London Zoo opened in 1828, from this time it has played an important role in the country’s interest in natural history. It was famous for its animal collections and it was the representative of the other zoos in UK. Visitor attendance levels are always the key points that managers concentrate on. There is a lot of evidence which shows that the visitor attendance level of London Zoo has declined for a long time. “By the early 1980s visitor levels were just over 1 million, and the budgeted 1995/96 attendance level was just 900000.” (Watt and Chambers,1995, p444) With the expansion of the road network and increased car ownership, people found going further for leisure activities was more interesting than going to the zoo. With the development of the economy, many zoos had been built in recent years. When customers want to go to the zoo, they have more choices than before. London Zoo was not the only choice of the customers any more. It needs to compete with all the competitors.
2. The problem
2.1 The significance of visitor attendance
How to increase the visitor numbers became one of the most crucial problems for the managers of London Zoo. Why is visitor attendance so significant for the zoo? The reasons are as follows: Firstly, operating a zoo needs money. There are a lot of expenses on operating a zoo, especially a big famous zoo, such as the workers’ wages, the maintenance of equipments, the daily costs of animals and other expenses. The visitors’ tickets fees take a big part of the income of the zoo. If the visitor attendance declined, it will lead to the reduction of income which will result in the low quality of service and less quantity of animal collections. Secondly, visitors themselves are the best advertisements of the zoo. After the visitors took a trip in the zoo, they will share this experience to their friends. It will bring many new visitors to the zoo, if the experience is good enough for the former visitors. In a word, visitor attendance level is a necessary aspect need to be improved for the London Zoo. Therefore, some strategies of operations management are helping the company to find and solve the problems and keeping competitive advantage, must to be adopted by senior managers in the company.
2.2 Analysis the problem
2.2.1 The method of analysis the problem
For a company, finding problems in time, analyzing and proposing the solution, to a certain extent will be helpful to the company's development. After the company found the disadvantage they want to improve, operation management has to be formulated, providing some function models that support the company improvements. Take London Zoo as an example, the problem is how to increase the number of visitors. The first step for London Zoo is to find the reason for low attendance. The managers have already collected the survey questionnaires from the visitors in order to realize two basic issues: “the first is to discover how the zoo performs with respect to the service it provides, and the second is to ensure that it is delivering the services that the customers want”. (Watt and Chambers, 1995, p447) The organization of the items in the questionnaire depends on the “18 determinants of service quality” which are access, aesthetics, attentiveness and helpfulness, availability, care, cleanliness and tidiness, comfort, commitment, communication, competence, courtesy, flexibility, friendliness, functionality, integrity, reliability, responsiveness and security, respectively . (Watt and Chambers, 1995,p452)There are two sections in the questionnaire, performance and priority. In the performance section, visitors give the points from 1 to 5 in each item according to the perception they have experienced, the higher the better. In the priority section, visitors give the points from 1 to 5 in each item according to importance of this item, in which the higher the more important. After calculating and analyzing the collection...