A good play space should form part of every visitor attraction to increase visitor numbers, dwell time and secondary spend, according to the findings of research by Proludic.

PROLUDIC spoke to 1,000 people to get their views about play facilities in the leisure sector. The main findings of the study showed that 60 per cent of the respondents believe a good playground for children is important when visiting a pub, holiday park or leisure attraction, while 65 per cent said a good play space should form part of every visitor attraction to keep children entertained. The research shows that play has pulling power. Just under half of all respondents would stay for longer if play provision was

addressed at leisure destinations, and one in three said they would be prepared to travel further to a destination if it offered a good play space. Play facilities can also help encourage repeat visits with almost half of those interviewed saying they would be more likely to return to a venue with good play facilities. Unsurprisingly, play is particularly important to families with 80 per cent of families indicating that they were more likely to be drawn to a leisure destination with a play space. The research showed there was also a

strong desire among grandparents (78 per cent), extended family (82 per cent) and those who have friends with children (72 per cent) for play provision.

Play in leisure settings means different things to different people. For families and those with close ties with children’s development, the provision of play means spending quality time together and away from digital devices such as smartphones and tablets. It’s also viewed as an opportunity for children to make friends. For others, play gives children the opportunity of spending time outdoors, expending energy and expressing themselves.

Three out of five respondents believe museums should provide more play facilities to allow children and their families to make the most out of their visit. The is just what the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm Museum in Somerset did. Following customer research, an outdoor bespoke play area was created to increase the museum’s appeal to families. Inspired by the HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier – the largest ship built by the Navy – the play space proved a hit with visitors helping to increase dwell time by 30 minutes and increasing spend in the café by 60p per head.

With staycations on the rise and more families choosing to holiday at home, well designed play areas can help leisure facilities and attractions to attract more visitors, increase dwell time, secondary spend as well as repeat visits. 38

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