Hiraeth, Glamorgan’s Living History Museum has been opened for 18 months and has successfully met its visitor targets of 135 000 visitors each year, exceeding the targets in visitor segments such as school parties and coach groups. However the museum is not performing as well in attracting families with children.

Research is needed to investigate how Hiraeth can attract more family visits and also give them a worthwhile experience. The research needs to explore how families within the catchment area make decisions about where to go for a ‘day out’, how they collect information in order to make the decision and what they look for in a suitable destination.

Hiraeth management team realise that this may mean designing new products within the museum for families or improving the interpretation and activities associated with some objects. The nature of the communications with families may also need to be reviewed to specifically target the family market.

2. Objectives

2.1 Identify the factors that families look for in a day-out destination.  Outline the implications for Hiraeth in terms of product and organisation.
2.2 Gain insight into the decision-making process undertaken by families to choose the destination.
2.3 Explore effective marketing communications strategies that will increase the number of families visiting the museum.

3. Hierarchy of Information

The information to be collected by the project can be categorised in the following way:

3.1 Essential information

How families collect information about destinations –haphazardly or in a structured way

What media they use- newspapers, guides, brochures, TV, web etc.

The decision making process – who influences and who decides generally

Families’ requirements for a ‘destination’ e.g. distance away, facilities etc.

3.2 Desirable information

Types of activity / product in the museum that would interest families and whether there needs to be specific family activities

Information to address access issues with families unlikely to think of going to a museum

3.3 Useful information

Competitor information about other similar destinations

4. Methodology

The budget is limited to £2 000, so it will not be possible to conduct widespread quantitative surveys across the catchment area. The nature of the information required is such that qualitative research that explores the issues surrounding family decision–making is more appropriate. The recommended methodology is therefore:
4.1 Desk research.  Review existing journals and in-house research to find out whether any similar studies have been made and whether any implications for Hiraeth can be drawn.
Journals and existing research to include:

a) Council Best Value reviews
b) Mintel reports
c) Museums Journal
d) International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management
e) European Journal of Marketing
f) Journal of Consumer Marketing
4.2 Structured observation within Hiraeth of families behaviour i.e. what aspects of the museum they spend time at, do they use the Acousti-guide etc. This will be done by two observers in the museum unobtrusively taking notes about the behaviour of family groups. They will note how long families stay at each display, how they interact with each other, demonstrators and the exhibits.
4.3 Depth interviews with 10 families visiting Hiraeth to ascertain what attracted them, what they liked, disliked, would they revisit, recommend to friends etc.
4.4 Focus group of parents with children in the 3-11 years range from the relevant catchment area but not necessarily parents who know about Hiraeth. This group will explore general themes about visiting museums with children.
4.5 A workshop with children run by specialist researcher to ‘market test’ some objects and activities within Hiraeth for their appropriateness for the age groups 3-11 years and to explore with them what they like about visitor attractions and museums.
4.6 Interviews with frontline staff who work in the museum to give them the opportunity to suggest ideas for improvement.
4.7 A report will be produced which summarises all the specific areas of research undertaken and offers conclusions and outlines implications for Hiraeth. Six bound copies of the report will be produced.

5. Accuracy

Due to the nature of the type of the primary research chosen which is all qualitative and exploratory by nature, it is not possible to define accuracy in percentage terms. There will be no measurements or statistics contained in the results and no hypotheses tested. Interpretation of the results is therefore judgmental and may contain bias. However the objectives of this research are to explore ideas and to gain understanding not to measure satisfaction or effectiveness.

6. Resources

Specialist moderator to work with children £ 1 000

Focus Group expenses (10 adults @£40 each) £    400

Room hire & refreshments £    350

Printing of reports £      50

Total £ 1 800

6.1 Staffing
Two members of staff will be allocated to the project. They will conduct the interviews, observation and adult focus group. They will also liase with the manager of Hiraeth to ensure the quality of the research meets client expectations and produce and present the outcome report.

6.2 Ethics
All interviews and focus groups will be conducted within the guidelines set out by the Market Research Society and personal information storage will be within the Data Protection Act 2001.

The children’s focus group will also be conducted within these guidelines, specifically The Market Research Society Guidelines for Research Among Children and Young People. Written parental permission will be sort prior to the group meeting and parents may be present during the focus group. Copies of the guideline are available on The Market Research Society website www.mrs.org.uk

Due regard will also be taken of the Child Protection Act 1998.

All research data and reports will be confidential.

7. Timetable

See attached plan

Once approval has been given for the plan work will start on the design and structure of the interviews and focus groups week commencing 3 June 2007 with a final report to be presented in the week beginning 29 July 2007.

8. Quality Issues

The researcher managing this project is a qualified and experienced professional specialising in the Leisure and Tourism industry. CV and client list are available.

The research assistant has been with the company since leaving university two years ago. Both are members of the Chartered Institute of marketing and The Market Research Society.

9. Terms

20% on awarding of the contract

40% on commencement of contract

40% on completion of contract


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Containing a specific article by Susie Fisher, Museums, galleries & the Arts World