Olympic crowds want to visit museums and theatres too, survey finds

Matthew Caines, 28.06.2012
Aka survey also finds that one in three visitors miss out on a performance they want to attend
Two thirds of visitors to London this year hope to visit a museum or theatre as part of their trip to the UK capital, a new audience survey has found.

Global entertainment marketing agency Aka surveyed 1,600 adults from across the UK about their attitudes towards London's culture and entertainment offering.

With London 2012 looming, the results reveal some eye-opening statistics for arts organisations hoping to target an estimated 5.8 million people set to visit the capital for the Olympic Games.

Two thirds (66.4%) "would like to go to a museum or experience London theatre" as part of their visit to London. It's a promising figure for arts organisations across the city, reinforcing the fact that venues need to be visible this summer if they are going to stand out as an option for the punters.

Offering what the crowds want is also vital. Programming was closely assessed by the Aka survey, which listed the five activities people were most likely to attend as rock or pop concerts (54% of those surveyed), stand-up comedy (52%), musicals (52%), historical exhibitions in museums (51%) and plays (46%).

The results also threw up some interesting numbers around missed performances – a third of those questioned admitted to missing an exhibition of performance in the last year.

Reasons included forgetting to buy tickets (25%), assuming that the exhibition or performance would be sold out (11%), time pressures (8%) and "having to be selective when spoiled for choice" (7%).

Arts organisations might want to take note – for the one in four people missing out because they forgot to buy a ticket, perhaps email, social reminders and more obvious ticket sales points (online and offline) could be an option.

And one in three missing out on a performance is an opportunity squandered in the current financial climate. Organisations need to be more active in reaching out and ensuring potential audiences don't miss out.

Matthew Caines leads on community and content for Guardian Culture Professionals Network and is on Twitter @mattcaines