UK attractions must improve their offerings: report

Staycationing is still of appeal in the UK but local visitor attractions have room for improvement if they’re to capitalise on the numbers of people planning visits this year, according to new research.

The study, from business intelligence research consultancy Future Thinking, found that  visitor attractions (heritage sites, museums, zoos etc.) hold key appeal for UK holiday makers, with nearly two in five (38%) planning at least a weekend break in the UK this year, and 30% of us staying in the UK for our main holiday.

The research is from Future Thinking’s Retail & Leisure Barometer, which is now in its fourth year and which canvassed 1,500 people on their views and opinions when it comes to leisure spend in the UK.

The research shows that we’re 17% more likely to visit a heritage site when holidaying somewhere in the UK. Cost (36%), lack of information (27%) and quality of facilities including food and drink (18%) were found to be the three biggest barriers to visiting leisure attractions more often.  It suggests that vendors should look at bundle deals and provide top quality facilities that help to create a stress-free visit, to appeal to more customers.

Answering more broadly about leisure spend, just over a third (35%) of the average household’s leisure budget will be allocated to food and drink, followed by kid’s activities (16%), evenings out (12%), hobbies (12%), days out (8%) and sporting events (6%).

Just over half (55%) of people said they visit attractions at least once a year. Families are the most frequent visitors with an average of 21 trips to visitor attractions or art performances planned this year. Broken down, this equates to four trips to zoos, aquariums and wildlife parks, three trips to places such as the theatre or ballet, five visits to family, four visits to museums or art galleries and five trips to a heritage/historical site.

Some 70% of respondents see visits as a complete day out – earmarking a fair proportion of time and money anticipating purchase of food and drink, gift shop purchases and more; while three quarters (75%) look for offers and discounts when planning days out. The research suggests families are keen to have the whole experience, but at the best possible price.

Noreen Kinsey, head of Retail & Leisure at Future Thinking, commented: “Staycationing is clearly here to stay, with almost a third of us planning on spending our main holiday here in the UK. As the Bank Holiday weekend approaches, holiday makers will be looking at visitor attractions to offer an affordable, accessible and enjoyable experience for them and their families.”

“If they want to capitalise on this trend, visitor attractions should continue to look closely at their facilities, marketing and pricing to ensure they are offering the best deal to consumers. Whether it’s improving the food and drink, offering better parking, or providing discounts to loyal customers, our research indicates that a seamless, affordable and stress-free experience is a key priority for people and families.”

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