An expert view with…

Paul GossagePAUL GOSSAGE

DIRECTOR OF MARKETING & PR,
THE IRONBRIDGE GORGE MUSEUM TRUST

How do you connect Ironbridge with the groups market and has your approach evolved over the years?

We are lucky to have an amazing World Heritage visitor attraction in our 10 remarkable museums and magnificent natural scenery. We know that the Blists Hill Victorian Town is our jewel and therefore we present that to groups strongly but realise that there are many other products that we can offer by various combinations of visit and specialist themes, and over the years we have changed the packages that we offer. Our Group Ticket is designed to offer outstanding value by giving access to all 10 museums for up to five days from the date of arrival. We also have various hands-on and guided visits including those led by our costumed characters. I have learnt that there is always something new that we can add once we start exploring an individual group’s interests.

How do you go about covering all the elements of a group offer? Is it different to individuals?

I work to the maxim of the five ‘P’s’, which are product, package, price, partners and promotion. Every group is made up of individuals, all of which have different interests and levels of understanding. Our Groups’ Manager will talk to the group leader ahead of their visit to discuss the needs of the group and make sure that an appropriate itinerary is developed.

What extra touches have you deployed to make a group visit special?

We like to make visitors arriving as a group feel extra special. This might be as simple as hiring one of our expert guides, a lecture from one of the curators, a behind the scenes tour or even a hands-on workshop. We also understand that a strong part of any group visit is the social aspect; like-minded people come together to enjoy each other’s company as well as the attraction itself, so we work hard to ensure that groups can enjoy refreshments together, such as afternoon tea, lunch or at Christmas, a festive lunch accompanied by Music Hall entertainers.

Paul went on from university to work for Queens Moat House Hotels. He has also worked at Coombe Abbey and Warwick Castle, where he was responsible for the castle’s domestic groups business. For the last 11 years, he has headed up the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust’s marketing department.