In the early 1990s the management of heritage properties tended to be heavily custodial, ignoring the hedonistic aims of most visitors. There was a sense that properties should be respectfully admired, rather than enjoyed.
BU Leisure and Tourism researchers have worked with the UK’s largest conservation charity, the National Trust, to help redress the balance and make heritage accessible and more enjoyable to a wider audience.
The research demonstrated how visitors can enjoy properties without compromising aesthetic and historic integrity. This led to the development of methodologies to assess visitor enjoyment and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for individual properties.
BU delivered this technique across 200 of the 272 properties. In the last five years National Trust membership has increased from 3.6 million to 4 million, with visitor numbers increasing from 15 million to 19 million.