An Expert View With…

EBEMILY BARNES

group sales manager, Tate

How important are groups to the Tate?

Groups are extremely important to us. From schools, groups of friends, overseas tour parties, societies and clubs, Tate is keen to attract all types of groups and tries to offer something a little bit different to other attractions for group visitors. We appreciate the advance notice of visits we get from groups, which helps us plan our capacity, and having one point of contact for 10-110 people is invaluable to us. Plus, they are some of our most loyal repeat visitors!

What do you try and do to offer added value to groups?

It’s important to us that visitors get the most out of their visit, whether that’s learning about a particular work of art or finding out more about one of our special exhibitions with a Tate Guide, enjoying a sketching session with an artist educator or simply looking around at the right pace. For groups, these are all things that can be especially arranged in advance. We try to make each visit as stress-free and individually tailored for the group organiser as possible!

How do you manage the groups that visit so that they can enjoy the experience amongst your individual visitors, particularly at busy times?

We encourange groups to book their visit in advance, which allows us to manage our arrivals and exhibitions better. When groups book a private tour through Tate, we keep group sizes below 25 and will provide as many guides as necessary to do this. We also use our special Group Guiding System for larger groups – a head set and microphone set-up, which allows the guide to talk at a conversational level and interact solely with a particular group. It’s very useful to stop individual visitors trying to join in the tour! Groups enjoying a meal at Tate can pre-book their food choices and if they are also booking a private lecture about one of our exhibitions, they have the option of a buffet lunch in a private room.

Emily joined the Tate in 2006 and worked as its Contact Centre Manager for two years before taking on her current role. Previously she studied Art and Archaeology at Manchester University. She is a member of the Group Travel Business Forum.