Satisfaction with attraction visits is down

PGAV research has found that overall satisfaction with attraction visits in 2022 was down relative to historical averages. For the 11 categories they tracked, only one category, the food experience, was up, and one category was unchanged, enjoyment for children.

They also found that net promoter scores fell.

PGAV suggested possible reasons why the sudden NPS drop from 49% in 2021 to 41% in 2022:

  • Studies show customer expectations are soaring, but the customer service they are receiving is declining
  • Many attractions had lower caps on capacity during the pandemic resulting in happier customers due to less crowding, shorter queues for attractions, etc.
  • Labor shortages are causing staffing problems, resulting in lower quality, higher pressure on staff, longer lines, and many other issues, adding up to upset customers.
  • Expanding the use of mobile technology for ticket sales and food service removes the human element from customer interaction. This eliminates the opportunity for real-time questions, feedback, and problem-solving.
  • First-time visitors typically report lower satisfaction. 46% of visitors were first-time visitors in 2022. Jerry Henry, CEO of H2R Market Research, offered this explanation, "First-time visitors don't know what to expect when they visit an attraction and don't know whether they'll like it or not. Thus, it's only natural that some enjoy the attraction and plan to return, but others will not. Conversely, repeat guests know what to expect from the experience and have made an informed decision to return. Thus, a much larger proportion of repeat guests are typically satisfied with the experience than is true among first-time visitors."

We also believe inflationary price increases are contributing to decreased satisfaction. The higher the price, the higher the expectation of what you should get for your money. Prices are higher, but it's still the same experience, probably a little worse due to factors PGAV has cited. So, for repeat customers, the higher prices amplify the impact of their dissatisfaction, and they feel they are no longer getting their money's worth that they once did.

We work with many agritourism farms that hold Fall festivals with corn mazes, pumpkin patches, and other attractions. Pre-pandemic, there were always a few days in the Fall when they were swamped with attendance, resulting in crowding and long queues for attractions and foodservice. The pandemic imposed capacity restrictions, forcing them into advance ticket sales with limited capacities. They found it resulted in a better experience for both customers and staff and higher per capita sales for incremental purchases such as food and beverage and retail. As a result, they have continued to limit attendance capacity to ensure a quality experience for everyone. And customers have learned that they need to pre-purchase tickets to be assured of admission, no different than making a reservation for a popular restaurant. Many tourist-based attractions such as Disney World and the Louvre in Paris are doing this. We see this as an option for other types of community location-based entertainment venues to assure customers have a quality experience.

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