The purpose of the Visitor Experience Strategy and Product Development Action Plan for this National Historic Site in downtown Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario was to mobilize a list of targeted recommendations and corresponding actions, designed to tighten the tourism focus and invigorate the visitor. The project had the following goals: to increase revenue and visitation (focusing on paid visits), to revitalize and develop site tourism products and experiences that match the target market’s needs, to identify targeted community opportunities to raise the profile of the site, and to identify opportunities for partnerships.
The project scope considered the visitor experience connected to the historical and cultural interpretation of the site, as well as its use as a local public recreational facility. Project tactics included:
- facilitation of staff and stakeholder workshops to gain input into the plan and to explore opportunities and barriers related to the current visitor experience,
- research into the current tourism environment,
- case studies surrounding other similar experiences, and
- analysis of the site’s finances and current on-site tourism product offerings and refinement options in line with target markets for the experience.
The strategy’s recommendations for visitor experience developments matched target consumer segments with new and refined visitor experiences and detailed a product development plan that linked to the strategic goals of the project. The final report presented strategic findings and recommendations based on the logical visitor flow of the Parks Canada ‘Path to Connect’ process. This ensured that all aspects of the visitor experience connected to each other and worked together to create a satisfied customer. As a result of the project, the National Historic Site has undertaken several on-site redevelopment initiatives.
Working with BC Hughes was a terrific experience. Chris and the team took the time to really understand our site and our needs. They toured the grounds, conducted research, asked questions, and connected with the staff to dig deeper. They facilitated an excellent stakeholder workshop with high engagement and productive discussions that resulted in meaningful information to feed into the final report. They were timely with their submissions and willing to work with us on making changes as required. Their knowledge of the current state and trends in the Ontario tourism industry is extensive and we definitely benefitted from their specific awareness of the northern Ontario market. They were enjoyable and easy to work with and delivered a high quality, useable product at the end of the project. I would highly recommend them! – Parks Canada Staff