World Class Visitor Centre Case Studies
In October 2020, Visit Greenwich and the Old Royal Naval College Greenwich commissioned TEAM to prepare cases studies on world class visitor centres to inform and inspire the Greenwich tourism stakeholders in their desire to create an outstanding and innovative visitor centre which would tell the story of Greenwich in general and the old Royal Naval College in particular.
In an initial stage, a long list of potential case studies was compiled, subsequently scored against broad criteria of relevance to Visit Greenwich in a view to select a shortlist of centres. Extensive desk research was carried out on the shortlisted centres and three case studies were chosen by the client for in-depth interview, in order to gain more detailed insights.
Generally, the key purpose of a visitor centre is a balance of three main elements:
- Visitor attraction, with interpretation
- Visitor information
- Destination orientation element, cross-selling the wider destination.
These core functions may be complemented by secondary activities, typically commercial or supporting the main centre functions – e.g. temporary exhibitions, events, venue hire, retail, café/restaurant etc.
The top six centres identified in our research for aspects of relevance to Visit Greenwich, including the main interpretation / storytelling techniques and the way they are used, were: La Cité du Vin (France), Roman Rimini Visitor Centre (Italy), Dublin Visitor Centre (Republic of Ireland), Pont du Gard WHS Centre (France), Bannockburn Visitor Centre and Battle Experience (Scotland), and Derry Visitor Information Centre (Northern Ireland).
We provided many pointers for Visit Greenwich’s strategic discussion about the evolution of its centre – primary purpose(s), audience, positioning, interpretation, commercial activity.