our main source of income, split between admissions, the café,
the souvenir shop and the second hand bookshop. Visitor numbers have
fluctuated over the past four years, and were down 8.5% in 2013, but
still over 27,000. Our forecast for 2014 is 28,500 visitors.
It is essential
that we reverse the fluctuating trend of the last four years and grow
our numbers by effecting audience centred processes. Our aim is to
attract 36,500 visitors a year, by 2018, in order to guarantee and
maintain a reliable source of visitor income. In order to increase
visitor numbers we must review and improve our marketing efforts. We
have not carried out any market research recently and our
understanding of our current audiences, their reasons for visiting
and their expectations, is minimal. We need to invest significant
time and effort in improving our market intelligence, analysing the
scope for developing our audiences and improving the way we
communicate with them.
We are currently
undertaking surveys of potential and existing users. We are updating
our website to create a better experience for all users.
We tailor certain
open days to different age groups, focusing on different
entertainment or educational themes, such as Days out with
Thomas, and Evacuees Day for schools. From 2015 we will
be exploiting opportunities arising from the new National Curriculum
introduced in September 2014.
We have a very
wide range of visitors, some from a 100 mile radius, some from the
village that we are located in. Visitors vary from steam enthusiasts,
to school educational visits, to families enjoying a day out, and
even coach tours looking at film sites. Events that cater for the
steam enthusiast tend to attract users from a far greater radius.
Comments to staff
and comments left in the visitor books are on the whole
complimentary. We recently received a Certificate of Excellence from
Trip Advisor with 4 stars out of 5. We also monitor the feedback from
any offer sites that we may use and are always awarded very high
marks from our users. A sample of some of the comments received are:
The best preserved railway weve seen&ldots;..and weve
seen a few!! Excellent facilities & volunteers. Well done!
Chris Jackson, 17/9/2014
Visitor comment book
refreshing presentation of our great heritage. Wonderful work done
& being done by the cheerful & knowledgeable volunteers
John & Lynn Parks 20/6/2012
Visitor comment book
We had a
lovely afternoon, there was lots to see and do! My autistic son
enjoyed seeing a 'real' tank! For us adults it felt like walking down
memory lane and history coming to life!! Groupon customer