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Is it possible to measure the success of a visitor center?

Why must measurable goals be set? How can you truly know and measure whether a visitor center is successful or failing?

Unlike a business that is measured by the profit line, and non-profits or volunteer organizations that are measured by the quality and quantity of the people they helped, the measurement of a visitor center is elusive, and this is also the reason why the entrepreneurs of the center are not always aware (or admit) of the center's level of success or lack of success.

There are reasons why significant gaps are sometimes evident between the feelings of visitor center managers regarding the quality and success of their visitor center, and the reality seen in the eyes of visitors.

At one visitor center (it doesn't matter which denomination) when you talk to the managers of the place you leave with the feeling that the center is simply amazing! While a professional analysis of the place, and an in-depth analysis of the visitors' reactions point to a different result.

What is the reason for the gap between the subjective feeling of the managers of the place and the reality?

There are several reasons:

A. Everyone who knows them and talks to them tells them that "the place is amazing and exciting and professional", both because he doesn't want to offend, and also to preserve his personal or business ties with the managers of the place.

B. Even those who do not know them personally, may think that the subject of the center is very important, and therefore their reaction is also good due to the very existence of the place.

C. Even if someone already thinks that the center is "nothing" he does not inform the managers of the place about his opinion. Why bother them?

Let's start from the end with relaxation - the same center is not really bad. It's just not well made, and not close to reaching the potential of the field in which it deals. In other words - it is striped.

How can you enter a visitor center project and make sure it will be successful?

Let's jump to the end - unfortunately it is not possible to make sure at the beginning that the center will be successful in the end, but it is possible to make sure that we operate in orderly professional work processes that will lead us, in the absolute majority of cases, to an excellent result - or at least a very good one.

When I accompany visitor centers from the first stages, there is no giving up on a clear and focused definition of the goal, and also - the goal must be one that can be clearly measured at the end of the process in order to examine ourselves whether we have met the goal or not.

Setting "airy" goals, such as: that the visitor will be more valuable at the end of the visit, or that the visitor will believe in ... complete the sentence - this is not good enough, and it also opens the door to a situation of not being able to measure the result, and in any case lead to a situation of lack Self-awareness of the center managers regarding the quality of the place and the response it provides.

Examples of focused, measurable goals:

Bring more visitors every year to place X.

Make the visitor understand the meaning of the historical story in question.

To excite the visitor and make him connect with these people, or this place.

In each of the last examples, it is possible to easily examine whether the center was able to fulfill its mission with the help of a short feedback questionnaire that is distributed to visitors who finish a tour of the place.

And by the way - in any feedback questionnaire - as far as I'm concerned, one of the most important questions will be - did you have fun?

Because unlike any educational or museum framework, among the things that distinguish visitor centers is the ability (and obligation) to create an exciting and enjoyable experience alongside the connection to knowledge and values. That's why we gathered.


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