Zoo Hours: How to Manage Your Visiting Hours During Each Season
Zoos are like any other outdoor attraction – sculpture gardens, amusement parks, and botanical gardens, among others, are all subject to the seasonal ebbs and flows of visitor engagement. Spring and summer are usually high points for visitors, while fall into winter sees less activity among visitors and members.
For zoo administrators and team leaders, this brings up an important question: how can you most effectively manage operating hours during the off seasons and what factors go into those decisions?
Below we’ll look at how to manage your visiting hours during each season and optimize visits during those seasons.
Typically, spring and summer are the peak months for zoos. This is when zoos increase their staffing needs, extend their hours, and create marketing campaigns and sales strategies around their gift shop.
How you can strategize around summer/spring seasons:
- Good weather is an obvious reason why visitations see an uptick, but it’s important to note that animals’ habits will change with warmer weather. Because animals are more active in cooler temperatures, it’s important to extend your hours from the morning into the evening, and you can even think about organizing night-time events to boost engagement and create fun digital content.
- Schools, summer schools, and summer camps are often looking for ways to excite their students and get out into fun learning environments. Teaming up with local schools or educational organizations to host summer camps or behind-the-scenes events with trainers are great ways to engage with students and local institutions.
- When people have more free time, they will often utilize the opportunity to visit amusement parks, zoos, and other outdoor entertainment venues. That’s why it’s so important to have a robust online community presence and social media presence. Highlight new animals you have at your zoo, video all your fun events, organize unique adult nights like beer gardens, and do your best to maximize your content online during these seasons to stay competitive.
- Tourism is a huge source of visitor upticks in the spring/summer seasons, and investing resources into a comprehensive tourism strategy will allow you to maximize the tourism season to your best ability. Google released data that showed 85% of leisure activities are decided after tourists arrive at their destination, and most of their bookings are done through their smartphones. For zoos, this means it’s important to have a robust mobile ticketing system and to work with in-bound travel agents who can lead tourists to your zoo.
Fall and winter see a decline in visitors due to weather, lack of tourism, and a cultural misconception about what is available at zoos in the winter. To learn more about how to attract more visitors during the fall and winter seasons, see our winter at the zoo post.
Zoo hours to aim for
Zoos should aim for opening hours between 10AM-5PM in the summer, with some days, especially in the hotter weeks of the summer, staying open late. Zoos can take advantage of night-time events and adult nights to engage new visitors and accrue more members.
In the fall and winter, zoo hours can operate between 10AM-4PM, with special indoor events and other seasonal specialty events like halloween tours, christmas events, and more. Again, there are plenty of animals that are active in the winter season, and informing visitors by being engaged online and on social media is a great way to show visitors what you have to offer.
How ACME can help
Any zoo should have a seasonal market strategy, and any solid strategy or plan starts with understanding the data. In order to reach your target audience, you need to know who they are and what motivates them to visit your zoo.
ACME’s advanced ticketing technology gives you all the tools you need to save, track, and evaluate visitor information to see what your visitors are interested in, their visiting patterns, and how the online platforms they’re using to connect with your zoo.
ACME’s ticketing software will make ticketing, building members, and creating seasonal marketing strategies easier than ever. Boost your marketing strategy and try the ACME demo today.