitor attractions to guarantee the experience they will have, even if that means less 'excitment' typically associated with outdoor attractions.

Shrinking leisure budgets

ons stats on retail and leisure spend in the uk in 2024

UK consumers are at the peak of prioritising spend. While retail and leisure is still a fundamental pot of their hard-earned money, there is simply less cash to enjoy experiences, driving higher scrutiny in purchases. (ONS)

The impact: Guests seeking value for money through discounts, guaranteeing a 'good day out', or, saving for a special trip when the weather becomes more predictable(!).

It's time to rethink

Despite the dire global situation, Covid-19 brought certainty to outdoor visitor attractions - knowing that guests needed an experience, in open space, pre-booked, that would be enjoyed no matter what the weather.

But life has returned to normal and we can't ignore the impact of weather any more. What can we do to make our outdoor visitor attractions suitable year-round?

Introduce secondary gates

softplay ball pit in uk indoor visitor attraction

Some outdoor UK attractions already include secondary gates with indoor experiences - such as soft play, aquariums and crazy golf. But could they offer more?

Embracing family entertainment centres

arcade machines in indoor visitor attraction uk

The typical FEC concept that is much-loved across North America and the Middle East, just hasn't been embraced in the UK. Yet, there's plenty of empty units within our high street and there's only so many competitive socialising axe throwing bars one city needs...

Getting creative with shelters

tent and tipi shelters at festivals

Even circus tents and tipis can be wonderfully themed in an outdoor attraction, just ask the millions of Brits who go to music festivals every year. Give guests the ability to experience your best and most immersive rides even when the weather turns for the worse.

Making the bad weather, fun

For those outdoor visitor attractions with a stronger connection to nature or a naturalistic themed world, embrace the wet and windy days. Rain activated murals, wind-powered art installations... there's plenty of ideas out there.

For solutions beyond the simplistic

From themed resorts suffering daily torrential rain, to touring theme parks navigating sandstorms, we know what it takes to create outdoor visitor attractions fit for the local climate. Especially here in the UK, where we're proud to call it our home.

Get in touch with us today to discuss how we can futureproof your outdoor visitor attraction using our global themed attraction design expertise.

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