Nearly 200 zoo and aquarium professionals joined a Species360 webinar held late last month, to see new research regarding visitor expectations in Europe. A panel discussion followed, with leaders from aquarium institutions.
In the Species360-hosted webinar, Future of Aquariums / Europe, experts Colleen Dillenschneider and Jim Hekkers of Impacts Experience shared a look at the changing role of aquariums in conservation, education, and more. Impacts Experience works with leading aquariums, zoos, museums, and other institutions to develop business and audience engagement strategies based on actionable data.
What did the research show? According to Colleen, visitors say aquariums’ conservation action will play a key role in their growth and recovery.
European aquariums are increasingly perceived as being trusted, admired, and as conservation organizations. This is reason for optimism, as research shows the perception of conservation roles will help drive attendance and recovery.– Colleen Dillenschneider, Chief Market Engagement Officer, IMPACTS Experience
Digital Content: “We are beyond our walls.”
Research also shows that aquariums expanded their reach and influence as visitors turned to digital content during pandemic closures. This, says Hekkers, has been a step forward for institutions that have wanted to expand their educational and thought leadership impact beyond their immediate walls.
More people are engaging digitally than in person. We are beyond our walls. The visitor experience is both, what happens on site and online. (The online presence) is a critical element with huge implications to what kind of resources we deploy.– Jim Hekkers, Chief Strategy Officer, IMPACTS Experience
Far from its origins as a marketing tool, online content stems from husbandry, aquatic, population management, and education teams. The focus: animals and enclosures; how we take care of them; what endangered species are there; and what our animal care teams are doing.
To learn more about these findings and many more, watch the full webinar here.
North America Webinar: Visitor research shows a “unique moment in time”
Watch the earlier Species360 Future Aquarium Trends webinar to see similar research conducted in North America, followed by a panel discussion with aquarium leaders. The key take-away, said Hekkers, is that this is a unique moment in time – one in which we are experiencing a sharp rise in visitor trust.