Thursday, July 9, 2009


What a busy week - but also what an entertaining mix!

A brief summary:

On Monday we held our summer trustees meeting here at Blenheim Palace - always a slightly stressful occasion but important to review and sign-off the prior year accounts and to look in detail at the current year and the future strategy. For the first time for a while we had new trustees present and thus the meeting lasted longer than normal as more background explanation was needed - but generally the meeting went well and we are in reasonably good shape into the current year thanks to the success of our "Buy One Day - Get 12 months Free!" marketing initiative - with now well over 50,000 annual pass holders signed-up! Did we inspire our trustees - I hope so!

On Tuesday a few of us were invited over to Pinewood Film Studios to see the Fox/Gulliver's Travel crew and to catch-up with their work - very inspiring to see their base and to see some of the sets that they have build in the studios and back lots at Pinewood. What an impressive place - an absolute maze of activity and buildings - stuff for the next Harry Potter film being build over there; scenes being shot over there for "The Clash of the Titans" remake; and scenes for "Gulliver's" being shot over there. We left inspired.

On Wednesday, we hosted a conference at Blenheim Palace during the day for Vision XS Limited surrounding PR, marketing and media services for the leisure/visitor attractions industry - a strong delegate list heard a strong panel of speakers and I was asked to say a few words of welcome at the beginning of the day. The organiser had forgotten to tell me that he had offered a bottle of champagne to any speaker who dropped a "Michael Jackson" reference into his talk - which slightly explained why the chairman for the conference announced that it would be a "thriller" of a day - so I missed out on that opportunity. The day went well and Blenheim Palace certainly inspired those present. In the evening we hosted a gathering for Oxfordshire Tourism - a great opportunity to get everyone together and to talk about a proposed new structure for tourism across the county - the aim was to inspire everyone about the new vision and direction - did we succeed, only time will tell but I hope so because the county needs a new tourism direction and this is a prize that we should all capture going forward. Watch this space!

On Thursday it was into London for a Treasure Houses Managers meeting during the day - London was heaving and hot but it was great to see the other managers from across the other houses and to share with them our experiences as we track through 2009. Always inspiring to share time with our colleagues and particularly pleasing for the first time for a while to be the best performing Treasure House across the group in terms of year-on-year visitor numbers - inspiring even! Back to Blenheim Palace in the evening for an important social gathering for the "Friends of Blenheim Palace". About 160 attended and it is so important for us to keep strong connections with this important group - they are our ambassadors, they help us preserve and maintain this important world heritage site and they are our connection with our local community. Inspiring to meet them all and hopefully they left inspired and more strongly connected with us going forward.

And into today - Friday - where the diary is slightly less manic. That said, we do have a number of Royal Horticultural Society Council members attending this afternoon as we seek to further progress discussions surrounding a possible joint venture with them here at Blenheim Palace. This could be the most inspiring development opportunity for many years at Blenheim Palace - fingers crossed that they leave inspired and they they continue to motivate and inspire their colleagues to move this forward.

We aim to inspire (and where appropriate to be inspired) every day - the inspirational Blenheim Palace makes this easy and the quality and excellence of our hard working staff rises this to new levels every day.

Thank you to everyone who has contributed to make this such an inspiring week.

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