Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Full steam ahead for mail rail as plans get green light

Mail Rail
On Monday 10 March Islington Borough Council approved the British Postal Museum & Archive’s planning application to develop a stretch of the old Post Office Underground Railway – Mail Rail – into a unique subterranean ride.

The decision means that visitors to the newly created Postal Museum, due to open in central London in 2016, will be given the opportunity to explore the hidden world of this railway under Mount Pleasant through an engaging exhibition and interactive ride. In total, visitors will be taken through 1km of the original tunnels, following the same route that much of the nation’s mail took for nearly 80 years from 1927-2003.

The Mail Rail ride is part of a much larger project that the BPMA is undertaking to reveal the extraordinary stories of British social, communications and design history through the universally iconic postal service. By opening up almost 400 years of records and objects from the reign of King Charles I to the present day, The Postal Museum will reveal unusual and exciting episodes from British history. It will showcase curious items including a first edition of James Joyce’s Ulysses, original evidence from the Great Train Robbery trial, a Victoria Cross and flintlock pistols used to defend Mail Coaches in the 19th Century.

Adrian Steel, Director of the BPMA commented, “It is fantastic that Islington Borough Council has given us the green light to open up these unique tunnels to the public and reveal the captivating story of Mail Rail. Making this exciting project a reality still requires a further £0.5m, but this is a major boost to our plans and for Islington’s, Camden’s and London’s heritage offer. We hope to launch a public appeal later this year, both in the local community and further afield, and look forward to welcoming our first visitors in 2016.”

The BPMA is currently waiting on the outcome of an application for £4.5m from the Heritage Lottery Fund. A decision is expected in May this year.


Sunday, 16 February 2014

Bristol Aerospace Centre

Concorde Alpha Foxtrot 216
Bristol is finally to have a proper home for Concorde Alpha Foxtrot 216 and the Bristol Aero Collection. See the article here

Monday, 23 December 2013

Effective websites

steps to a good website
Steps in Southwold
Take a look at Sarahinsuffolk's Blog for some reminders of what makes an effective website. Sarah's blog is focused on the clients of Suffolk Tourist Guide, Suffolk Hotels Guide and Suffolk Weddings Guide to help them understand what she calls 'the bewildering online world.' However, there are some real generic gems in her postings on what it takes to make websites and social media work effectively.

The Suffolk Guides have over 50,000 unique visitors a month so, as a practitioner and as someone running her own business, Sarah has a pretty shrewd idea about digital marketing and the online world.   

Sunday, 8 December 2013

New chairman for Welsh Highland Railway Heritage Group

NNick Booker Welsh Highland Railwayick Booker, a director of Attract Marketing has been appointed chairman of the Welsh Highland Railway Heritage Group (WHRHG). The Group with some 300 members, works closely with the Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways operating companies and other supporting organisations to conserve, preserve and restore the physical and documentary heritage of the Welsh Highland Railway and its predecessors. One of the Group's major projects current is the re-building of Tryfan Junction Station.

Friday, 29 November 2013

Coffee shops and cafés

tea room and cafe food
"How to run a coffee shop" is an excellent  website on setting up and running a coffee shop.  It might be a sales web site for selling courses but there are some really useful nuggets on what you - museum, attraction, heritage site, gallery  or whatever -  should be doing and not doing  - in operations and marketing.

Thoroughly recommended even if you are making a complete success of your catering, tearoom, café etc. Allied with the Association of Independent Museums' pdf download on running Successful Museum Cafés, how can you fail? 

Monday, 18 November 2013

Trends for Museum Cafés to look at?

museum cafes
Not just a frothy drink
As the UK coffee shop market continues to grow, brands are searching for ways to stand out from the competition and meet consumers’ rising expectations says consultancy Pragma following research published in Marketing Week in August this year.
Coffee chains are struggling to encourage brand loyalty among consumers as convenience becomes an increasingly important factors.

As museum cafés attempt to become destinations and stand out from the crowd and the V&A's campaign from 1988  is still remembered by some  - 'Where else do they give you £100,000,000 worth of objets d'art free with every egg salad?; V & A an ace caff with quite a nice museum attached' - there may be some lessons here in this research. For example the research shows that ‘milky’ varieties of coffee such as cappuccinos and flat whites are the most popular with 47 per cent of drinkers selecting this category as their favourite. ‘Full strength’ is second with 29 per cent while ‘cold speciality’ drinks like frappucinos are third with 6 per cent. According to the study, nearly half of those who prefer milky coffees say they find this variety ‘comforting’.

See more at Brewing up plans to beat the competition


Friday, 30 August 2013

Mobile messaging and the tourist industry

Hiker and mobile phone
Hiker receiving a text
According to research commissioned by Text Local, one of the UK's leading mobile messaging companies, almost 1,000,000 mobile phone users across the UK want to hear from a travel company once a month.  
Opportunity: There are 4.74 million mobile users across the UK that would welcome communications from travel companies. By 2015, that number will increase to 5.2 million.
The number of opt-ins on a smartphone will increase from 2.7 million to 4 million over the same timeframe.
CRM key stats: Males account for 58.1%of opt-ins. In total. 1.71million opt-ins in the UK would want to hear from a travel company more than once a month. The demographic most likely to opt-in is the 35-44 year olds. 
Around the UK: The south of England (West Country, Meridian and London) will account for 1.59 million opt-ins. Of these opt-ins, 948,119 would want to hear from travel companies once a month or more.
Text Local say that the travel and tourism industry is seeing a huge increase in profitability through mobile messaging, due to its powerful viral capabilities. Ticket sales often come from friends and family who have been forwarded an SMS text. Sending e-tickets mobile vouchers and coupons via text – all with bar codes for data capture -  ‘is a perfect medium for this sector removing the need for expensive printing and postage.’
Attractions, tour operators and travel agents can then build up an ever growing database from customers opting-in to receive offers and information, 'there’s no better channel to get the message across than mobile.' And it can be used for research, sending web links etc