Friday, October 23, 2009

Keeping everyone happy!

With around 85,000 annual pass holders now subscribed since we launched back in February 2009, the scheme has been an unqualified success and we have had lots of very positive feedback - we are though facing our first real challenge as we tackle the forthcoming Living Crafts for Christmas event which takes place from 20-22 November 2009.

This event, a high quality christmas crafts event with around 100 exhibitors, is staged in marquees sited within the courtyards adjoing the Palace and as such it is the only event in our calendar where space constraints exist and where we need to work hard to protect flows, to avoid congestion and to ensure a safe environment exists for everyone.

It would be grossly irresponsible of us to blindly go forward into this event without considering how our high numbers of annual pass holders will connect with us over these three days and as to how this will impact upon the running of the event - we believe high numbers will attend and we have thus taken the difficult decision to restrict free entry to annual pass holders to AFTER 3pm each day and to ask them to purchase Park and Gardens tickets (albeit at slightly reduced rates) if they wish to visit before 3pm. We have extended the show opening times to 7pm on the Friday and Saturday in order to increase the access times for annual pass holders and we hope all round that we can keep everyone happy and safe.

Inevitably we are being shouted at by some but I believe it would be irresponsible not to have take some pro-active steps to "manage" capacity and flow at this important event - we apologise for causing any inconvenience but we hope the vast majority will understand what we have done and why we have done it.

It is a great christmas craft show and hopefully many will attend - and hopefully everyone will go away happy!

In the spirit of keeping everyone happy, we are always very willing to receive fam trips and other groups into Blenheim Palace as we are immensely proud to showcase this iconic world heritage site and to sow the seeds for future business generation.

This week we have received two such groups into Blenheim Palace:

>> On Tuesday we had a very high powered fam visit from top Chinese Agents organised by Trafalgar Tours - including Freddy Li (Regional General Manager for Greater China and Korea for Qantas Airways Limited) and Eric Li (Executive Director for Charming Holidays Limited). It was fascinating to meet with them all and very encouraging to hear their very positive predictions for growth in traveller volumes from China into 2011 and beyond. It has been a market that has been predicted to grow and to grow fast - so we await their arrival and we will give them a great welcome! The Chinese market has a very strong affinity with Blenheim Palace through their interest in Sir Winston Churchill - a very strong hook and one that also plays very positively into the North American market.

>> On Thursday we hosted a study tour from the Society of Local Council Clerks who were ultimately on their way to Daventry for their 35th Annual Conference. I gave them a talk on Thursday and started by informing them that I was also a Council Clerk! One of the quirkier sides of my role here at Blenheim Palace is that I am Clerk to the Blenheim Parish Meeting (which covers the area enclosed within the Park Wall) and as such I have responsibility for around 30 or so people and I control a healthy budget of £0! This compares with those that I met with on Thursday, who were mainly from America, with populations under their control (in one case) of up to 18 million people and a budget responsibility up to a maximum in one case of £1.1billion! Rather puts the Blenheim Parish Meeting in its place! They were a charming group and I have no doubt that Blenheim Palace left them very happy as they headed north for their three day conference.

Children across the country are breaking up for half-term and hopefully many will head to Blenheim Palace for some halloween fun. There is lots going on including a Ghostly Trail at the Pleasure Gardens which will be fun for everyone.

It only seems 5 minutes since they went back to school and already they are virtually into half-term and christmas is around the corner - time flies by but we must all make sure we take time to enjoy everything happening around us and to stay happy - life, after all, is too short and we each owe ourselves that pleasure!

Have a good weekend.

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Blogger Dominic Hare said...

Wot, no pictures?

October 23, 2009 at 5:36 AM  
Anonymous John Hoy said...

Thanks Dom - no time for the geeky stuff - just sticking to the core messages!


October 23, 2009 at 5:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The question lots of us annual pass holders want to know - will you be running the scheme next year?

Overall we have been half a dozen times this year - only went once in 15 years before this year! Every time we've been we have purchased something, or even taken paying guests, so it is a great scheme all round - so hope you repeat it!

October 28, 2009 at 5:20 AM  
Anonymous John Hoy said...

Many thanks for your comment - yes, we are going to repeat the annual pass scheme next year and we hope that all of those who subscribed this year will renew as their 12 month pass expires into 2010. The arrangements will be virtually identical for 2010 subject only to a small price increase for the individual tickets - an adult ticket will be £18 for next year.

I am delighted that you have connected so strongly with us this year - hopefully we can also keep you happy next year and beyond.


October 28, 2009 at 9:05 AM  

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