The National Memorial Arboretum is the UK’s year-round centre of remembrance and home to the iconic Armed Forces Memorial which was dedicated in the presence of Her Majesty the Queen in 2007. It is a living, growing tribute to those who have served and continue to serve our Nation and an uplifting place of reflection for those who wish to remember a loved one.
Forming part of the National Forest in Staffordshire, the Arboretum has
grown organically over the last 15 years and has seen visitor numbers soar from 60,000 to 300,000 per year. Its 30,000 trees (including all but one of the UK’s indigenous species) and 300 plus memorials fill a 150-acre site which continues to evolve with new dedications and plantings each year. In line with this growth, the Arboretum team has worked hard to strengthen its programme of events to enhance the visitor experience and attract new audiences.
Until 2014, all bookings for events, group visits and learning trips were captured on an Outlook calendar, accessible by the whole organisation. Inevitably this was not the most efficient system for a growing, national attraction in the 21st century and a paper diary, used as a back-up system, was also a time-hungry administrative distraction from what needed to be a slick customer-focussed process.
The Arboretum had also been successful in capturing data and while adequate data protection controls were in place, a more efficient system was required so the data could be used proactively for the benefit of the charity for both marketing purposes and fundraising.
After a thorough research process involving visits to similar visitor centres, the team shortlisted three providers which were subsequently invited to present to the Arboretum’s management team. TOR was selected on its ability to deliver the key requirements in the most effective and easy-to-use way. The layers of information required, the disparate audiences and reports needed meant that the system needed to work cross-departmentally from the outset.
Since its implementation, the system has enabled the Arboretum to accommodate more pre-paid activity therefore maximising income opportunities and improving customer service. Customer calls are quicker as data is easy to retrieve and the marketing team can identify customers to target for specific events. Overall the system has ‘paved the way for growth’ in the future, especially as the Arboretum is about to embark on a multi-million pound capital project to redevelop its visitor facilities, part of which will be a paid for exhibition with tickets being processed through TOR’s ‘Maxim’ system.
So, from little acorns great oaks grow and the future of events at the National Memorial Arboretum is definitely set to grow.