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Scottish National Portrait Gallery

Course: HND Travel and Tourism, 1st year

Subject: Visitor Attraction Operations

Submitted to: Lorrain Farquharson

Submitted by: Iliyana Karaivanova

Date: 14/03/2016

Word count:



 Different types of attractions and examples

 Introduction to SNPG ( history, architecture, accessibility, unique selling point)

Identification of the excising and potential customers groups visiting SNPG......................3

Identification of the services and facilities provided for the groups....................................4

Identification of the main sources of income and methods to generate more profit..........5

 Main sources of income used by SNPG

 Suggestions to generate more profit

Expenditure involving in operating SNPG...........................................................................6

Identifying measures to monitor expenditure and reduce costs.........................................7

Identification of main courses of business planning............................................................8

 Definition of Business plan

 Purpose of Business plan

 Business planning Advice

Identifying sources of finance.............................................................................................8

Identifying main pieces of Legislation.................................................................................8

National Quality Assurance Scheme...................................................................................9



1. Introduction

Attraction is a place, building, event or area which is open to public without prior booking and is capable of attracting day visitors. Its purpose is to allow public access for entertainment, education and interest.

There are diverse ranges of attractions available, some of which can be considered “visitor attraction”. Different categories are: natural geographical which include mountains (Ben Nevis), lochs, rivers, etc; Man- made attractions, examples are: bridges( Gold Gate Bridge), canals ( Caledonian Canal), city parks, botanic gardens, etc. Other types of attractions are leisure (Disneyland Theme parks); entertainment; cultural (SNPG), historical (Edinburgh Castle); religious (St Gilles Cathedral); transport; shopping and industrial.

The purpose of the following report is to investigate the factors which influence the planning and control of visitor attraction operations. The case study is based on an art, man-made, indoor and purpose built attraction, Scottish National Portrait Gallery.

Scottish National Portrait Gallery is located in the city centre of the impressive capital of Scotland, Edinburgh on Queen Street. It is easy accessible by public and private transport,  Waverley Rail Station is 5min walk from the attraction, Edinburgh Bus Station is next to it and the tram and bus stops are opposite of the Gallery.  

Opened to the public in 15th July 1889, SNPG is the first custom built gallery of its kind in the world. The Gallery is designed by Sir Robert Anderson in Neo-Gothic Style in red sandstone from Dumfries and is funded by the owner of The Scotsman newspaper, John Findlay in 1882. The first portrait gallery in the world which was purposed built to displays the Nation's history of Scotland and its people achievements is the unique selling point of the Gallery.

Sources which I am using to base my comments in the report are on site visit of the SNPG in Edinburgh, direct dialogue with members of the staff, websites research and PowerPoint presentations on Moodle.

2. Identification of the excising and potential customer groups visiting SNPG

The idea behind segmentation is to divide a market into groups who share some similar characteristic, thus allowing the attraction to target there groups/ segments with a tailored marketing mix.

  The advantages of segmentation are to allow the business to spent their budget appropriate knowing their customers. For example, the Scottish National Portrait Gallery knows that most of their visitors are local people. Moreover, it focuses marketing spend on those most likely to buy and the benefit of it is to improve the product and customer service.

There are different ways of dividing the market: geographic, demographic, lifestyle and behaviour segmentation. SNPG is also geographic segmentated, 50% of their visitors are from local area, and they also receive visitors from overseas. This approach is very effective for the attraction because different customers from different countries have different needs, wants and culture and can be target specifically.  

Demographic segmentation includes gender, income level, age and occupation, etc. For example, SNPG receive visitors which are in socio economic group of A (upper middle class) B (middle class) C1 (lower middle class).

Other market segments visiting the SNPG include: educational groups, family groups, community groups, elderly and people with disabilities, intelligent and spiritual visitors, etc.

 After renovations the SNPG aimed to achieve a 50% increase of visitors to 300 000 customers annually. They could focus more on exciting but also could target new market segments. For example, the senior group which is now one of the most untapped markets segment with great upside potential. Nowadays, more seniors are living longer, have better health and more resources.

3. Identification of all the services and facilities provided for the groups

For all exciting and potential market segments the attraction need to provide the essential and most appropriate facilities and services to meet the needs and wants of each groups visiting the SNPG. In this heading services and facilities needed in order to gratify some of the above mentioned market segments will be identified and explained.

Educational group which is one of the market segments visiting the SNPG can be divided into Primary and Secondary School groups and University School Groups. The services and facilities provided from the Gallery include: a huge variety of diverse programmes which are designed for different phases of educational groups, educational guided tours, workshops, learning experiences, touch screens to look for more information. Moreover, lockers and lunch room are provided by the Gallery.

 Also, for students and tutors in further and higher education the National Galleries of Scotland offers a specialist Library, Archive and Special Collections which provide a resource for the students of art. They also held an impressive collection of 50,000 works on paper, drawing, photographs and prints which can be used for educational purposes. There are study areas in each of the Galleries. The study area at the SNPG is at the Library where students can book and use it for self- study. Additional services include:  print room which can be used from students as well as a cafe for refreshment.

Families with children are another market groups visiting the Gallery. To satisfy their needs and wants SNPG provides the following services and facilities: different programmes are offering to stimulate and keep children interesting in their activities. Every Sunday for example, the Gallery organise a detective trail activity which is very successful. Other activities are: face painting, dressing up, storytelling, etc. Moreover, kids can work with professional artists and make their own masterpiece.  Additional services provided by the Gallery are: baby changing facilities, Cloakroom, buggy park, childrens' workshops, lift, gift shop and cafe.

The third market segment is community groups. Services and facilities linked with this market are: cafe and gift shop at the Gallery, lift, compact folding chairs provided in each floor, seating available throughout the Gallery, etc. Additional services include different events and activities organise by the attraction such as music concerts, practical workshop, film screening, talks which meant to tell, encourage and educate people of the national art collection.  SNPG information desk and Farmer Education Suit are fitted with introduction loops for the hard of hearing. Guided tours, public talks and events organising by the Gallery provide portable hearing loops for visitors needed as well as a large format printed booklet is available in each exhibition. For visitors with disabilities there are wheelchairs available, lift, ramp to main entrance and accessible toilet.

Intelligent and spiritual visitors interested in art, photography and architecture are another market segment which needs a tailored approach to meet and satisfy their requests. SNPG provides the following services: information packs and handouts, guided tours, language interpretation, gift shop, catering facilities, audio headsets, disable facilities, etc. Renting the place for collaborative event is additional service which the Gallery provides. SNPG can accommodate a small lunch/dinner for 20 guests and a reception up to 600 people. Moreover, it can be hire for cocktails or banquets, small conferences or for private views of collections with expert curator on hand.

4. Identification of the main sources of income and suggestions of generating profit.

The main source of income related to major of attractions is the entrance fees.  In our case study the entrance of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery is free which doesn't mean it is not important for the attraction to generate income. In this heading different sources of income of SNPG will be identified and explained.

The capital to manage the SNPG and acquire works comes from Legacies and online donations. Some of sponsors of the Gallery are: the Scottish Government, the National Art Collection Fund, Heritage Lottery Fund, wealthy individuals, etc.

One of the main sources of generatingincome at the Gallery comes from the cafe/ restaurant which is operated by Heritage Portfolio and offers local, high quality food. It is regularly recognized as the best in the city and most of its customers are local people.

The gift shop, lockers, donation box, hiring the library and special events organised by the attraction are other sources of generating money. Some examples of events and exhibitions include: guide tours booked online, small conferences, exhibition of the works on Venus and the Goddness of Love. Other special event is a Singles Night according to the collection (price of a ticket £5).

Income is generating also from membership fees (£35 pp/ £50 for tow) which can be purchased for the National Galleries and this allows unrestricted entrée to exceptional exhibitions at all the National Galleries.

Donations and fundraising is made also from Patrons which are self-governing charitable organisation that works to assist Galleries.

The Scottish National Portrait Gallery could try to generate more income by organising variety of special events, such as weddings, banquets, cocktails, Gala dinner, seminars, private guided tours, exhibitions, corporate hospitality, education activities events, etc.

Gift shop at the attraction is one of the main approach of maximise profit and this can be develop by the Gallery if it provides for sale the correct items which customers wish to buy. The goods have to be link in with the theme of the Gallery (portraits/ copies of their famous paints or photography's collections), they also need to be link in with each market group.  Moreover, the shop needs to offers goods which are moving quickly and this will lead to increasing the profit, quickly.

Offering visitors' photography services, using the Gallery for location filming and organising workshops and craft fairs are also ways which the SNPG could use to maximise its profit.

To operate successfully an attraction the businesses also have to be able to identifying the expenditure needed for running the business and to classifying the methods of monitoring its spending and how to reduce the costs.

5. Expenditure involve in operating SNPG

Many of spending involved in operating an attraction is quite similar to our own costs such as electricity, telephone, water, insurance and security.

Main expenditure of SNPGincludes: maintenance of the exhibitionsand building of the Gallery; staff expenses which include training of the internal customers, staff uniforms, salaries etc. Other expenses are: cleaning contracts (interior and exterior of the Gallery); heating and lighting costs. The attraction is managing energy spending well by controlling temperature and humidity of the place.

 Marketing and electricity are other expenses involve in running the Gallery. SNPG is promoted by VisitScotland, through National Gallery of Scotland as well as media, listed magazines, leaflets, posters, etc. The total cost of expenditure spent for a month from the Scottish National Portrait Gallery is 90, 000 pounds. In the following headline is shown how SNPG monitors its expenditure

6. Identifying measures to monitor expenditure and reduce cost

There are different ways that an attraction can monitor their expenditure. Revenue Budget is one of the methods used by the SNPG to measure their costs. It could be reviewed every month and in addition alarms the stage of earnings or loss.

 Budgeting which normally cover a whole financial year is a very successful way to monitor and control the attraction's expenses. Its purpose also include: to give a basis for taking decisions, to make an impression on sponsors, banks, etc; and to lead the business financial running every day.

Other method used by SNPG to monitor their expenditure is Cash Flow Statement. It clarifies all the capital that has followed into and out of the attraction over the past year. It also gives opportunity investors of the SNPG to know how the attraction's operations are controlling, where its money is coming from, and how it is being spent.

To control and reduce the cost of an attraction is essential part to maximise its profit. There are different methods which can be used to achieve this aim. Some examples are: reduction of the internal customers wherever is possible. It can be done by training the staff to perform several job roles.Reduction of the wage rates and employing casual workers rather than permanent contracts are other examples which can have a negative impact not only for the staff that may become unmotivated but also for the business. The quality of service could decrease and this will lead to decrease the numbers of customers, too.

Moreover, for the gift shop and catering outlet at the attraction controlling and reduction the costs can be done by maintaining good relationship with suppliers, reducing theft by rising security methods, have the alternativeunsold goods to be returned to the contractors, control portion and sensible buying of food goods in the cafe/ restaurant, etc.

Scottish National Portrait Gallery uses some of the methods mentioned above. They trained supervisors to provide information to the visitors which lead to reducing of staffing costs. The attraction has a Silver Award in Green Tourism which means they are a member of this business scheme and they reduce costs of electricity. During the refurbishment of the Gallery ground source heat pumps and solar heating were installed. They also installed sensors in the bathrooms.

Other method use by SNPG to reduce costs is the use of more technology to communicate with customers. For example, they send emails to reducing telephone calls and postage.

7. Identification of main sources of  business planning

A business plan is a document that plans ageneral idea of the further successful opportunities of the business and it is used when a company needs to receive financial support or a business loan. Moreover, it must include all factors (core product, services, competition, SWOT analysis, etc) which are appropriate to the success/ failure of the company.

The purpose of the business plan is to ensure that the relevant company will be managed professionally and that the financiers made a good investment. There are organisations in the country which help companies to receive the planning advice on how to develop their business. Two main organisations helping businesses are: Business Gateway and Scottish Enterprise. Both offer practical advice and business planning.

Business plan to receive financial support had to be done for the SNPG. In the following headline general sources of funding has been identifying and figures are showmen below.

8. Identifying sources of finance

First funded by the owner of the Scotsman newspaper, the Scottish National Portrait Gallery was closed for refurbishment in April 2009. The attraction re- opened on 1st Dec 2011 and cost of refurbishment was 17.6 million pounds which came from public and private organisations and institutions. Some of the investitures helping SNPG are: the Scottish Government (£7.1 million); the Heritage Lottery Fund (£7.1 million); corporate and private donation from wealthy individuals (£1.6 million).

Historic Scotland which is an organisation of the Scottish Government, responsible for maintaining and running over 360 properties can also provide grants for the protection of the structure of the building. SNPG is a listed building with historical significance. The Scottish Arts Council provides government funding and grants, too.

9. Identifying the main pieces of legislation

The main pieces of legislation linked with the operation of an attraction including the Scottish National Portrait Gallery are: Disability Discrimination Act from 1995 which was exchanged with the Equality Act. The Act made itillegalto discriminate against individuals with disabilities with regard to education, employment, etc.

Scottish National Portrait Gallery comply with DDA 1995. The attraction provides special services and facilities to meet the needs of its disabled customers. Examples of these services and facilities include: accessible parking or drop- off point, ramp to main entrance, wheelchairs or mobility aids available within the Gallery, lift, accessible toilets, large format printed booklet, Braille or audio.

Other piece of legislation which every attraction must apply for is the Fire Precautions Act. Employers must provide sufficient equipment and actions for fire evacuation and attractions will receive a visit from the Fire Safety inspectors.

The third part of legislation is regarding to attractions which have a cafe or restaurant such as the Scottish National Portrait Gallery which has a cafe/ restaurant and it is a subject to the Food Hygiene Regulations. It is the Food Standards Act from 1999 which the key aim is to protect public health.

Next piece of legislation associated with the operation of the attraction is the Trades Description Act. This Act aims to prevent business services from providing incorrect information to the clients. An advertised image of a hamburger which shows that the item is much bigger than it is is an example of a misleading advertisement. If businesses make false statementsin advertising they will be punished.  

Health and Safety (first aid) Regulations 1981 is an act which relates to all workplaces and self- employed individuals. Employers have to hold an assessment to set upwhat is necessary in the first aid box and what facilities are essential. Moreover, they must supplysufficient equipment and facilities to make possible first aid to be given in the incident of injury of illness.

The last piece of legislation is Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. This Act is created to secure the health and safety of internal customers at work in relation with the duties they carry out at work.

10. National Quality Assurance scheme

National Quality Assurance Scheme is the country's award- winning National Tourist Organisation, VisitScotland's grading system. It evaluates quality of different businesses (accommodations, dinning places, visitor attractions, etc.) according to a set of National quality standards.

Some ofthese standards (factors) include: the service provided by the internal customers; the price which has to be appropriate; physical environment, safety of visitors, numbers of complains, tidiness, comfort, standards of toilets, shop, cafe, etc.

National Tourist Board use a 1 to 5 star grading system and Scottish National Portrait Gallery is a four star grading cultural attraction. It means it has an excellent standard. Customers and businesses benefit of this Quality Assurance Scheme and some of the benefits include: increasing visitor numbers, income, length of stay, client satisfaction, repeat visit, etc.

11. Conclusion

For a successful planning and controlling of an attraction operation   the business needs to know very well who is their existing and potential market segments and to provide the essential and suitable facilities and services to meet the needs and wants of each groups visiting the attraction. Moreover, each attraction has to be aware of its main sources of income and expenditure, it needs to identify the most appropriate methods to monitor its expenditure and to know how to maximise its profit and also haw to reduce its costs.

 If the attraction needs to receive financial support or a business loan firs, it needs a business plan which to show the attraction's general idea for its successful future. There are organisations in the country which help companies to receive planning advice and to develop their business. The business also needs to be aware of the public and private financial organisations which can help for the structure, refurbishment and development of the visitor attraction.

The key pieces of legislation linked with the operation of an attraction include: Disability Discrimination Act, employment law, public liability, consumer protection, health and safety, planning, tread description, etc.

Finally, the quality assurance scheme which assists the quality of the services and facilities provided from the business plays an important role for the success of a visitor attraction. The business has to seek to achieve a high quality customer service and providing excellent facilities not only to satisfy but to delight its customers. Following all mentioned point from an attraction will lead to its successful management and operation.

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