Saturday, February 6, 2010

One week to go!

Life at "the Palace" is a hive of activity as the countdown to the 2010 season reaches it's last week.

High level/low level cleaning is reaching a crescendo (not sure if cleaning can reach a crescendo but it feels as though it is?!) and everything is being cleaned, polished and painted ready for the doors to open next Saturday. There is always excitement around opening and there is always a keen anticipation for the months ahead - we have the same excellent core team in place and we go into year two of the annual pass scheme.

A year ago we were treading unknown ground with the annual pass scheme as it was a totally new initiative & product for us to trial; this year we open with 98,ooo annual pass holders out there and the uncertainty this year surrounds how the scheme will perform in year two. We are maintaining the scheme pretty much unchanged - a very clean and simple message - "Buy One Day - Get 12 Months Free!" - and we hope it will be popular again with high levels of renewals and high levels of new subscribers driven by positive word of mouth.

We have produced an excellent annual pass holders booklet which summarises a whole raft of initiatives, discounts and offers across the year - there really is a wonderful array of ways for an annual pass holder to connect with us and to derive excellent value from the relationship.

We hope year two will exceed our expectations - watch this space!

We are also looking to refresh and re-launch our "Friends" scheme and to run this through our charity - the Blenheim Palace Foundation - which will be very tax efficient through the gift aid scheme and which will allow us to demonstrate a direct linkage between our Friends support and the extensive repair and restoration agenda that lies ahead. Friends will have a dedicated hospitality space on site as well as a special programme of evening lectures and talks - we hope this 'product' will appeal and that "Friends" numbers will grow over the coming months.

We open with a 6 week exhibition in the Long Library showing an amazing collection of photographs depicting the winning Gardens from the last 25 years of the Historic Houses Association + Christie's Garden of the Year Award. Around 80 framed photographs, commissioned from a number of the country's leading photographers, will grace the Long Library and will look stunning - a "must see" once we get open next weekend.

At home, the girls are working hard at school and making us very proud with their achievements whilst Tracy is hard at work planning our forthcoming project to refresh/enlarge our kitchen. Only 7 years in the planning and now finally about to become reality - will be glad to get it underway and to get it completed - and to maintain our sanity throughout!

The weather yesterday felt positively spring-like (but the forecast talks of more snow and ice - aaaarrrrgggghhhh!!!!) and we hope to launch next Saturday with a positive start which then carries us through with positive momentum for the whole season.

Come back and see us very soon; use and renew your annual passes; explore and connect with the updated Friends scheme and make full use of everything on offer this year at Blenheim Palace.

We need your support and we value the contribution that you make to the long term restoration of this priceless world heritage site.

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Anonymous John Hoy said...

Thanks Paul - apologies for the delay in replying.

We were very disappointed that the planned Festival for Heroes concert did not materialise last year - we had hoped that it may resurface for 2010 but as yet we have heard nothing from the organisers - great shame but I suspect it now looks unlikely for this year - at least here at Blenheim Palace.

We have our annual Battle Proms Concert in July and we are working on plans for three small concerts in June that we hope will confirm very shortly.

Thanks again for your interest


February 6, 2010 at 2:23 AM  

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