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The New Normal – What Entertainment Venues Need to Know about Consumer Priorities

Audience Perceptions Drive Event Venue Attendance in Covid Times

Flemington, NJ: Entertainment venues—part of the industries hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic—are yearning for consumers to return at pre-pandemic levels. Some of the most recognizable entertainment venues across the country will soon require proof of vaccination to enter their facilities. The entertainment and hospitality industry had been on the verge of returning to normalcy with tours kicking off and festivals happening across the country, but the delta variant has dampened that initial burst of excitement with cancellations and delays. HCD Research, a market research company, in collaboration with graduate student Michael Murphy of the Masters of Behavior and Decision Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania, sought to better understand consumer perceptions and priorities when it comes to being wooed back into venues.

People are eager to return, but how can venues attract consumers given health concerns? Which mitigation measures should nightclubs, movie theaters and the like utilize to attract consumers?

Using HCD’s MaxImplicit methodology (a combination of psychological and traditional survey techniques), revealed both the top consumer needs from venues, as well as the perceptions consumers have for different venues. Adding consumer clustering to the study’s analysis allowed the researchers to identify and profile three distinct consumer clusters: a diverse hesitant group, a conservative group, and a vaccinated liberal group.

The following recommendations are based on the research’s learnings:

  • Venues need to clearly highlight safety, cleanliness, and clear mitigation protocols (especially amusement parks, indoor bars/nightclubs, indoor concerts, sporting events, and multi-day festivals).

  • Popular mitigation protocols, such as contactless payment, may not be as effective at enticing consumers and building trust.

  • Venues should consider their audience when deciding which communications will be most effective and balance those communications across different consumer segments.

This research found that entertainment venues need to consider consumer perceptions, investing in COVID-19 protection measures, and targeting audiences with promotion efforts moving forward. As Murphy suggested, “while a ‘wait it out’ strategy might be appropriate for some contexts, COVID-19 does not appear to be one of them, meaning venues should proactively fine-tune their strategies.” For more information on this study, visit this link or contact Cara Silvestri (



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