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Managing Visitors

Prominent attractions or large events can experience crowding issues at times, and need careful planning to control the movement of visitors.

Here are some points to consider:

  • If public transport is being used managers or organisers should encourage its use., to minimise car use.
  • Maintain effective communications with local transport companies, well in advance of any anticipated difficulties (i.e. bus lines and taxi services).
  • Use shuttle buses to ferry people to and from the event from local rail stations and bus stops.
  • Have clear directions on all your promotion material, invitations, tickets, etc. – include a map reference.
  • Make sure that the traffic has as little impact as possible on local residents and local businesses.

To manage traffic a destination provide:

  • Adequate parking facilities for both buses and cars.
  • Adequate and clear signage to indicate parking areas
  • All weather access.
  • A traffic management system (larger events may outsource this to a traffic management company). Smaller events often use local community groups such as the volunteer fire brigade or State emergency Services unit to assist in traffic and parking controls onsite. (A donation is usually required).
  • Disability parking.
  • Well signed pick-up and drop-off points.
  • Clear access for emergency services and security.

‘People flow’ within the confines of a location must also be considered to avoid confusion and to direct people towards areas, or away from restricted areas (e.g. those that may be slippery or wet or in some other way a risk).

Ensure that you:

  • Provide adequate signage to indicate entrances and exits.
  • Have adequate and clear signage to indicate toilet facilities.
  • Consider where barricades, fencing or guard rails are required.
  • Have clearly singed exit and entrance points
  • Have clearly signed emergency services points
  • Consider if guards or other staff are needed to direct traffic.

In large events, traffic flow can help manage services: moving people past catering, toilets or other facilities as they enter, will educate them as to where these things are located. When people queue alongside catering venues; they may buy food while waiting.

Equal Access

Equal access is a legislated requirement to ensure that a broad range of people from various social, racial and disability groups can gain easy access to a site’s facilities. The following should be taken into consideration:

Determine barriers present that can be removed to increase access to a broader range of people.

How to reach new audiences through targeted outreach and organised on-site activities specifically designed for disadvantaged groups.

 
Common Barriers to Equal Access
  • Social barriers – language; brochures and signage may need to be in more than one language.
  • Disability - provide wheel chair access and interpretive information (legible signage, audio tours etc. sensory gardens etc.) suited to hearing and sight disabled or the elderly. Video and multi-media presentations are an alternative source of information when access is insurmountable.
  • Lack of transport - facilitate shared transport for communities i.e. some councils provide mini-buses which could be utilised for shared transport (or coaches, buses can be hired).
  • Staff training – disability awareness training is an important part of staff skills development and provide staff and volunteers with an awareness of the associated issues. Training should cover a range of situations and disabilities and may include visits to other sites adapted for disability access.
  • Community consultation with disability groups, retirement communities, clubs, schools, conservation groups etc. is a constructive and informative way to discover ways around access problems.
  • The quality of service provided by external agencies such as caterers, grounds management contractors and managers can also have a direct impact on access. All external agencies should be made aware of the site management’s standards and quality expectations applying to access before they enter the site to avoid problems developing.

Common Barriers to Physical Access

Flights of steps are one common barrier to accessibility. These may be difficult to navigate especially for those with a walking disability or sight impairment but especially for wheelchair users - when even one step would most probably create an insurmountable barrier. Gravel and soft lawn also present problems for wheel chair users. The elderly and those that have difficulty walking may have problems with navigating cobbles or setts.

Note: even listed sites or buildings are not exempt from litigation if a problem is known and retained without modification.

An Access Strategy

An access strategy outlines policy and ways in which the organisation will put the policy into practice. The following elements are included in an access strategy plan:

  • A commitment to develop and sustain inclusive practices.
  • An explanation of how the document links to other management plans and other developed strategies and policies for the site in question.
  • An access audit plan, access plan, and the related costs.
  • Goals for improving access to services and facilities in: order of priority, time scales, design implications, budgets for work.
  • Involvement of disabled people and other relevant community members in the development and on-going review of the access strategy.
  • How the access strategy will be monitored and reviewed.
  • Who has responsibility for its implementation and on-going.

QUEUING THEORY

Queuing theory is a mathematical study of waiting in lines (this can be equally applied to goods or materials as well as people). It is based on probability theory and is used in business (in general) to understand the type and amount resources required in order to provide adequate services, and to avoid bottlenecks, by planning the best possible sequence of events.

The term ‘adequate services’ is important - for example we may often wait in queues at our local pharmacy/doctor/retailer (or whatever) and become impatient. The dilemma for the service provider or retailer is: how long will a customer wait in line before we lose that customer? Do I need to employ extra staff to provide a faster service in order to retain my customers? If so how many do I need and when will I need them? (In any business there are ‘rush times’ and quiet times’ there is a definite balance between providing for the rush times and not having staff standing around doing nothing during quiet times). If they do decide to employ more staff - how much will this actually impact on the speed of the service? In other words how much better will their service be? It needs to be markedly improved to justify the staff increase. Other considerations are: how will this extra staffing cost impact on my ability to maintain a working profit, in order for me to continue to provide the extra staff to ensure faster service? Do we need more staff or can technology be the answer?

There is a fine line between what the customer demands (the customer’s cost of queuing is their time) and what the business owner can realistically provide (the business’s cost is a possible loss of custom, or alternatively greater business expenses in order to lower waiting times).

Customer flow – i.e. how many customers we have at any given point of time, how long they need to queue for, and how quickly we process them is all about ‘systems design’ (the system we devise to deal with these issues).

There are established ways to manage customer flow (queues) for example:

  • Through extended trading hours
  • Through discount offers on known ‘slow’ days
  • Through the staggering of customers appointments
  • Through new technology (e.g. a bar code scanner in place of a manual code entering system)
  • Allocation of numbers (either via an automated computer screen as is the case now in many businesses such as banks, government departments and also more recently in larger department stores). In supermarkets you still queue at the Deli section by taking a numbered ticket and waiting in line until your number is called).
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Books
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