Camera Obscura

Camera Obscura and World of Illusions

Andrew Johnson from Camera Obscura and World of Illusions talks about the importance of using visitor feedback, and how it contributes to the success of his business.

Andrew Johnson from Camera Obscura and World of Illusions talks about the importance of using visitor feedback, and how it contributes to success of the business.

Andrew Johnson is the Director of popular Edinburgh tourist attraction Camera Obscura and World of Illusions. He realised that listening to customer feedback was essential to the success of the attraction and continued improvement of the visitor experience.

“We run a daily post visit survey to ask our visitors for feedback about our exhibitions. We receive approximately 1,500 surveys back every year and these go a long way to helping us understand which aspects of the visit people enjoy the most, as well as anything that we need to improve on.  

“We listen to our frontline staff, visitors from other attractions; experts in our field and we also read feedback from TripAdvisor, Google + reviews,  Facebook , Twitter and  anywhere else we are mentioned on Google Alerts. Many of our popular exhibits have come about through listening to our visitors. By listening, watching and acting on feedback we have improved the visit to the extent that more than half of our visitors come because of personal recommendation. TripAdvisor has been particularly important to us in understanding how our visitors perceive us. It is a very popular site for all aspects of planning a trip, from which hotels they stay in, to which restaurants or visitor attractions they visit. We identified very quickly how important it was for us to focus time and effort on reading reviews and to take on board anything that we need to from them. We take poor reviews on the chin, learn from them and make changes accordingly if required. Most reviewers, however, rate their visit as excellent, and as these reviews are read by thousands of visitors, we think it greatly aids the business.”

Guaranteed Visit

Such is the importance of listening to visitor feedback and creating the best experience, Andrew introduced a scheme which guaranteed visitors would enjoy their visit or receive a full refund of admission.  

Guaranteeing the visit is a novel addition to marketing and is advertised on leaflets, tickets, website and the reception area. Andrew explained:

“Visitors seem to like the safety net of the refund, even if they don’t take us up on it. It shows that we are confident in our product while also encouraging visitors to take a chance on visiting a place that really has to be experienced to be understood.  Vitally, it encourages visitors to speak up promptly and without any fear of not being taken seriously on the rare occasions something goes wrong. But as we aim to delight every customer we are equally happy to refund if it simply isn’t their cup of tea.  This policy might seem risky, but due to the quality of the visit, people very rarely take us up on this – the average is just 1/10 of 1% of our visitors.”

Front Line Staff

Andrew also understands that gathering all of this feedback is all very well, but the value is greatly magnified if the feedback is shared throughout the organisation. He shares survey results, Facebook comments and TripAdvisor reviews with his staff, and this encourages a real sense of pride among the team. Andrew also uses this time for two way communication with his staff to listen to their viewpoints and any problems they have identified, which all comes together to help raise the quality of the visitor experience.

Find out how you can make the most of visitor feedback with the Tourism Intelligence Scotland Listening to our Visitors guide