COVID-19: Planning for the Future
March 27, 2020
As COVID-19 continues to develop, it is important to not only plan for how to brace the impact today but to think about how this will change the future of tourism and how your institution can adapt to those changes. There will be new approaches once closures and restrictions are lifted.
One of the most important things will be to think of all the touch points in your museum. It will be very important to go digital and create a touch-free and sanitary space. handling tickets, receipts, credit cards, membership cards, audio tours, the list goes on.
Low “Touch” Checkout / Payment
As you think about how your institution can prepare for the future, look towards your checkout and payment handling. The handling of credit cards, cash and receipts are one of the leading causes in germ transference.
Start enabling options to “tap and pay” to limit the human contact that occurs with each credit card, as well as self-pay kiosks onsite, which you wipe down frequently with disinfectant. Though they will not completely eliminate all the germs being transferred, they’ll certainly help.
Ticketless Entry and Digital Access Tools
E-Tickets and E-receipts will not only limit paper-based pollution but will also help to reduce the number of germs being transferred from your staff to patrons. Not only will going ticketless and digital reduce the number of physical interactions, but it will also even allow patrons to pre-purchase online. Pre-purchasing has the benefits of decreasing the length of lines and crowds and lets your staff quickly scan patrons without touching or issuing tickets.
Time-Based Entry is something we frequently see for special exhibits or certain institutions like the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam. One of the most important lessons we’ve learned from COVID-19 is to limit the number of people allowed to congregate in a single area. The more people in a large group, the easier it is for viruses and bacteria to spread. Time-based entry enables your institution to limit the volume of guests at any given time to make for a more sanitary experience.
Downloadable Audio Tours
Several institutions are very proud of their audio tour devices that they hand out to guests. However, these devices are a cesspool of bacteria and germs. While not exactly the same, a study by the University of Arizona found that cell phones had 10 times more bacteria than a toilet seat. It’s safe to say that your audio tours are breeding similar levels of bacteria, and by having your guests literally place these devices to their ears and face, you can bet that you’re contributing to the spread of diseases and viruses.
A better option when re-opening your institution is to leverage downloadable tours. Your guests can then use their own personal headsets to listen in, and decrease the spread of bacteria significantly as each guest will listen on their own personal devices, limiting the spread of bacteria and viruses.
Hand Sanitizer Stations
As you prepare and think through your grand re-opening, make sure you keep tons of hand sanitizer and sanitizer wipes for electronic devices available for use. We recommend placing them at self-service kiosks for patrons to wipe down themselves, and also place some at checkout stations to promote self-sanitation there. This will also allow guests to wipe down their own phones and devices as they proceed through your various exhibits.
Final Thoughts: Preparing For a Post COVID-19 Future
Amidst all of the efforts and precautions, institutions are taking to keep their employees and guests safe, enforcing a work from home policy is becoming essential if not mandatory at most institutions. Along with efforts to take sanitary precautions, working remotely presents its own challenges. Several institutions are not set up to support this new way of working. With outdated, on-premise servers employees are either forced to shut down operations completely or continue having employees work onsite. In times like these, it is now more important than ever to think about moving to the cloud for all your ticketing, membership and operational needs. Cloud-based technology allows your employees to work from anywhere, at any time. It allows them to access critical information remotely so that they are able to fully service your guests from anywhere, not just while physically onsite. They can do things like process refunds, group re-bookings, rescheduling or canceling events and so much more – all from the comfort and safety of their home. So your guests are taken care of and your employees are protected. It is important to think about the flexibility that the cloud offers, and if you do not have that available today, how to implement it as soon as possible.
Read more about the benefits of a cloud-based ticketing platform.