Visitor Verdict is a powerful visitor-research tool. Its strength is the low burden it places on participating museums: only visitor email addresses have to be collected by the museum and then the online system sends out personalised email surveys and collates and analyses visitors’ responses. Museums log into the Visitor Verdict website to see their results.

Tamalie Newbery, AIM’s Executive Director told Advisor, “AIM Visitor Verdict has really taken off in the past few weeks. Those who signed up in 2013 are finding the insights they are now getting are helping them make quick changes to operations which are improving the visitor experience and increasing their income. Since we announced the 80 new places on 19th March, we have been delighted with the number of new signups, which are coming through every day.”

The other great benefit of the scheme is the ability to compare the museum’s own results with the anonymised results of other similar groups of museums, by size, subject, location and other variables. This ability to benchmark performance in every area from spends per head to the quality of the visitor experience makes the insights gained much more useful.

Diane Clements, Director at the Library and Museum of Freemasonry, explains how she’s using this new insight resource in many different ways. She shares the overall enjoyment score with staff “as it’s a concept that they can take on board and work to improve.” The insights also helped her understand the main motivation of different visitors and their demographic profile. Of particular benefit was the revelation that 40% of visitors were not even looking in the shop, a higher figure than for similar museums. She explains, “Our shop is an important source of funding. This is useful for us to make sure we tell visitors about the shop and food for thought for the Shop Manager.”

Visitor Verdict is funded by Arts Council England until September 2015 and participation is free until then for all AIM members. The good news is that additional places have now been agreed for those outside England. Membership of AIM starts from as little as £40 a year and is open to all museums, galleries and heritage attractions, including local authority museums. As well as access to Visitor Verdict, those who join will also get all the other benefits of AIM’s advice and support on income generation, volunteering and many other areas.

If you are interested in finding out more about AIM and Visitor Verdict, more information is available on AIM’s website Visitor Verdict has its own website or contact AIM’s Executive Director, Tamalie Newbery or on 0777 333 6164.

Hear more about benchmarking and how it can help you in BDRC’s talk The insider’s view – what do your visitors think and why does it matter? at the Museums + Heritage Show

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