Case study: V&A Museum of Design, Dundee: Visitor Forecasting
V&A Museum of Design Dundee is currently under construction on Dundee’s Waterfront. Scotinform has been V&A Dundee’s research partner since 2015, undertaking research on a variety of subjects from propensity to visit to responses to specific exhibitions. We were delighted to extend this relationship further by preparing visitor forecasts for V&A Dundee supported by funding from Scottish Enterprise. The project was led by Helen Duncan, who brought visitor forecasting and business planning skills to Scotinform when she joined the team.
Scotinform was asked to prepare forecasted throughputs for V&A Dundee for the first five years of operation. Forecasts were to include projected attendance to the paid exhibitions as well as events, catering and retail. The results would be used to inform a range of activities in the lead-up the building opening in 2018, including financial planning, marketing, audience development and operations.
This was a wide-ranging project that included a range of methodologies:
We profiled the catchment areas for V&A Dundee using Mosaic, a geodemographic profiling tool. This allowed us to identify the key characteristics of the local and day visit audience and, when combined with our own previous propensity data and our underrating of the competitive environment for V&A Dundee, allowed us to derive market penetration rates. A similar approach was used to project attendance from tourists. All projections took account of population growth for the area and the regeneration and economic development initiatives designed to increase the volume and value of tourism.
A comprehensive comparator review allowed us to set the forecasts in context. We profiled high profile visitor attractions in regeneration areas as well as museums and galleries with paid and free elements to the visitor offer. The findings of the review were used to “sense-check” the forecasts and inform likely capture rates for the paid exhibitions.
Scotinform provided V&A Dundee with a core set of forecasts that could be used to inform subsequent operations and planning. Forecasts were prepared for each market and adjusted for seasonality, with estimates made of the peak design capacity required to service the projected demand levels.
All of the underlying assumptions were set out in full and we provided the team with a model whereby the key assumptions could be adjusted to determine the impact on visitor numbers. We also undertook some scenario modelling, in collaboration with the client, to test the impact of adjusting key assumptions.
“Scotinform were great to work with, professional and responsive. Underpinned by business planning and audience insight, their visitor forecast model is an important tool informing the future development of V&A Dundee. The work supports our strategic decisions and is also hugely practical providing key learnings and actions to help improve how we do things. So much so that we christened it the ‘gold dust’ report!”
Jane Ferguson, Director of Audiences and Media
We combine extensive research capabilities with broad sectoral knowledge. This ensures that our forecasts are robust and grounded in valid, bespoke data.
We hold a licence for Mosaic UK and Mosaic Scotland. This allows us to profile residential catchment areas and to provide insight into your visitors using language that makes sense to your marketing partners and allows you to find your target audiences.
We adopt a collaborative approach to working with you to ensure that you understand the process, are happy with the assumptions and are able to see the impact of adjusting them.