Technology Considerations to Make Upon Re-Opening
April 23, 2020
The underlying question that everyone has is when will institutions be permitted to re-open their doors? And when they do re-open, how will the current environment affect patrons’ future plans to return to cultural institutions, zoos, aquariums, and gardens?
The truth is, your visitors are more anxious than ever before to fill their lives with rich culture, inspiration, and serenity – everything your institution provides them.
Managing Visitor Flow with Timed Ticketing
So, what is the key to a successful re-opening? Creating a safe space that your visitors will feel confident coming back to. The biggest factor to consider is physical distancing, which will still be mandatory once venues re-open. It will be of the utmost importance to rigorously control capacity and implement timed-entry to manage visitor flow and keep a safe distance between your patrons.
How do you identify the capacity for the new normal? There are a number of factors to consider when deciding what the proper capacity is for every predetermined time slot.
Things to consider are:
- Current maximum capacity of your public area(s)
- Past attendance records by arrival time and event
- Exhibit/installation density (think of this as square footage that a visitor cannot inhabit)
- How many guests can experience each exhibit concurrently
- How many guests can travel between exhibits while all exhibits are currently occupied
- How much time will they spend in each space
- What are the typical travel patterns throughout the space(s)
Implementing time-based entry enables your institution to limit the volume of guests at any given time providing a safer, more sanitary experience.
With ACME’s timed-entry capabilities, you can set a custom capacity for any time frame throughout the day, as well as specific schedules for both the weekend and weekdays. This feature is beyond flexible and allows you to update capacities and time frames on-the-fly as trends and policies change.
Another thing to consider is the flow of traffic at your institution. This is something you can easily control and will make a huge impact. Think about things like additional entrances/exits that can be used, what the natural path of a visitor is (enter and turn right or left?), clearly marked paths/routes for guests to take, helpful signage to guide people to certain areas or certain directions. There is so much that can be done operationally to help manage the flow of traffic and keep everyone at a safe distance.
Some institutions are using things like beam technology in conjunction with timed ticketing, to track guests movement, their length of stay in a particular area, and if they are either entering or exiting the building (capacity management). Many companies provide affordable capacity management solutions by way of overhead video, heating sensing, and laser beam technology.
Minimizing Touch Points
Another fundamental change you will need to make is to minimize the number of physical interactions between your staff and visitors. You can do this by going completely paperless and adding digital access tools like e-tickets, e-receipts, and digital membership cards.
You want to strongly encourage your guests to purchase their tickets in advance online. Pre-purchased tickets have the benefits of decreasing the length of lines and crowds, and it also lets your staff quickly scan patrons without ever touching or issuing a ticket.
ACME’s has several options for Paperless Entry Capabilities including:
- Onsite (POS) terminals can be set to print receipts and tickets on demand or not at all
- Send e-receipts and e-tickets to avoid handling physical receipts for those who wish to have them
- Limiting interaction with staff at the entrance
- ACME has APIs to support self-service ticketing kiosks to limit staff interaction with guests at the entry
- ACME’s online purchase site is responsive, therefore you might encourage walk-up guests to easily and quickly buy tickets from their phone
- New orders created at the POS are eligible for the “Check-In All” feature on the final sales screen allowing the operator to redeem all tickets in the order in a single tap
- Eliminates the need to print tickets
- Guests can skip the access control point completely (limiting staff interaction)
- Specific events can be configured to never print tickets
Not every guest will purchase a ticket in advance. Walk-up visitors who still need to purchase a ticket can be greeted with a contactless payment option at the point of sale. Enable options to “tap and pay” to limit the human contact that occurs with each credit card transaction, as well as self-pay kiosks onsite.
With this secure payment processing option, your guests can use a contactless credit card through their mobile device to complete an onsite transaction in seconds, without ever needing to hand over a physical payment.
ACME’s Contactless Payment Options Include:
- Onsite Point of Sale terminals equipped with contactless EMV chip and pin devices
- Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, and similar payment methods
- Contactless Credit Cards are also supported for visitors that have been issued contactless CC’s by their bank
Downloadable Audio Tours
A popular addition to a visitor’s experience are audio tours. They are an amazing way for guests to get a docent-like experience for a much lower cost while self curated. However, these devices may not be part of your operational model in the near-term going forward.
An alternative when re-opening your institution is to leverage downloadable tours. Your guests can then use their own personal headsets to listen in without degrading the traditional audio tour experience.
If you are looking to make all of your audio and multimedia tools available for your visitors to download on their own devices, check out Antenna International. The Antenna App allows visitors to simply scan and go. It takes up virtually no space on visitors’ devices, and even works offline (once downloaded).
You can offer it to your guests for free, or you can charge for it, and you can also run messages or ads, feature sponsors or partners, and even link to external URLs.
Demonstrating to your guests, patrons and supporters that you are committed to providing a comfortable, safe, and sanitary space for them to enjoy is at the top of everyone’s mind right now. There is very valuable technology available for you to leverage, and ACME is here to help.