Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Millionth Visitor Mosaic | The Herbert

Millionth Visitor Mosaic The Herbert

The Herbert at Coventry celebrates its 1,000,000th visitor with an amazing mosaic of Sir Alfred Herbert the eponymous benefactor and machine tool magnate. See here to see how the mosaic is made up of individual images.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Book Review - Aviation and Tourism: Implications for Leisure Travel

copyright Dan Zelazo
Current interest in Boris Johnson's (and Lord Foster's) ideas for a new London airport prompted me to dig out my review of Aviation and Tourism: Implications for Leisure Travel.

Reading this densely packed compilation of studies of the relation between aviation and tourism, I pondered on the intended readership. The editors say that they '...continue to be surprised at the failure of academia, government, industry and other stakeholders to fully recognise and appreciate the close and complex relationships which exist between aviation and tourism, particularly when leisure travel is concerned.' This motivated them to get '26 distinguished experts ' to contribute.

All those stakeholders have plenty on their desks to contemplate; ranging from the third runway at Heathrow, the future economics of the airline sector, and energy prices, while the tourism industry itself is under severe pressure and all this within the scenario of the cliché of the credit crunch - help!

Trying to read this book in one go is not for the faint hearted. There is a great deal of detail and the sheer scale of the attempted reach of the book is slightly intimidating. My own review copy is annotated with pencilled remarks and has a liberal profusion of 'post it notes' for future reference. So who is the book for? It provides a useful single source for those wanting either an overall view or others needing the detail of aspects of a particular theme.

The book is well structured starting with a brief over view and followed by seven parts covering leisure travel demand, regulation, airline issues, the implications for airports, economic and environmental impacts and some destination case studies followed by a round up of conclusions, themes and future issues. Separate papers within each section look at aspects of the main theme.

So, this book is perhaps essential reading for both students and for those who have difficult decisions to make on the future strategy of the aviation and tourism sector.

Review written by Nick Booker, Attract Marketing director and originally published in the Tourism Society's quarterly Journal

Aviation and Tourism: Implications for Leisure Travel

Credit(s): Anne Graham, Andreas Papatheodorou and Peter Forsyth

Publisher's name, year of publication: Ashgate Publishing Ltd 2008

ISBN: 978-0-7546-7189-9

Number of pages: 377

Friday, 25 November 2011

Museum Volunteering - Archive Crew have history on their hands

A vigorous volunteers' programme is a sine qua non for most small attractions and museums. The Pembroke Dock Sunderland Trust that set up and run the Flying Boat Centre in Pembrokeshire is a good example as a recent press release demonstrates.

Pembroke Dock’s 200 years of history is in excellent hands. For the past 12 months a dedicated team has been cataloguing, recording and conserving a remarkable and wide ranging collection - covering so many facets of a community with a proud military and social history. They are members of the ‘Archive Crew’ at the Pembroke Dock Sunderland Trust’s Archive Centre, currently located in the town’s historic Market Building.
Under the guidance of Archive Manager and Curator Dave Pring they have, in the first year of operation, worked on over 12,000 items, from photographs and documents to uniforms, aircraft equipment and ships models. Items from the Haven Sunderland flying boat, serial T9044, are among the artefacts.

“It is a remarkable collection and we have only really scratched the surface,” said Dave, an IT specialist and qualified trainer. “The Pembroke Dock Collection includes important individual collections and those from service organisations and the town’s Museum Trust. It is hugely significant nationally and internationally as well, as we are constantly reminded as we receive many enquiries and requests from all over the world. Tracing family history is a major area of interest here.”

Dave and his team of 12 volunteers estimate that they have a 20 year project ahead of them, as new artefacts and material come to the Centre all the time. The archiving and recording work being carried for the Sunderland Trust is recognised as achieving the highest standards in Wales and the skills being taught to the band of volunteers is likewise of the top order.
“The team is hugely enthusiastic and developing so many skills,” added Dave. “Some of the team also volunteer at the very popular Flying Boat Centre and the Trust is fortunate to have so many committed volunteers.”

* New volunteers are welcome and should get in contact with the Sunderland Trust (01646 623425) or PAVS.

The Sunderland Trust Archive Crew came together to mark the first successful year of operation. Pictured are, left to right: Back row: Judith Davies and Glynnis Iles (Sunderland Trust Project Team); Iona Thomas, Trish Pritchard, Mary Meldrum, Barry Clark, Kay Hancock, Margaret Clark, Pari Taheran, Chris Howell. Front row: Malcolm Miles, Tony Craney, Dave Pring and Colin Hancock.

PICTURE: Sunderland Trust.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Dan Snow dives in on wartime history

Dan Snow and Nick Hammond by Boxbrownie3
Dan Snow and Nick Hammond, a photo by Boxbrownie3 on Flickr.
National exposure for Attract client, The Flying Boat Centre aka Pembroke Dock Sunderland Trust. Press/Public Relations is a low cost way of raising profile for small attractions on tight budgets but it requires well written press releases, good stories, persistence and an up to date circulation list. John Evans the Project Manager at PDST is an exemplar - not only an expert on all things to do with flying boats but also knows how to write good copy

Television presenter Dan Snow has taken the plunge on an unique aviation survivor in Pembrokeshire.

In challenging diving conditions, Dan joined members of the Pembroke Dock Sunderland Trust Dive Group to explore the wartime Sunderland flying boat which sank off the town 70 years ago.

He was filmed on the Sunderland - together with the Dive Group’s Nick Hammond - and the film will be shown on the BBC One prime time evening programme The One Show in September.

A film crew from 360 Production spent two days in Pembroke Dock. As well as diving on Sunderland T9044 - from the dive boat ‘Blue Thunder’ - they filmed at the Flying Boat Centre where Dan interviewed Wing Commander Derek Martin, Patron of the Sunderland Trust. In September 1940, just weeks before it sank, Wing Commander Martin flew T9044.

“Dan was amazed at what is left of our Sunderland,” said Nick Hammond, whose rediscovery of the wreck over ten years ago has led to the recovery of so many items from it.

“As so often when we dive on T9044, the conditions were difficult but Dan got a close view on part of the wreck and the cameraman had some good footage. We can’t wait to see The One Show programme.”

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Anniversaries in 1912

Here's another anniversary for museums and attractions to consider for events next year - slightly tongue in cheek. It's apparently the 100th anniversary of sand dredging in the Bristol Channel on the 13th June 1912. We know that as Peter Gosson has just published a book on the subject and it's in two volumes and published by Amberley Publishing. So museums along the Bristol Channel Coast with links to maritime history, ships, shipbuilding construction etc could stage an exhibition. Charles Hill & Son, the ship builders located in Bristol Docks until the late 1960s, built many of the dredgers. If nothing else its the opportunity for museum shops to sell a few books.
Bristol Channel Dredger in the Avon Gorge

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Battle of Naseby Visitor Centre - planning permission granted

Battle of Naseby Re-enactment at Kelmarsh

Battle of Naseby Visitor Centre

The Naseby Battlefield Project gained outline permission on 20 July 2011, to build a ‘Living History’ Visitor Centre just to the south of the registered battlefield that played a key part in the English Civil War. Daventry District Council Planning Committee rejected the recommendation of the planning officer that it should be turned down on the grounds that the setting of the battlefield would be adversely affected and that greenfield development was contrary to planning policy.

At the Planning Meeting, Lord Naseby, a long time supporter of the project advocated the Battlefield Project’s view that the structure would be concealed from sight from the battlefield itself and that the value of this heritage asset would be enhanced. The question of sustainability had been answered by the submission of a business plan based upon the Feasibility Study completed in 2009 by Attract Marketing Ltd which concluded the centre will be economically viable. Lord Naseby was supported by Cllr Chris Millar, who is both Leader of the District Council and represents a constituency including Naseby on the County Council. The importance of the battle was recognised by all speakers and the contribution to the economic and heritage well-being of the county and the country was cited as a basis for setting aside the view of the planning officer. The application was approved by eleven votes to one.

Work will now start on the detailed planning of the building, its content and the thirty-six acre site pledged to the charity by a small group of supporters. The raising of funds to discharge their loans and transfer control of the land to the Project is an immediate priority.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Dark Tourism

'Dark tourism is the act of travel and visitation to sites, attractions and exhibitions which have real or recreated death, suffering or the seemingly macabre as a main theme.' Stone P.R (2005).

The Dark Tourism Forum was launched in 2005 and has become 'the premier online Academic Research Facility for the subject of dark tourism', it says on its web site. The Dark Tourism Forum is a collaborative project, led by the University of Central Lancashire, between various Partner Institutions and Industry Partners, and is supported by both The Tourism Society and Springboard UK. Part of the following blog note is based on some the site's content

As the Dark Tourism web site says 'Most tourists to battlefields are interested in seeing history made “real”...For some veterans of war, returning to battlefields or battle memorials may provide the opportunity to reach closure on a tragic period of life. The fascination with war in all aspects is seen for example in the long history of visits to battlefields of World War 1 and the beautifully maintained cemeteries of the fallen.

Anyone who has visited a Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery such as the one at Souda Bay in Crete cannot fail to be moved by the juxtaposition of the beauty of the location with the tragedy of the loss of life and the sometimes emotional comments in the visitors book. There is an intense feeling of experience at such sites. Lives were lost on the ground the visitor is standing on. Tour operators who plan and lead battlefield tours rarely see a tourist who is seeking a morbid experience. Rather, battlefield tourists are filled with respect for the dead who fought a valiant battle.

More at The Dark Tourism Forum and an illustration of battlefield re-enactment - another example of Dark Tourism here on Youtube - this has had 51,000 plus views since posting - for a simple animation

Attract has undertaken a number of projects related to 'Dark Tourism' centred around battlefields and other military related attractions.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Creating sustainable tourism

Pembrokeshire’s Bluestone National Park Resort has been named the overall national Example of Excellence in the Rural Action category during Business in the Community’s annual responsible business awards, the 2011 Awards for Excellence.

Following on from their ‘Big Tick’ win at the Welsh awards event in June, Bluestone beat off stiff competition from organisations across the UK including EDF Energy and Milklink to win the accolade.

Bluestone’s award winning initiative is believed to be a world first for the leisure industry. Their landmark leisure attraction, the Blue Lagoon, is heated from biomass energy that comes from crops grown by local farmers. This partnership with Pembrokeshire’s farming community invests in the local economy and reduces the resort’s carbon footprint. This award winning initiative was recognised by judges for having ‘sustainability at its very heart’, and for the courageous approach with which the business supports the region’s rural economy.

William McNamara, founder and managing director of Bluestone, said: “This is a proud day for us. We set out to establish Bluestone as an environmentally sustainable business working with our local community. Just three years after we opened Bluestone, we have achieved national recognition for our work. But we have much more to do and being named as a national ‘Example of Excellence’ will drive us forward to achieve much more.”

See more on the award at the BITC site here

William McNamara is also chair of Attract Marketing client, the Pembroke Dock Sunderland Trust that with support from the Welsh Government and others including the Milford Haven Port Authority and Chevron has set up the Flying Boat Interpretation Centre and Workshop within the old Royal Dockyard and that now attracts many thousands of visitors since its opening in 2009. The Trust is leading initiatives to create a major visitor attraction and museum which will reflect the remarkable military heritage and the social development of Pembroke Dock over the last 200 years. Plans centre on the beautifully restored Garrison Chapel, dating from 1830, and one of the most significant military buildings in Wales.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Marketing, Event and Exhibition Opportunities in 2012

2012 is the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, the bi-centenary of the birth of Charles Dickens, the year of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Cultural Olympiad and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and there is whole host of other anniversaries and events. So there are great opportunities for visitor attractions to refresh and develop their visitor offer and develop relevant shows, events and exhibitions around these activities and anniversaries given suitable research and interpretation even on modest budgets.Ideas for Writers has a free download for January 2012 here of anniversaries and will also sell you a book for the whole year!.  The only thing to be aware of particularly with the Olympic Games is the question of copyright and use of logos and combinations of words. For those hoping to do something around the Olympic Games attention is drawn to the official Olympic Games website here

To discuss how Attract Marketing can help you  in developing, planning and implementing interpretation themes, ideas, events, festivals and exhibitions please contact Nick Booker at Attract Marketing on +44 (0)1926 864900 or drop us an email - see the right hand column
Charles Dickens, Titanic, Queen's Diamond Jubilee - 2012

Thursday, 30 June 2011

New award for Attract client

Canterbury for Culture Award
Attract client, the Canterbury Westgate Towers has won the inaugural Canterbury for Cultural Landscape Award, an award given to a cultural organisation, group or individual making a significant positive impact to Canterbury's environment, architecture or public space.

Interpretation initiatives include turning the Westgate Gaoler's diary into wallpaper which has been put in the gents - Charles Lambie, Westgate Towers' custodian and operator is now worried that visitors will stay seated on the Thomas Crapper toilets for too long reading the news from 1798!
The official opening is the end of July with the next few weeks spent finalizing the opening offer. However from July 1st accompanied tours and familiarization visits through the newly connected 1830 Gaol and café space are on offer.

It's believed that Westgate Towers is the first scheduled ancient monument to reopen under a public /private initiative under the current climate of public spending cuts.

Dunstan, the Westgate Towers' mascot

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Museum & Heritage Show May 2011 - Design & Interpretation – That Won’t Cost the Earth

The Enchanted Palace

Presented by Dr Joanna Marschner, Senior Curator, Historic Royal Palaces

Following the death of Princess Margaret, the Queen bequeathed 30 rooms and 3 gardens to Historic Royal Palaces. This meant lots of the valuable paintings and other objects had to be stored away for safe-keeping during the restoration and building works, and only State Apartments remained open, but largely empty. But restoration meant there was an opportunity to install things like a lift and other modern facilities in the palace which had not been possible before (budget £12m).

Main assets were felt to be the local community, the workforce and the collections. Because of the nature of the ongoing work, a route around the museum would change over the period of the restoration, so they decided to work with that, and look for something that would make this unimportant.

Dr Marschner discovered a company based in Cornwall, Wildworks, who she worked with to create a magical transformation. From their website, here:

“Independent charity Historic Royal Palaces is undertaking a £12 million major project called 'Welcome to Kensington – a palace for everyone' to transform and re-present Kensington Palace by 2012.

While this work is being carried out, the charity has invited us to cast a WILDWORKS spell over the palace, creating a mysterious and atmospheric world for visitors to explore, and bringing the hidden stories of the historic royal residence dramatically to life.

In the sumptuous State Apartments, leading fashion designers Vivienne Westwood, William Tempest, Stephen Jones, Boudicca, Aminaka Wilmont and illustrator / set designer Echo Morgan, will each create spectacular installations in collaboration with WILDWORKS artists, taking inspiration from Kensington Palace and the princesses who once lived there - Mary, Anne, Caroline, Charlotte, Victoria, Margaret and Diana.”

They discovered that the room warders were a wonderful resource, mostly desperate (46 out of 50 staff) to talk to visitors. Two or three professional actors worked with the front of house team, along with range of artists and designers on the project. FOH team (no w called Expert Explainers) were involved from the beginning, given voice coaching, acting training and all the palace community were involved in making things, and telling stories. Audio guides are now not used, as staff are highly motivated and involved, and have blossomed as lots of hidden talents emerged.

This approach has broken all targets, with significant audiences of 24-34 yrs, those families with young children, and other groups who never normally visit – ie has reached out to more audiences than before. Have been open in the evening for first time, getting 700 people (this year on 3 Fridays in May, June, July and Peter the Wild Boy’s Ball in August).

Response from visitors has been polarized with 83% saying they really like it, 7% really didn’t like it, and 10% thinking it was ok. From 2012 she said it won’t be exactly the same, but they won’t revert to how it was before – will try to find out more.

The ‘Greeters’ have a policy of telling visitors that it will be different from anything they’ve seen before and give them the opportunity to not pay and come in to be disappointed. If a visitor has come to see a particular work of art eg a painting, they can be informed when it is due to be restored in the palace.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Refreshing the offer - Coming Of Age at the Ace Café

The Ace Cafe Exhibition - Coventry 

A good time was had by Attract at the launch of Coventry Transport Museum's new visiting exhibition - 'the story of the fashion, the bikes and the music that defined a generation' and (that) 'takes you on a journey through the history of the iconic Ace Café, its customers and what it meant to be a British teenager in the 1950s and 60s'.
It was opened by Dudley Sutton one of the stars of the film The Leather Boys and the evening featured live music from The Zodiacs Rock n Roll band, Rock n Roll dancing , the Antelope Motorcycle Club and the owner of the Ace Café Mark Wilsmore. We enjoyed Cafe-style dinner and drinks.
The exhibition is another simple example of how a museum can develop, target and appeal both to the older generation who may remember the Ace Café and tell a story that will appeal to a younger audience and bring in people who might otherwise not have visited the museum . There were certainly all sorts there on a June Thursday evening!
Coming of Age in Coventry

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Researching, Developing and Marketing Tourism Products

Speakers from Attract can offer the following content for conferences workshops, seminars and academic courses - all tailored to fit the audience

1. Tourism - Destination Marketing

 Marketing is one of the core functions of a destination manager. The module provides advice on adopting a strategic approach from the outset i.e. defining the product, market planning and targeting, identifying the right media and implementing campaigns.

  • A strategic approach to Destination Marketing
  • The product or what to take to market, including branding
  • Who to target
  • Routes to market – or how to reach the visitor
  • Marketing to business tourism organisations
  • Selecting the media mix
  • Case study

 2. Visitor attractions

This module looks at what constitutes an attraction, examines the general principles of developing an attraction, the focus of different kinds of attraction and in particular looks at attractions in the cultural and heritage tourism sector

  • Defining Cultural and Heritage tourism
  • Basic concepts - setting the scene
  • Feasibility studies and business planning
  • Audience Development Planning
  • Interpretation - developing themes and storylines
  • Access for all - physical and intellectual
  • Operational issues in visitor attractions
  • Case study - based on a visit to a local attraction and a workshop

3. Using market research techniques to help make the right decisions

This module looks at gathering and using data on which to make the right strategic decisions and how to use market research to monitor and evaluate performance.

  • Key elements of a successful research project
  • Developing the objectives of the research project
  • Primary and secondary research - differences and when to use
  • Quantitative and qualitative research – differences and when to use
  • Other techniques’ e.g. online, desk research, diaries, workshops, csultation
  • Ad hoc and on-going/continuous research
  • Evaluation of marketing activity
  • Planning and developing a brief
  • Case study


Somewhere worth leaving home for

Tourism is a key sector of the economy and for private and public sector operators, developers and investors it offers both opportunities and challenges.

New developments require careful market research and considered strategic planning. The viability of new leisure and tourism projects must be rigorously tested and there has to be a detailed appreciation of market conditions and of the planning and development contexts for all development. The constant theme that characterises the sector is the need to attract customers, maximise repeat visits and purchases and maintain or improve competitive positions.

Unfortunately, strategic planning for visitor attractions often has rather disjointed beginnings and issues of “secondary” importance, such as access, buildings, design and detailed planning frequently dominate discussion. However, the fundamental questions to be addressed are: “How will this visitor attraction work as a consumer proposition?” and “How can it be branded for success?”

Creating a visitor attraction that is sufficiently strong, differentiated and marketable is, in the long term, even more important than the key “front-end” questions of funding, investors and capital needs. It is not investors and public funding authorities who sustain a profitable operation but consumers. The return on investment depends ultimately not on buildings, but on individuals, seeking a visitor attraction experience.

A visitor attraction can be defined as “somewhere worth leaving home for”, and this is as relevant to a single museum or cathedral as it is to a tourist area or town. People make visitor attractions – the people who conceive them, the people who develop them, the people who manage them, but above all the people who visit.

In a successful attraction, the product on offer is the experience itself. Committing time to that experience must be rewarding for the individual; spending money on that experience must be worthwhile. In the experience economy, visitor attractions must constantly "reinvent" themselves to encourage repeat visits and survive. This economy of experience is about quality, service and choice – it is not about size. The successful product is about expectations, experiences and memories for individual consumers.

Ultimately, it is people that make visitor attractions successful, not buildings and infrastructure. Visitor attraction developers, owners and managers must always hold the consumer proposition and the visitor attraction brand firmly in mind when undertaking strategic planning.

Networking for Visitor Attractions - Group on LinkedIn

Visitor attractions have many common themes. problems and opportunities whether they are large or small, museums, theme parks, castles or heritage centres. The Visitor Attractions Group is a group for operators and suppliers of goods and services to share ideas, experiences and advice - joining as a LinkedIn member lets you share in discussions, networking and job opportunities.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Low cost ways of raising profile

Olwen the Sheep - Arriva's Explore Wales logo 
Attract's client, the Pembroke Dock Sunderland Trust which is developing the Flying Boat Centre based in the Royal Dockyard has got together with Arriva Trains and is being promoted on the company's Explore Wales Pass website. It's a win win for both organisations as Arriva builds its list of visitor attractions that can be visited by train to give the site better critical mass and the Flying Boat Centre builds profile not only on the web site but also on the Explore Wales' sites on Facebook, Twitter and Flickr giving inbound links to the Trust's web site here .
Explore Wales Facebook page
Explore Wales on Flickr

Friday, 20 May 2011

Adam & Joe Henson at Cotswold Farm Park

We have just set up a flickr group for Adam Henson's Cotswold Farm Park and also loaded pictures onto Attract's own flickr site. Yet another simple and cost effective way to provide inbound links and raise profile. All you need is some good photographs and a bit of time. The Cotswold Farm Park was set up by Joe Henson a pioneer of rare breed conservation, on Bemborough Farm, Guiting Power, near Kineton, Gloucestershire in 1971. The CFP is now a leading rare breeds tourist attraction attracting many visitors young and old and is now run by his son Adam Henson of BBC Countryfile  fame and his business partner Duncan Andrews.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Developing church trails - some notes and initial ideas

Church Trails

Britain is home to a wealth of ecclesiastical buildings rich in history and full of beauty and trails can help vistors and tourists to discover and explore some of the exciting and fascinating parish churches in rural areas.

Raising the profile of churches and chapels in rural areas benefits the economy of the villages in which they are located whilst helping those buildings to become more sustainable.

Church Tourism Programmes offer tourists and visitors the opportunity to travel between churches and to learn about and enjoy their history, culture and heritage.

A variety of trails of different length and demand is recommended so that visitors can plan a route suitable for the fit and active, children and the less active.

Cycle trails should be planned to avoid conflict between cyclists and walkers and cycle security points should be provided, in addition to car parking where practical.

Trails particularly accessible (but not exclusive) for those with special needs should be provided and highlighted although access for all wherever possible is a priority

The following represents a few examples of how to approach the development of a church trail but is not intended to be an exhaustive list.

In order to improve engagement and inclusivity interpretation should place the churches, their architecture, artefacts, memorials etc into their historical and cultural context – crossing cultures, crossing time etc.

Rural Church Trail Website

A website can provide information on the trail themes and stories, locations and routs and downloadable resources. Access to resources such as children's trail leaflets, interpretative maps and events programmes can also be made available

Church based circular walks and heritage trails

Walking activities can be developed themed for different audiences including children and families, curious minds based trails, nature trails and churchyard explorers.

Walking and Cycling trails

Short and long routes can link two or more churches using footpaths and cycle routes. Each trail would be designed to be walked either way and include links to public transport, pubs and restaurants and sites of interest.

Volunteer guided tours of participating churches and churchyards

Churches can offer guided tours at set times led by volunteers during weekend, holiday periods or linked to events.


Themed events linking participating churches such as art festivals, family activities, The Big Draw, religious festivals and saints' days.

Architecture and the built environment

Trails linked to architecture and building conservation. Conservation in action and archaeology projects that can be observed or participated in at participating churches.

God's Acre

Activities linked to exploring churchyards including nature trails, ecological surveys, famous monuments or grave stone inscription trails linked to local and national history and culture

Listening posts

Listening posts at strategic locations providing real authentic voices of local people telling their stories about the social and cultural importance of the church.

Rubbing plaques

Rubbing plaques at each church and a recording booklet. Collect a rubbing from each church to complete a full set.

Concluding comments

There are many other possible developments within a trail project that can provide activity and interest for the visitor which could include geo-caching, storytelling sessions, coach tours and photographic and art competitions. Particularly, special photo and painting viewpoints may be featured throughout the project.

Other aspects and activities that should be taken into account include:

  • Social networking for promoting trails and sites eg Flickr, Facebook etc
  • Smart Phone technology – e.g. mobile downloads/apps
  • GPS walking technology
  • Maps
  • View points/Points of interest /Photo opportunities
  • Picnic spots
  • Waymarkers
  • Timed trails
The aim should be to provide an exciting experience which enhances and enriches the visitor experience.

For more information on developing church trails and indeed trails for other buildings with themes please send an email to with 'Trails' in the subject line

Friday, 29 April 2011

Predicting visitor numbers

The nightmare for developers and promoters is a new theme park with the rides operating, the music playing but no visitors anywhere in sight; a new museum with the doors wide open but the galleries and halls empty of visitors. Imagine a newly opened restaurant, the staff all bright-eyed and eager but not one customer at the tables. Chilling visions for anyone who develops a visitor attraction or leisure venue in the belief that people will flock through the doors in numbers great enough to ensure success.

There are probably few if any cases where absolutely no one came to a new attraction, but one can think of any number where not enough people turned up and the attractions slowly faded away.An article written in 1999 by Rob Hall of Envirometrics in Australia addressed the issue of forecasting visitor numbers and it contained thought provoking comments and some useful principles for considering this knotty and difficult subject, even though written 12 years ago. It can be found here.

Carefully conducted surveys of the market,  rigorous profiling of the resident population within various drive times of the attraction,  combined with focus groups can give very useful indications of future market response. History has shown however that unless the sources of information are interpreted with skill, there is a high risk of expecting more visitors at the door than will actually arrive. It sometimes needs a strong minded consultant with a well argued case, to convince the client that he (or she) if not 'barking' then is at least being over optimistic!

Saturday, 8 January 2011

An Attract client's connection with King George VI and Colin Firth

The Clochfaen
The story of stammering British ruler George VI ruled at the Academy Awards this year , with "The King's Speech" winning Best Picture and taking Oscars for Best Actor Colin Firth, Best Director Tom Hooper and Best Original Screenplay for David Seidler.
The film tells the story of King George VI, played by Colin Firth,  his efforts to overcome his speech impediment with the aid of therapist Lionel Logue and his ascension to the throne following the abdication of his brother Edward VIII.

As the young Prince Albert, Duke of York or Bertie as he was known. served at the Battle of Jutland sometimes called “the greatest sea battle of all times” Yet illness dogged Prince Albert throughout the War, and in 1917 he spent three weeks convalescing at the Clochfaen, an Arts & Crafts country house then the centre of an estate of some 5,000 acres, in the upper Wye Valley on the edge of the village of Llangurig, near Llanidloes, Powys. See the full story at the BBC Wales site
The Clochfaen now set in some 20 acres, but with sporting rights over much of the original estate is owned by Kevin Hughes and James Stirk and the main house - Clochfaen - provides self catering accommodation for parties of up 18 people with access to to fly fishing and rough shooting in season. In addition there is a bed and breakfast business and two self catering cottages.

In late 2009 Attract worked with the owners of the Clochfaen on a marketing and business development plan for the houses and cottages focussing on generating more bookings through a variety of marketing interventions and channels.

For more information on the Clochfaen and how to stay there click here and for full details of The King's Speech and Colin Firth click here

Colin Firth in The King's Speech (copyright acknowledged to the copyright holder)