Visitor surveying is an important outreach method museums and galleries employ to find out who is coming in the doors, and why. We need to know who our visitors are in order to target things like design decisions, what we will exhibit, and what kind of programmes matter. When visitation is on the rise, it’s easier to hit up those who hold the purse strings. When it reduces … well, it’s time to start looking at ways to get bums back on the seats, so to speak. Our sector needs robust data. We have local councils asking us to justify our programmes against our visitation, wanting us to make sure we stay relevant… and the National Visitor Survey provides just that.
People who take the time to participate in surveys are giving us exactly that – their time. It’s something we are all short of. In the course of coordinating the NVS, I’m constantly reminded of how time- and staff-poor museums are. Indeed, time management affects us all. Conflicting pressures from projects, kids, work, home (not in that order) mean that we are all chasing our tails. Time costs, and we budget it according to our own set of priorities.
Results from last year’s NVS suggest 35% of our visitors are over 60 – baby boomers who are time rich. 30% are 40-60 years old, and another 30% are 20-40. So, we have a pretty even spread of people who both come to our organisations, and participate in our surveys. It’s not just the baby boomers sitting down and having a chat.
Visitors want to see what we have. They want an experience. And it’s their visitation that keeps our doors open. We all need to know more about our visitors, and the National Visitor Survey gives you a nationally comparable snapshot.
Join in. There’s still time!
Jeremiah is currently coordinating our annual visitor survey and is the talent who made our popular infographic with the 2013 data.