attraction visitors fail to install apps

7 practical reasons attraction visitors fail to install apps

Currently, there are still many attractions that don’t offer a visitor app. If you haven’t already gone down the road of commissioning an app for your attraction, there’ll undoubtedly be things you’ll want to clarify. This is particularly the case if you’re trying to work out if an app for your attraction is appropriate and will add value. It’s a complex area, and getting a grip on a suitable solution can be pretty difficult. And something many app companies won’t discuss is why attraction visitors fail to install apps? It’s what is discussed below:

With regard to mobile apps, it’s fair to say we all know what mobile apps are. Significant amounts of us have installed banking apps and use them daily. And we can all certainly appreciate their value. But as individuals, I think it’s right to say that we’re all fairly selective in what we install. App installation is certainly not a foregone conclusion. The single most important question is whether visitors would install your attraction’s app?

Single-visit attractions

It’s a fact that many attractions receive only a single visit. This point is often overlooked, and this has a direct bearing on rates of visitor app installation. Generally speaking, the chances of visitors travelling from afar and making repeat visits are slim. This is particularly true for heritage type attractions.

To elaborate, perhaps someone has a keen interest in history, and they love visiting castles, museums or cathedrals for instance. Usually they’ll want to see your attraction site and exhibits, and also learn about the history (and take photos). But subsequently they’ll want to visit the next historic attraction on their bucket list. Let’s face it, we’re certainly not spoilt for choice here in the UK. So, for this type of visitor, there are critical issues that influence rates of app installation:

Critical issues for visitor attractions

Firstly, traditional apps come with security risks. Secondly, there are always concerns about permissions granted when you install an app. Thirdly, mobile users always worry about memory usage, particularly if using iPhones where memory is expensive. Fourth, visitors are aware that installation of an app could open the door to aggressive messaging and upselling from your attraction. Fifth, there’s the issue of third-party data sharing. Sixth, visitors may be worried about the risk of data breaches through your organisation. Seventh, intensive battery consumption due to visitor tracking running within these types of app can be an issue. In the face of all this, you can see why attraction visitors fail to install apps.

Obviously for your visitors, installation may just be too much hassle for only a single app use! (Note – this relates to traditional apps, and/or visitor personalisation and tracking apps). So, the above seven points are highly relevant reasons.

Aggressive intrusion

What many app vendors push in their sales patter is the Return On Investment (ROI) that their mobile app model yields. Claims of increased sales for merchandise, food and drink achieved through personalisation is the norm. But the reality is that many visitors really don’t want this type of experience, finding it aggressively intrusive.

The question you have to ask yourself as an attraction manager is whether this operational mode fits within your attraction’s ethos? Our own view is that visitors should have access to high quality information. This aids information delivery and enjoyment at the venue. But visitors shouldn’t be hounded to distraction.

The other factor to consider before ordering your app, is the sort of cost regime your attraction could support? Many attraction app vendors need to hook you into a high annual fee, some of which can really hit your bottom line. There are app development companies out there charging anything from £15,000 to £50,000 (UK) a year – that’s every year, not just once. You have to weigh-up if this sort of annual spend would be better allocated to marketing or additional staff.


As app developers, we specifically steer clear of heavy duty personalisation and upselling. It’s important to recognise that the visitors are also guests, they shouldn’t be regarded as money-on-the-hoof. Understandably, their leisure time is precious to them, and they certainly don’t welcome unsolicited intrusion. You’d probably feel exactly the same in a similar situation. It’s goes a long way to explaining why attraction visitors fail to install apps.

attraction visitors fail to install apps

The allure of visitor tracking

Visitor attraction operations or marketing managers can be enticed by the allure of visitor micro-analysis. This is all made possible with personalisation type apps. Being able to track your visitors from the moment they arrive, until departure. Additionally providing spending analysis (so long as the app was installed?). Possibly also supporting jump-the-queue ticketing, which can be a source of annoyance to those already in the queue. Operationally, bottleneck reduction is a better solution!

Why attraction visitors fail to install apps

For many of the smaller scale visitor attractions, ‘upselling‘ enabled apps can be a sledge-hammer-to-crack-a-nut. They can prove overwhelming for visitors, and just too expensive for attractions, to be viable in the long term. Functionality is heavily geared towards guest tracking and upselling. The emphasis on providing rich experiential information undeniably takes a back seat. So the reasons why attraction visitors fail to install apps are manyfold. People are fickle, ultimately they avoid hassle, especially when they want to relax during their precious leisure time. Don’t automatically assume app installation, it’s important to make app loading frictionless.

Progressive web apps

The apps we create at App Studio UX for visitor attractions are Progressive Web Apps. These take advantage of your phone browser capabilities using HTML5, CSS and JavaScript. They install simply and quickly from a QR code or URL into a new tab within your phone browser. These are easily closed or left open for further viewing at the end of the guest visit. Within the apps we build, there’s no requirement from guests for email addresses, passwords, or logins of any kind. The function is to provide high quality information – not to attempt to abstract it from visitors!

Our mobile apps aren’t rebadge templates apps, instead we build apps specifically for your attraction from the ground-up. We particularly concentrate on the visual aesthetic of information delivery.

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