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Sharing Operations and Visitor Experience insight

UK-wide study of visitor experience practice provides new benchmarks for cultural and visitor attractions

BOP Consulting and the VE:Forum are proud to launch the results of their first study on Operational and Visitor Experience management practices in museums, galleries and visitor attractions across the UK.

The aim of the research is to provide insights to inform the strategic decision-making process within organisations, as well as to provide some striking headlines about the sector to a wider audience.

Engaging with more than 140 organisations across the UK, the study analysed the approaches adopted by visitor experience and operational departments in delivering human resources management, professional development, a range of business models, visitor satisfaction monitoring, as well as identifying challenges faced by these organisations.

Our main findings included:

  • Supporting workforce – Museums, galleries and visitor attractions are keen to support their workforce: the majority (74%) pay Living Wage for all employees in Visitor Experience departments. Similarly, a large proportion of respondents (68%) attended some form of training in the past 12 months, despite the financial pressure of this on their department budgets
  • Organisational challenges – Organisations feel that staff retention and changes in the wider social-political landscape are the most significant challenges they are facing around human resource management in their department. When thinking about the wider organisation, staff costs and meeting visitors’ expectations were also highlighted
  • Entrepreneurialism – The majority of organisations surveyed relied on a diverse range of income streams and adopted dynamic business models. On average, income from commercial activities matched the income from admissions, accounting for 37% and 38%, respectively
  • Managing admissions and visitor relationships – 80% of organisations surveyed had some form of paid-for entry, with 79% operated a membership or annual pass scheme. Yet, over a third of respondents do not have any CRM system for managing visitor relationships and, of those who did, less than half said they were happy with the system they had.

The data gathered through this study, enriched by a series of interviews with professionals from the sector, is brought together in The VE:Forum Ticketing/ CRM Systems Guide. The guide, produced in collaboration with Indigo Consulting, has been designed to act as a starting point for any museum, gallery or visitor attraction looking to evaluate their existing system or explore the possibility of investing in a new one.

BOP and Indigo Consulting are proud supporters of the VE:Forum and have undertaken this research on a pro-bono basis.

Results from the Operational and Visitor Experience Benchmarking 2019 available here.

The VE:Forum Ticketing/ CRM Systems Guide available here.

For more on BOP’s research see here.

If you would like to be part of next year’s benchmarking, please get in touch with the VE:Forum.

- Marta Moretto, Senior Researcher