By Sabine Lehmann, Founder and Chair of Attractions Africa –

I have had the privilege to meet with attraction managers from around the world and I always learn something useful from them.

Attraction management is both an art and a science and with a few tweaks in your day to day operations based on advice from fellow attraction managers, can really enhance your visitors ‘experiences.

Here are 10 things I learnt from other attractions:

1. We are all trading in the same currency
1Attractions are all vying for visitors’ limited time, their attention which is scarce and their monetary spend which is consumable and finite. Let us not underestimate the amount of hard work we put in to retaining these things.

2. Our biggest competitor is … the shopping mall!
2Dwell time and onsite spend at shopping centres are enviable! Shoppers come to these centres without a budget and leave tired. What’s more, they get parking space, a multitude of choices for entertainment, air con etc – things we’d like to offer but often are not able to.

3. Don’t get into the technology arms race
3Unless you have deep pockets, you will not be able to keep up with all of the technology advancements of the world. Yes, they’re shiny and new and can do all kinds of amazing things but these innovations cannot solve all of your problems.

4. Focus on the bottlenecks
4Everyone has them – it’s how you deal with them that counts. Focus on decreasing the size of your bottlenecks and you will increase your throughputs at peak times. Work on solutions to this issue during your busiest season when it matters most and you’ll have greater leverage growth than trying to increase take-up during quiet times.

5. Digital signage wherever you can
5Using TV screens in facilities like your food outlets to advertise your offerings are easier to change and are more cost effective than a printed menu.

6. Give staff the tools to do the work
6Ultimately your staff are the frontline for visitors. You want them to be happy, friendly and energetic at all times so give them the tools to make their jobs easier. Keep them informed about new things regularly, provide them with water on hot, busy days etc and they’ll excel at providing your visitors with a great experience.

7. Allow social media to do the work!
7Visitors want real time engagement so keep your social media channels updated regularly and respond to questions and complaints timeously. These platforms are another cost-effective means of marketing your deals and news with minimum effort.

8. Humour please!
8Visitors want to engage in a humorous manner with attractions so put some fun into your messaging.

9. Preserve pocket power at all times
9E-ticketing is a powerful tool and one that becomes all the more relevant as many attractions move away from building ticket offices and focus on establishing ticket portals instead. There are multiple advantages of e-ticketing; chief amongst them is preserving pocket power and preserving the decision. Once a ticket has been bought on line, the decision to come to your site is locked in. In addition, attractions have more security by not taking cash at the gate. With benefits including real-time tracking and better queue management, e-ticketing is the future of attractions.

10. Benchmarking
10Don’t stick to your own type of attractions when benchmarking yours. There is plenty to be learnt from businesses outside of your usual scope and you’d be surprised at the things you’ll implement as a result thereof.

If you’re keen to hear more of my learnings, presentations by other leading attractions and more, join us at the Attractions Africa conference. For registration and more information, please visit www.attractionsafrica.co.za.