Everyone has to go. That's universal whether young, old, woman, man, transgender, or non-binary. For people who visit agritourism farms and ranches that have to go, porta-potties have always carried an 'ick factor,' especially as the day wears on and they become smellier and dirtier. People find their use unsatisfactory and are reluctant to use them unless absolutely necessary.
Then comes Covid-19, creating heightened awareness and concern for hygiene and sanitation standards. Most people today have a significantly increased level of germ trepidation. A 2023 survey by the Bradley Corporation found that three in four Americans continue to be in an elevated state of germ consciousness in the post-pandemic era.
Although there is no direct evidence that people avoid agritourism businesses that only offer porta-potties, it definitely influences their impression of the business and their memory of their visit.
As we reported in our July 2023 issue, research has found that what is called the "peak-end rule" determines what we remember and how we judge an experience, such as a visit to an agritourism facility after it ends, whether positively, negatively, or not at all memorable. The peak-end rule suggests that our memory of an experience is not influenced by its beginning, duration, or overall intensity.
According to the peak-end rule, our memory of an experience is primarily determined at two critical points: the emotional peak, which represents the most intense or significant moment of the event (whether positive or negative), and the ending, which captures the emotions felt as the experience concludes. These two aspects serve as a summary of our memory of how we feel about the experience. It is a shortcut the brain uses to form a long-term memory of experiences.
We do not remember or judge an experience based on the total sum or the average of every moment throughout its duration. What truly matters in forming the memory of visiting an agritourism venue is the emotional intensity of the experience at its peak, combined with how visitors feel at the end.
The problem with exclusively offering porta-potties at an agritourism farm is that it can well end up being the emotional peak of the visit, a very negative one, forming the long-term memory the visit no farm wants a visitor to have.
Even before the pandemic, many of our agritourism clients recognized the need to offer permanent restrooms for their visitors and added them. The farms who wanted to move away from only having porta-potties, but due to lack of public sewer, soil conditions for septic systems, or governmental restrictions couldn't build permanent restroom, rented or purchased portable restroom trailers that can offer a restroom experience closest to a permanent restroom.
Here's an example of an 11-station restroom trailer that can be purchased for less than $100,000:
There are also ADA-compliant and small restroom trailers:
For farms with large areas where people will be, such as extensive festival grounds, it's often better to have two small restroom buildings or trailers spread out rather than just one large one that might be a long walk from parts of the grounds.
Today, people expect to be able to use clean and sanitary restrooms when they visit, much more so since the pandemic. Don't disappoint them at your agritourism venue.