The attractions and museum sectors are emerging from a year’s worth of lockdowns digitally transformed and reinvented. Digital tools and initiatives from virtual field trips to contactless technology, online tours to mobile apps have helped theme parks and cultural institutions alike to stay within reach of an online audience, and look set to be fixtures as venues prepare for a new wave of visitors.
Despite a “bizarre year,” Charles Read, Blooloop’s Managing Director, sees such innovation and the continued development of new exhibitions and projects as indications of the industry’s resilience. “The pandemic has been an accelerator,” he tells Jing Culture & Commerce, “New technologies, from face-recognition to apps, have been both adopted and developed. Everyone is comfortable with Zoom and Teams to a degree that is very different to the pre-COVID environment.”
Fittingly, Blooloop’s second annual V-Expo leads with the theme, “Celebrating Innovation in Visitor Attractions.” Happening between October 4 and 6, the three-day virtual event will feature speakers from both the attractions and museum fields, including key sessions by Disney, Universalin, and Merlin Entertainments, and spotlights on new projects such as M+ and the Grand Egyptian Museum. Recognizing the financial squeeze that these attractions might be under, ticket prices are discounted for professionals working at museums and cultural attractions.
Vitally, Read highlights V-Expo’s emphasis on what’s new and what’s innovative: “We have been struck by the dynamism and imagination shown in the way the sector has responded to the pandemic.” Besides exploring the key innovations that are driving change, it will announce Blooloop’s 50 Museum Influencers and 50 Theme Park Influencers of 2021, and the winners of the platform’s first Innovation Awards across categories such as Sustainability, Immersive and Technology.
Such recognition, notes Read, is well-deserved across the attractions landscape. “New and innovative ways were found to engage with visitors and indeed to attract new audiences,” he says of the industry’s reinventions over the past year. “Audiences themselves are more familiar with digital interaction and increasingly demand the benefits that it can bring for the guest experience.”