A More Efficient Visitor Experience Strategy

About ten years ago, park and historic site planners in Canada began expanding the classic Interpretive Master Planning process into a larger and more holistic planning methodology called the Visitor Experience (VE) Strategy. The planning approach has been revolutionary—we take a holistic, 360-degree look at the entire visitor experience from picnic tables to interpretive programs to retail, and re-examine it through the target markets’ eyes.

The challenge with it, so far, is that it’s ambitious. It can take at least six months, and many (many!) hours of labour—not just on my part as the consultant/facilitator, but on staff’s part who need to participate in workshops, evaluate the work as it advances, coordinate stakeholders, and all the rest. It’s daunting.

A leaner approach

I am working on a new process I will call the Expedited Visitor Experience Strategy, in which I take some of the experience I have gained in doing many of these plans and apply that experience to focus and combine some of the steps. Instead of two separate assessment workshops, SWOT and VE Assessment, we will begin the whole process with a 360-degree assessment that includes both SWOT and an assessment of individual VE products.

Another labour saver: for this VES-Lite, I am proposing less market research—we will validate and use your existing segments. I also propose to leave the Promotions section out of this process, as more and more of my clients are doing this already. Promotions is a specialized skill and may be best approached as its own strategy once the VE Strategy is done.

At any rate, I have been looking at some scenarios for facilitating this new Expedited VE Strategy and I think I can do it in just over half the time of the full meal deal, and with consulting fees slashed almost by half—depending on things like travel costs.

I look forward to proposing this new process to my clients out there. If you know anybody who might be interested, hit me up, as they say.


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