Your Chance To Shine – Enter the Museums + Heritage Awards 2017

The Museums + Heritage Awards 2017 are now open for entry. Now in their 15th year these prestigious awards give all organisations, regardless of size and budget, the chance to be recognised and to be celebrated for the quality of their work.

Back for its second year is the free to enter Volunteer(s) of the Year Award in partnership with AIM and sponsored by BDRC Continental. This award is a fantastic opportunity to give your volunteers the recognition they deserve and has a very simple and free entry process.

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Deadline for entries is 1st February 2017 and once the deadline has passed the hundreds of entries will be whittled down to a shortlist by the esteemed panel of judges made up of seven sector leading lights.

With 11 categories, the awards generate very public recognition for the winners and shortlistees and have been instrumental in helping many to secure funding and support from key stakeholders. Award winners have also enjoyed recognition both locally and further afield as the awards increasingly gain an international profile.

The categories for the 2017 Awards include:

Temporary or Touring Exhibition

Educational Initiative sponsored by schoolzone

Project on a Limited Budget

Innovation sponsored by The Hub

Marketing Campaign sponsored by Volunteer Makers

Trading & Enterprise supported by ACE

Permanent Exhibition sponsored by Martello Media

International Award

Restoration or Conservation

Fundraisers of the Year

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The winners are announced at a glittering ceremony, where more than 300 industry professionals gather at the historic staterooms of 8 Northumberland Avenue in the heart of London to find out who has triumphed. As Anna Preedy, Awards Director, says “These awards really count as they are a direct endorsement by senior industry colleagues whose opinions matter”.

Hall of Fame, Entry Information and Entry Form can all be found on http://awards.museumsandheritage.com/

Deadline for entries – Monday 1 February 2017

Winner’s ceremony – Wednesday 17 May 2017, 8 Northumberland Avenue, London

 

 

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First Annual VisitorVerdict Members Forum This July

The first annual VisitorVerdict Members Forum will take place on 11 July at BMA House, Tavistock Square in London and will celebrate the widespread commitment to measuring and benchmarking museum visitor experience. The Members Forum offers subscribing museums the opportunity to ensure they get the most from the service.  BDRC, with the support of the Association of Independent Museums (AIM), are hosting the event which will include a mixture of talks, tutorials, insights and networking.

Attendees can expect a productive day learning and sharing best practice for data collection and analysis. Insights and issues will be brought to life with stories from fellow member museums, AIM staff, regional museum development officers and the VisitorVerdict team. “Too often museums conduct the hard work of collecting visitor research and analysis in isolation,” explained Max Clapham, the Client Services Director at BDRC Conteminetal. “The member’s forum is a unique platform for staff and volunteers with a common bond and shared experience to promote the evaluation they do and get real practical help that supports them on their journey.”

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The event will celebrate the widespread commitment to measuring and benchmarking museum visitor experience

VisitorVerdict Awards will be also announced over lunch to recognise some of the great work happening country-wide. This is an invitation only event for current VisitorVerdict subscribers, but museums signing up to the service between now and early July will also have the opportunity to attend for free. VisitorVerdict is now the UK’s foremost visitor survey and benchmarking service for small/medium sized visitor attractions and museums are using VisitorVerdict to prioritise investment, improve visitor experience, inform marketing messages and media, for staff and volunteer training, contractor briefing and to attract and retain sponsors and investors.

Find out more about the service at www.visitorverdict.com

 

 

Your chance to shine – Enter the Museums + Heritage Awards 2016

The Museums + Heritage Awards 2016 are now open for entry. Now in their 13th year, these prestigious awards give all organisations, regardless of size, the chance to be recognised and to be celebrated for the quality of their work.

Deadline for entries is 1st February 2016 and any museum, gallery or heritage visitor attraction can enter the awards. Whether large or small, well known or newly established, entrants are judged on their submissions and winners are diverse.

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Historic Royal Palaces in conjunction with Paul Cummins Ceramics, Temporary or Touring Exhibition Winner 2015

With 11 categories, the awards generate very public recognition for the winners and those shortlisted and the awards have been instrumental in helping many to secure funding and support from key stakeholders.

Award winners have also enjoyed recognition both locally and further afield as the awards increasingly gain an international profile. This year’s categories include a new ‘Fundraisers of the Year Award’ to help celebrate some of these often unsung heroes.

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Black Country Living Museum, Project on a Limited Budget Winner 2015

The other categories open for the 2016 Awards include:

Customer Service sponsored by BDRC Continental

Temporary or Touring Exhibition

Educational Initiative

Project on a Limited Budget

Innovation

Marketing Campaign sponsored by  Volunteer Makers

Trading & Enterprise

Permanent Exhibition sponsored by Martello Media

International Award

Restoration or Conservation sponsored by The Rochester Bridge Trust

Kingswood School's performance of Romeo and Juliet at the Roman Baths.

Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Educational Initiative Winner 2015

Anna Preedy, Awards Director, said: “It is hugely inspiring to see how this sector continues to overcome huge challenges and financial restraints with determination and enthusiasm and all without compromise to quality.”

For further information and details on how to apply, please visit:

www.museumsandheritage.com/awards

Deadline for entries – Monday 1 February 2016

Winner’s ceremony – Wednesday 18 May 2016, 8 Northumberland Avenue, London

Award Nomination for AIM VisitorVerdict

Since it was created in 2013, the AIM VisitorVerdict project has helped over 200 museums to understand their visitor experience, strengthen their marketing and improve their business planning thanks to feedback gathered via the online benchmarking dashboard. The project – which has been run in partnership with BDRC Continental – has recently been recognised for its innovative approach by the Market Research Society and has made it to the finals of the MRS Awards in the Public Policy/Social Research category with the overall winner to be announced on 7th December 2015.

This recognition of the value of AIM VisitorVerdict by the Market Research Society in these awards is great news for AIM, BDRC and for the independent museum sector and is testament to the positive impact that the project has had since it began. Over 30,000 people globally have now been notified via the MRS about the awards, which has helped to promote AIM VisitorVerdict to new users and to the wider research community. The Market Research Society has members in more than 60 countries and is the world’s leading research association representing 80% of research agencies who commit to, and are regulated by, the MRS Code of Conduct to ensure professional and ethical research of the highest standard of excellence.

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The Market Research Society has members in more than 60 countries and is the world’s leading research association

“These research industry awards recognise projects which are innovative, pioneering and most importantly of all, have made a major contribution to decision making within the organisations using the research,”  explained Steve Mills, Director of BDRC Continental. “The objective of AIM VisitorVerdict from the start has been to find a way to deliver, for the first time, affordable and consistent visitor insight to as many independent museums as possible helping them to place the visitor more at the heart of their organisations. Recognition in these awards is a real boost in our efforts to extend VisitorVerdict deeper into the independent museums sector and also wider into other sectors of the attractions industry.”

AIM VisitorVerdict has been used in museums across the UK by staff, volunteers and Trustees to create and send comprehensive questionnaires to thousands of visitors and the benchmarking results have helped both individual organisations and raised standards across the sector overall. With independent museums playing an increasing social role in the development of communities and stimulating local regeneration, AIM VisitorVerdict has become a valuable research tool to help museums understand their impact and visitor experience; reflecting the MRS awards mission to celebrate research’s ability to drive innovation, inspire change and deliver results.

Tamalie Newbery, Executive Director of AIM, has welcomed the news of the MRS awards saying, “AIM VisitorVerdict has provided an extremely beneficial research service to many AIM members over the past few years and we are delighted that it has been recognised by the Market Research Society. The Arts Council England funding that allowed the creation of the project has now ended, but AIM members can still take part by signing up and they will receive discounted rates. AIM actively encourages its members to take part for their own benefit but also to increase the benchmarking results for all museums now and in the future.”  

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Museums across the country – including Brunel’s SS Great Britain – have used AIM VisitorVerdict

For AIM member discounts and to find out more about AIM VisitorVerdict please visit

VisitorVerdict for AIM Members

More about the Marketing Research Society here:

MRS Awards Finalists

Sign up now for VisitorVerdict special rates

Now is an ideal time to sign up to  VisitorVerdict so that you can access the service at reduced rates. The service offers real-time results on a user friendly online dashboard and provides you with information about who visits your museum, why they are there, what they do on their visit – and crucially – what they think of their experience. The results you receive are given industry context by providing a benchmark against similar museums.

“VisitorVerdict is a fantastic way of generating quick, comprehensive and robust insight from your visitors at low cost and with minimal burden upon your staff and volunteers. The national benchmarking facility that also comes with it sets participants’ results into the sort of context that can speed up decision making within organisations and help them take more visitor-focussed decisions,” said Steve Mills, Director of BDRC Continental.

AIM Members that already participate in AIM VisitorVerdict will need to confirm their details before September 30th to register their interest in continuing with the service and to take advantage of the special early bird rates.

AIM members that are not yet participating can also sign up before September 30th for the service at discounted rates with annual prices starting at just £95 (plus VAT) and the friendly team at BDRC Continental who run the project on behalf of AIM will support you through each step. The main VisitorVerdict website can be found here:  VisitorVerdict for AIM members

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What do your visitors really think? Find out with AIM VisitorVerdict ( Photo credit: ss Great Britain)

What is VisitorVerdict?

The service offers real-time results on a user friendly online dashboard. The programme gives you information about who visits your museum, why they are there, what they do on their visit – and crucially – what they think of their experience. The results you receive are given industry context by providing a benchmark against similar museums.

Visitor Verdict can help independent museums in a number of ways by:

*Helping you to measure your visitor experience effectively and accurately

*Providing a useful and easy to use tool for gathering data for funding applications/annual reports

*Informing your marketing messages, pricing decisions and staff/volunteer training

*Attracting and retaining sponsors/funders

*Contributing to accreditation requirements

Still undecided about using VisitorVerdict? You can watch a short video that explains how to use the service

AIM VisitorVerdict: Discounted Rates until September 30 2015

Since October 2013, AIM in partnership with BDRC Continental, has run a free online visitor benchmarking survey service called AIM VisitorVerdict. This scheme has helped AIM members from across the UK to gain a better understanding of their visitors, with data from the visitor surveys generating insights which can help prioritise visitor experience improvements, support funding applications, inform marketing strategies and guide staff and volunteer training.

The Arts Council England funding for VisitorVerdict will end on September 30th 2015, but the service will still be available at heavily discounted rates to all AIM members thereafter. To take advantage of the service at special early bird 2015/16 rates for AIM members only, please complete a pro-forma that you can download here: VisitorVerdict for AIM Members

AIM Members that already participate in VisitorVerdict will need to confirm their details before September 30th to register their interest in continuing with VisitorVerdict and to take advantage of the special early bird rates. Please see the new VisitorVerdict website: VisitorVerdict for AIM Members

These rates start from just £95 + VAT. More details about the service can be found on the new VisitorVerdict website: www.visitorverdict.com

As participation in VisitorVerdict grows, the website will also act increasingly as a forum for sharing good practice and experience across the sector:

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The team at ss Great Britain have had great success with VisitorVerdict

What is VisitorVerdict?

VisitorVerdict has been developed using best practice from the well-known visitor attractions research programme, the ALVA Visitor Experience Benchmarking Survey.

VisitorVerdict offers real-time results on an easy-to-use online dashboard and gives you information about who visits your museum, why they are there, what they do on their visit – and crucially – what they think of their experience. The results you receive are given industry context by providing a benchmark against similar museums.

AIM members that have used VisitorVerdict have said:

Visitor Verdict is an invaluable tool to help any institution to better understand their visitors. The information it has provided us on retail use, for example, has directly led to changes in our product mix and shop layout.” Liam Tolhurst, Retail and Visitor Services Manager, ss Great Britain Trust

“Visitor Verdict is a no-brainer. We use it widely to support and endorse changes that improve the running of Didcot Railway Centre, from our seasonal pricing structure through to our retail service”. Ann Middleton, Commercial Manager, Didcot Railway Centre

“Visitor Verdict provides us with solid, timely information about our audience’s responses to all aspects of their visit and that gives us confidence to effect improvements to the visitor experience and provides clear guidance to trustees and staff on the areas on which we must focus.” Diane Clements, Director, The Library & Museum of Freemasonry

Contacts and Support

If you need any support or have any questions about VisitorVerdict, please contact:

Amy Randle (BDRC) at: Amy.Randle@bdrc-continental.com 

Sassy Hicks (AIM) at: sassy@aim-museums.co.uk

AIM VisitorVerdict – The Future

Since October 2013, AIM has been running a free online benchmarking service called VisitorVerdict and hundreds of museums and heritage sites across the UK have taken part.

VisitorVerdict has helped many museums to better understand their visitors and their experiences and data gathered via the benchmarking has helped to improve marketing, strengthen funding bids, support business planning and create worthwhile staff and volunteer training.

The team at BDRC Continental have delivered the project on behalf of AIM and will be taking the initiative forward post funding from October 1st 2015. We sat down with BDRC’s Director, Steve Mills, to find out more about VisitorVerdict and what people can expect from it in the years ahead.

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Steve Mills, Director of BDRC Continental and AIM VisitorVerdict expert!

AIM: What has it been like working on VisitorVerdict over the past two years Steve?

SM: Seeing the change in mind-set of some of these museums as they become more visitor-focussed has been incredibly rewarding.  Many have never had any feedback from their visitors before, at least not as robust and comprehensive as VisitorVerdict can provide for them, so to chat with users of the service at the various workshops we have been running and to see their enthusiasm has been a real highlight. In particular, seeing users appreciate the power that benchmarking can bring to their organisation and the decision making within it, has been gratifying.

AIM: What positive impact have you seen on the museums that have taken part?

SM: Good insight into your visitors naturally leads to more visitor-focussed decision making within your organisation.  VisitorVerdict has helped organisations move away from decision making based on ‘gut feel’ towards evidence-based decision making.  Visitor insight should never be the sole reason for taking actions but at least provides that initial basis for discussion. VisitorVerdict has elevated the ‘voice of the visitor’ to the highest levels of some organisations, using key information to regularly report to Trustees for example.

AIM: Have you any good examples of how VisitorVerdict works best?

SM: VisitorVerdict tends to work best as a means of helping organisations to prioritise investment, whether this investment is in terms of money or time. We’re all short of resources, so VisitorVerdict helps us to focus our investment in the areas where they will generate greatest return for the museum.  At Didcot Railway Centre for example, VisitorVerdict has worked well as an ‘issue raiser’, highlighting that the shop was under-used and that the range of merchandise needed attention. This prompted a major review and action taken to address the issue and a year later the shop has been making a significant profit for the first time.

AIM: VisitorVerdict is an online service for a number of reasons and it now has a new website – can you explain more about this?

SM: VisitorVerdict operates completely online, with the whole process of visitor survey invitations, data collection and reporting of results hosted on a single website.  This keeps it simple for museums to use. To date this has been a functional site, but we have recently launched a new website http://www.visitorverdict.com/ which includes not only access to this existing online system but also hopefully accelerates the process of sharing good practice across the sector. It includes case studies from users (which we are always interested in adding to), blogs, ways of using VisitorVerdict and advice / videos on using VisitorVerdict in practice as well as ways of getting in touch with the VisitorVerdict team.

AIM: Why do you think AIM members should use VisitorVerdict Steve?

SM: In a nutshell, VisitorVerdict is a fantastic way of generating quick, comprehensive and robust insight from your visitors at low cost and with minimal burden upon your staff and volunteers.  The national benchmarking facility that also comes with it sets participants’ results into the sort of context that can speed up decision making within organisations and help them take more visitor-focussed decisions.

AIM: What would you say to encourage museums to use VisitorVerdict?

SM: You can use VisitorVerdict to help you with all sorts of issues within your organisation, from the daily operational decision making to the less frequent, more strategic stuff. You will also be part of a growing community of museums who are using VisitorVerdict as a source of sector-wide insight which is improving not only their own museum but raising standards across the sector overall.

AIM: VisitorVerdict will be changing soon – how will it change?

SM: The main development is that we will be extending the VisitorVerdict service beyond AIM members, out to other museums and the wider visitor attractions sector – so more heritage attractions, gardens, wildlife attractions etc. Whilst AIM members and the museums sector overall will retain the ability to benchmark against their closest peers, this development also enables them to benchmark more outwardly against other attraction sectors, learning from the best practice of these attractions along the way. It’s a really exciting opportunity to allow all visitor attractions, whatever their size, to gain access to comprehensive insight about their visitors.

AIM: Can you please tell us all about the pricing structure that will be in place from October 1st?

 SM: Although the Arts Council England funding period for VisitorVerdict comes to an end in September this year, we always planned a model for Visitor Verdict which allowed costs to be kept low in the long term. The online approach was key to this. You can find more details of the pricing structure on the website but AIM members will receive significant discounts – particularly if they sign up before 1st October.  There is a tiered pricing structure depending upon the size of your museum, with discounted prices starting from just £95 for the first year.

AIM: Anything else you would like to add Steve?

SM: It’s been a real privilege to set up and run VisitorVerdict and the support that AIM has provided in that time has been invaluable, helping advise on its set up and in the ongoing efforts to encourage AIM members to benefit from the service, so a big thank you has to go to the individual executive team at AIM and also the members who have advised along the way. This is only the start for VisitorVerdict and we are really looking forward to even more AIM members and other museums and attractions joining and benefiting from the ongoing developments that are planned and from the shared insights that will results.

AIM VisitorVerdict is free for all members across the UK until the end of September 2015. To sign up or to find out more, please visit: AIM VisitorVerdict

Workshops: Discover AIM Visitor Verdict

Would you like to know more about how using AIM Visitor Verdict can help your museum?

AIM is providing three FREE workshops run in partnership with BDRC Continental to help you discover how to make the most of Visitor Verdict and lunch and refreshments will be provided.

These workshops are ideal for individuals and organisations that are already signed up to Visitor Verdict or if you are thinking about signing up in the future.

The workshops are taking place at:

Edinburgh: Tuesday 17th March – 11:30am – 4:30pm   *This date is currently postponed until further notice. AIM will update details on any future Visitor Verdict events in Scotland via this blog and Twitter when new arrangements have been made. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Derby: Monday 11th May – 11am-4pm

London: Monday 6th July – 11am-4pm

By attending you will learn how AIM Visitor Verdict can:

*Measure the visitor experience

*Inform marketing messages, improvements, pricing decisions & staff training.

*Attract & retain sponsors/funders & contribute to accreditation requirements.

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Included in the workshop:

*Examples of how other museums are already using the service.

*Hands on session to develop reports that meet your needs.

*Opportunity to explore your own results if you already have 25+ completed surveys.

*Expert guidance on all aspects of the service: including collecting visitor’s details, using the online system, interpreting results, using benchmarking  

*Top tips to make running Visitor Verdict easy to manage.

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Venues and Booking Details

Edinburgh: Tuesday 17th March – 11:30am – 4:30pm

Venue: Museums Galleries Scotland Offices, Waverley Gate, 2-4 Waterloo Place, Edinburgh, EH1 3EG

Edinburgh Booking: http://bit.ly/aimvv2015scot

Derby: Monday 11th May – 11am-4pm

Venue: Derby Museum & Art Gallery, The Strand, Derby, DE1 1BS

Derby Booking: http://bit.ly/aimvv2015mid

London: Monday 6th July – 11am-4pm

Venue: BDRC Continental, 229-231 High Holborn, London, WC1V 7DA

London Booking:  http://bit.ly/aimvv2015lon

Using  Visitor Verdict – a video by BDRC Continental

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ACE Convention 2015

The annual ACE Convention & Trade Show will take place on Tuesday 3rd & Wednesday 4th March 2015 at the Bournemouth International Centre (BIC) in Bournemouth, Dorset.

ACE (Association for Cultural Enterprises) have lined up a programme of speaker sessions and topical keynotes, and a bigger trade show than ever with over 80 stands this year.

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Tamalie Newbery (Executive Director of AIM) and Steve Mills (Director, BDRC Continental) will be giving a talk at this event on ‘Benchmarking the Visitor Experience to Improve Resilience’.

Full Information can be found here: ACE Convention 2015

Download the programme: ACE Convention 2015

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Free workshop to learn more about how to use #VisitorVerdict – sign up now

If you’ve already signed up for AIM Visitor Verdict, we’d like to invite you to attend a free Visitor Verdict workshop on Monday 14th July 2014 to help you get even more out of it.

What will you get from attending?

  • Examples of how Visitor Verdict can help your museum
    e.g. increasing visitor numbers; improving the visitor experience; fundraising; growing secondary spend
  • Explore how Visitor Verdict can help address problems and achieve goals for your museum
  • Hands on session developing reports that meet your needs
  • If you have 25+ completed surveys, the chance to use and explore your own results during the workshop
  • Expert guidance on all aspects of the service
    Including: collecting visitor’s details; using the online system; interpreting results & using benchmarking
  • Top tips to make running Visitor Verdict easy to manage
  • Sharing experiences so far and the opportunity to suggest improvements
When:    Monday 14th July 2014, 11am until 4pm – lunch and refreshments will be provided
Where:   Close by Holborn underground station, Central LondonBook your free place on this workshop 
There are limited places available so we recommend registering early.

If you are unable to attend, someone else in your organisation who
uses Visitor Verdict would be very welcome to register in your place.

When you register there will be the opportunity to share examples of current challenges facing your museum.  During the workshop we will explore some of these and show you how visitor research and benchmarking can help.

If you have any questions/problems please get in touch:
Tamalie Newbery, AIM Executive Director  0777 333 6164
Amy Randle, BDRC Continental Research Manager 0207 400 0382

We will both be available to talk to in person on the day of the workshop too.

www.aimvisitorverdict.com