Did you know that 50% or more of a tourist attraction’s revenue comes from secondary spending, not ticket sales?
Knowing this, you can begin to piece together how wait times can have a big impact on your revenue. The more time your guests spend in line, the less time they’re spending in your attraction buying food, drinks, and souvenirs.
Long queue times leave guests feeling frustrated and unhappy. If the customer experience begins on a negative note, your guests will feel less inclined to spend more money once they enter your attraction.
Today, there are a number of ways attractions can reduce queue times, including virtual queuing, digital waivers, and reserving time slots for walk-ups. Here are six strategic ways to eliminate long lines from your tour or attraction.
1. Switch to virtual queues
A virtual queue means that guests can hold their spot without having to physically stand in line.
Switching to a virtual queue helps streamline your guest’s experience. The less time they spend waiting in line, the more time they’ll have to enjoy — and spend money — in your attraction.
Travel companies can adopt virtual queueing systems through an app, self-sign-in kiosks, or tablets installed at the entrance of the tour or attraction. Customers then input their information to grab a virtual spot in the line and go about their day.
Depending on the virtual queue software you’re using, customers will be able to monitor their progression in the line or receive some kind of mobile notification when their wait time is over.
Virtual queues help eliminate standing lines, which can be overwhelming for customers to walk into, especially with new social distancing rules. Customers will also feel more in control if they can monitor their own wait times on their mobile devices.
2. Increase scheduling during peak times
The second way you can reduce long queue times is to study your booking data. This will help you understand your company’s peak times. If you know that most of your customers visit on the weekends, you should consider increasing the available time slots during those days.
For example, if you notice that your attraction typically hits 100% capacity on Saturday afternoons, you would add more time slots to increase capacity at that time.
Additional time slots will give your guests more options to choose from during peak times and allow you to space out the crowds.
3. Hold back time slots for walk-ups
Rather than selling all of your available time slots online, hold a portion back for walk-ups. This will help you avoid having a room full of guests eager to enter your attraction yet having to wait around until guests with reservations leave.
Consider studying your booking data to get an idea of how many walk-ups your attraction typically receives.
Is there a day where walk-ups are more common? If so, reserve a portion of slots on those days for walk-ups. You can also increase your capacity on days that walk-ups and reservations are common, such as the weekend.
Being able to accommodate walk-ups will help your attraction stay at high capacity without the extra long queues.
4. Hire more staff
Understaffed tours or attractions are typically plagued with long wait times. Employees can get easily overwhelmed with an overflow of guests trying to register, check-in, or pay for a tour or attraction. This can lead to burnout, stress, and an overall chaotic situation for both staff and guests.
You should watch for the following signs to see if your company is understaffed:
- Employees are having trouble completing work requests on time
- Customers complaints are up
- Everyone is working overtime
- Workers are quitting and turnover is high
If either of these are a common problem in your business, you should consider hiring more staff. The investment will likely bring you a bigger return since you’ll be able to provide better customer service and therefore attract more guests.
5. Have guests sign digital waivers beforehand
If there’s anything worse than waiting in a long line, it’s waiting in a line with dozens of people looking for pens or a flat surface to fill out paperwork.
Eliminate the need for guests to fill out digital waivers or any other paperwork in person. Send all necessary paperwork to them ahead of time so that when they arrive at your location, everything is already filed away in the system.
6. Be transparent about wait times
The final tip is to be transparent with your guests about wait times.
If it’s high season and queue times are typically an issue, prepare guests ahead of time. When a guest makes a reservation for a Saturday during the holiday season, for example, you could send them an automated email explaining that wait times might be higher than usual due to the holidays.
In this email, you can include instructions on how to prevent long wait times when they visit — such as filling out digital waivers and any other paperwork needed. You could also introduce your guests to the virtual queue in your email. Explain to them how they can enter the queue on the day of their visit and how it works.
Another way to be transparent about wait times is to include a sign that tells guests approximately how long they’ll be standing in line before entering your attraction. This can be especially useful when wait times are low. Guests might feel pressured to enter your attraction when there is no line for fear of missing out on the quick entrance.
Long queue times threaten to leave a lasting negative impression and drive your customers away.
Make sure that you adopt new measures to keep wait times at a minimum, especially in the post-pandemic era of travel. Standing in a crowded line has always been unappealing, but now it’s a matter of public safety.
Companies that adopt virtual queuing, use booking data to organize their scheduling, and hire the appropriate staff will be ready to receive happy customers moving forward.