With Reference to a large range of scales and a variety of settings describe and explain the ways in which the Visitor Experience might be enhanced by different techniques of Visitor Management
In order to illustrate the concepts of enhancing the visitor experience through different techniques, a broad range of settings and scales need to be introduced. With the use of these settings, visitor experience can be summarised on a broad scale, and with such scales, techniques can be provided that help enhance this experience.
In this essay, I am going to use three specific examples to provide an outline of the key techniques, which attractions use to promote visitor experience. On a large scale, I will outline the Wellingtons Westpac Trust Stadium. On a smaller scale, I will outline an indoor and outdoor attraction at a local level. The indoor attraction is Zebos Bar and outdoor Miramar Golf Club.
To illustrate these techniques I will break down the ‘Application of Principles of Strategic Management to Visitor Attractions’ models and provide information concerning areas and techniques which these attractions use to enhance the visitor experience.
Indirect controls are the nucleus of visitor management. These controls can be broken down into three subtopics. Legislative, Planning and Tenure.
Legislative controls entry and restrictions of the visitor. With reference to techniques used by visitor management, the legislature holds a key step to success. It is used to decrease negative elements and ensure visitors have an enjoyable and memorable experience.
Smoke-free legislation has been a key technique used. This ultimately enhances the visitor experience for those who do not smoke. Westpac Trust Stadium uses this technique with all smoking banned inside the ground. Areas have been allotted outside, creating the best of both worlds for the visitor. A technique also employed by Miramar golf course, with smoke-free and smoking areas. The legislature is also used for alcohol.
Visitors cannot bring alcohol into the Stadium, and can only be brought by visitors older than 18. Age restrictions concerning alcohol are also incorporated by Zebos and Miramar golf course, to ensure underage drinkers do not affect the visitor experience of others. The legislation also controls visitor flows, with restrictions on crowd capacity. Psychologically, these limits provide peace of mind for the visitor in situations that can be life-threatening i.e fires. Once capacities are achieved more visitors cannot enter.
Planning is the next aspect to indirect controls. The major aspect of planning is the location of the attraction, and ease of accessibility. The Westpac Trust Stadium provides a prime location, on the outskirts of the Wellington central business district, directly opposite the Wellington Railway Station. This decreases congestion on Wellington’s roads and greater ease of travel flows, through public transport. With this location, visitor satisfaction has been enhanced, by decreasing the problems of travel constraints.
Miramar Golf course also capitalizes on planning. It is located in a key area of Wellington, providing for visitors who are keen on the golfing experience. Miramar is easily accessible by all modes of transport. The layout is designed to interrelate, with all attractions of the course and clubhouse. The first and eighteenth holes connect to the clubhouse, enabling easy access to and from the course. With this layout, visitor flows are channelled through the clubhouse, a technique used to entice visitors to the restaurant and bar facilities. This ultimately adds to the visitor experience of travelling to Miramar golf course.
Zebras on the other hand face a far greater problem in the planning area, due to its location, on the outskirts of Courtney Place. It suffers the consequences of low demand. This has been addressed though, through financial techniques addressed later in the essay. The layout of Zebos is designed to enhance the visitor experience, offering five major areas of attraction. The main foyer and bar, garden bar, poker area, dance floor and a lounge bar.
The use and placement of these areas have been designed in a way, which creates a balance in areas, and different environments that the visitor wishes to enjoy. Different levels cordon, walls and windows separate these areas helping create unaffected unique environments.
The final concept of indirect controls is tenure, which is the ownership of the attraction and the fees with which establishments charge to enable visitors to enjoy the experience. The concept of tenure has been discussed later in the essay concerning financial controls.
Direct controls provide the marker of visitor management. These are the controls provided at the attraction. They are used to enable greater interpretation, satisfaction and enjoyment for the visitor. The use of these controls can be broken down into four subtopics: car parks, barriers, pathways and signposts.
Car parking is a major constraint of visitor management and needs to be supplied at attractions to enable correct visitor coordination and numbers. Miramar Golf Course and The Westpac Trust Stadium use this aspect effectively but at two different ends of the spectrum.
Westpac Trust Stadium offers car parking beneath the ground. These are extremely limited in supply, in accordance to the number of visitors that travel to the stadium. Because of this high demand, price constraints have been introduced. This introduction has been employed strategically to deter visitors from using private cars, instead opting for the use of public transport. An effective strategy controlling visitor flows and decreasing congestion on the Wellington Roads before and after functions. This technique ultimately enhances the visitor experience due to less congestion and problems created by trying to find parks. It also pleases the community.
On the other end of the spectrum, the Miramar Golf Course uses car parking effectively. Its location is a short distance to the golf course and clubhouse. Carparks are limited and effectively control visitor flows. When the car park is full it acts as a control and message to visitors that the course is busy, and many visitors will leave and return at a later date. This controls visitor flows and decreases congestion on the golf course and in the clubhouse.
Zebos does not use car parking as a visitor management technique in the sense of controlling visitor flows. This is because the demand for car parking is not relevant in these situations, in what the attraction provides.
Barriers are used to create effective visitor flows also. They help decrease negative situations occurring for the visitor and physical attraction itself.
The Westpac Trust Stadium uses a range of barriers at the entrance and in the ground. Turnstiles are used to allow visitors in with tickets and keep those out which do not. Security guards are also employed to provide a barrier against those performing unlawful activities which disturbs other visitor experiences. Alcohol restrictions are also applied for the same reason.
Zebras also use similar type barriers, to ensure all have a good time. Instead of turnstiles, Zebos employs bouncers which perform the same duties as security guards. The bouncers survey the attraction, reprimanding visitors performing unlawful actions, ultimately hindering others visitor experience. Barriers are also provided in the form of legislature, with age limits and refusal to supply alcohol to those who are too intoxicated. These barriers are applied in a manner which ultimately removes those who disturb other visitors experience.
Miramar Golf course uses barrier techniques to ensure the visitor experience on the golf course lives up to perceived expectation. A dress code is applied, and those that do not adhere to this, can not use the course. Players must act in a manner of rules and regulations concerning etiquette, and hats can not be worn in the clubhouse. These barrier techniques are used to ensure visitors respect other visitors own individual experiences.
Barriers are also applied by Miramar to ensure visitor satisfaction is achieved currently and into the future. Temporary rope barriers and white markers are used as barriers to stop visitors walking on certain areas of the course which are being repaired or developed. These barriers are used to provide sustainability for future golfers experience.
Signposts and Pathways are two concluding techniques used through direct controls. These techniques are similar to car parks and are used on a broad spectrum, effecting visitor flows, interpretation and understanding of the attraction.
West Pack Trust Stadium incorporates this extremely well. Pathways have been developed that are wide and open. The pathway leading up to the stadium decreases congestion and makes it an easy attraction to access, even in situations when the stadium is sold out. Pathways also illustrate these widths within the ground, allowing freedom of movement, even in areas of apparent congestion i.e around ATM machines and bars.
Signposts provide direction to an extremely visible location. Signposts at the entrance tell visitors where seats are located, and maps provide information concerning visitor destinations in the ground. Inside the stadium, all regions and bays are numbered with the inclusion of more maps to help even the most lost visitor.
Upon leaving the attraction signposts also help show visitors where public transport is leaving from and what times they are leaving. An extremely effective management tool used to control visitor flows to avoid congestion, time-wasting and enhance interpretation and understanding.
Miramar Golf Courses uses these techniques in a unique fashion, due to the perception of golf and demand the visitor has for this. Pathways are designed to control the flow of visitors from each golf hole, enabling them not to get lost and develop an understanding of the layout of the course. These pathways are also used to create sustainability of the course, acting as barriers to stop people walking on areas that can get damaged. Signposts also enhance the experience.
On each hole a description of the hole is provided, informing the visitor. These techniques are ultimately used to enhance the visitor’s experience, providing information concerning the layout and style of course. This technique is in high demand, concerning the sport of golf.
On the other end of the spectrum is Zebos, which does not use pathways but visitor flows to establish pathways, to different areas and environments of the attraction. The layout creates many flows into different areas and is used to decrease congestion through its open layout.
Financial controls are techniques used to both control flows and enhance the experiences of the visitor Three major subtopics of cost of parking, cost of entry, and activity cost, outline these techniques.
Westpac Trust Stadium uses the financial technique to its advantage on many scales. As previously discussed parking is used in an effective manner to increase visitor experience in creating a deterrent, by shifting visitors from using private transport to the public. This has been created by high costs of parking to decrease traffic congestion, as previously discussed this enhances the visitor experience.
Westpac Trust Stadium also offers many different attractions and sporting fixtures, and costs vary depending on the importance or significance of the event. These costs are determined by the demands created for the event and costs either increase with more demand or decrease with less. Membership passes are also provided for the visitor who pays a set price to watch a set amount of games i.e Super 12.
These memberships enhance the experience for the visitor, as they are given allocated seats for the duration of their membership decreasing problems incurred of getting separate tickets for each game. These varying prices and memberships ultimately are used to control visitor flows and capacity, decreasing confusion and overcrowding. This is designed in the best interest of the visitor experience.
Zebos uses financial costs to its advantage, in controlling visitor flows. Cover charges for entry are applied in the same concept as that of the West Pack trust Stadium incorporating higher costs for increasing demand to stem the flow of visitors. Another financial technique that has been created is due to the location of Zebos, as previously discussed. To attract more visitors they offer cheap deals on drinks, which attracts more visitors. This attraction usually occurs on a Wednesday night and has proved to be a success, and has ultimately brought in more revenue for Zebos and a higher enjoyment level for visitors.
Miramar Golf Course also uses financial control as a means of visitor control. They use high prices for non-affiliated golfers, as a deterrent to decrease flows and increase the experience for avid golfers. This provides an environment where accomplished visitors don’t’ have to put up with the congestion of less-skilled visitors. This ultimately enhances golfers experience decreasing agitation created by those with a lesser understanding of golf.
Educative controls have been addressed previously in this essay, through aspects of signposts, legislature and barriers. These controls have been used to educate visitors in their experience, which enables them to ultimately act in the correct manner to enhance their own experience. These controls help develop an enhanced understanding of what the attraction provides. Although these are important techniques, attractions also use other forms of education, to enhance the visitor experience.
Westpac Trust Stadium promotes itself through many forms of media, to inform to the visitor on what the attraction is offering. They achieve this through newspapers, billboards, radio and the internet. They advertise upcoming events informing the visitor on times and dates that the event will be occurring.
Zebras also use forms of media to educate and inform the visitor on events they are providing at their attraction. The major form of media, which is used, is a pamphlet called the ‘Package’, which circulates around Wellington informing prospective visitors of what events are occurring at different establishments in Wellington. Zebras also use the radio to inform customers of cheap nights or upcoming events.
Miramar Golf Club operates on the other spectrum of education controls where they really do not use media as a form of promotion. This is because they have created demand through their reputation and maintenance of their course, in attracting their visitors. The visitor experience is ultimately enhanced by the courses maintenance and visitors judgment of the course.
The techniques used by these attractions provide key examples and ideas concerning the controls, which are used to help promote the visitor experience. These three attractions provide important techniques used through direct, indirect, financial and educative controls. On all aspect of these controls, there are techniques which have been used and incorporated by these attractions to enable enhanced visitor experience. The three examples do provide important information for the tourism and visitor markets. In order to be successful visitor experience and enhancement needs to be constantly addressed and enhanced. The techniques that have been used under this model creates the idea, that different attractions with different settings need to create more focus on different areas, depending on individual situations.
For example, Westpac Trust Stadium places a larger emphasis on pathways and development than that of Zebos, which uses visitor flows instead to create effective pathways, whereas Miramar uses pathways to create sustainability to ensure that visitor will have the same experience in the future. But it is important to note that these different styles all are striving for the one single goal, which ultimately will enable them to grow and prosper with the enhancement of the visitor experience.
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