There is a lot of speculation around when, how and what will happen to the Leisure Industry that has been left in the lurch for the past three months. Here at MP Digital we have seen a traffic across all of our booking systems, websites and client portals drop around 85-90%.
For us, a supplier within the Leisure Industry, centre opening couldn’t come soon enough. That being said it needs to be done steadily, managed well and executed efficiently.
We have put together some of our thoughts for how we might plan for the months ahead also with some tips on execution.
Digital is King
(Yes, yes, we know). Your digital presence allows you to tell your audience what’s currently happening in your business. It’s important to tell them for transparency and trust how and when you are you going to be re-opening (if you know that is).
Your Social Media is Key
Make sure you use all of your social media channels to explain all the changes happening within your business, this could include – cleaning, capacities, rules and steps. The world is a scary place right now and we need to make our customers feel safe, the more information we can give them will help.
Your signals and words needs to be simple and concise, ‘stay home, protect the NHS, save lives’ is very simple to understand and follow, for example. Make sure you echo these messages throughout your website too.
We have seen many European and further afield countries implement mandatory capacity cuts to around 20-30% for leisure and activity centres. Now is the time for the UK to plan for this too, how would you manage this?
This is where thinking digitally can help. Booking systems manage your capacity and takes the strain off your staff managing queues of people. We would suggest setting you booking system capacity to 20% and increase it if possible, doing it the other way will cause for too many headaches.
When should you open?
Opening for a short period creates a rush of people or disappointment in not getting a space. Opening for too long creates a large overhead cost for staff and utilities. It’s a fine balance, our suggestion would be to cut your standard opening times by 50% for the first week and review after a full week. This will need fine tuning as every area, centre and activity needs to be managed for their unique situation.
Trust, reassurance and the ability to adapt is what your customers need right now. It’s time to be a friendly face and if people have booked and need to cancel, be understanding and make sure to honour your refunds policy. You don’t want to be know as the company that puts money above the customers safety – that’s exactly how it could be taken.
If you rush your plans and fail to manage the on going situation, chances are you will cause more problems and thus less customers will come. Your customers want to go out, but they want to be safe and trust YOU.
If you only take four things from this:-
- Plan, start now.
- Safety, how is it going to be safe?
- Don’t rush
If you can hit those four points you will be at a good starting point for customers to trust you and hopefully visit soon.
If you have any questions or require support please do not hesitate to get in touch with anyone at MP Digital.