This month, at the Abbey, the Resilient Heritage team have been supporting the staged reopening and helping to develop opportunities in the post-lockdown world. These have involved working through our cafe reopening, exploring ways to develop our shop online, and beginning the process of socially distant tours.
On August 1st our coffee shop reopened on a reduced basis (Mondays and Saturdays only) with a reduced menu. This has allowed us to test our COVID measures and work with out reduced volunteer basis. For the time being the days and menu offer of the shop will stay the same, however as measures change and guidance solidifies we will explore ways to increase our opening and offer.
Over August we have begun training our new tour guides who will help to deliver our socially distant tours. This has involved communications training, developing a tour plan and researching the necessary parts so the guides feel comfortable while delivering a first-class tour. We are currently finishing off the last stages of the training and will update everyone when dates become available to book tours.
Tripadvisor Travelers’ Choice
This month we found out we had been awarded a 2020 Tripadvisor Travelers’ Choice Award, meaning we ranked in the top 10% of attractions worldwide. After working so hard on our welcome over the last few months to ensure everyone feels safe, secure and enjoys their visit we feel very grateful to have been recognised for this.
Resilience Heritage Audits
After the whirlwind of reopening, grant applications and restarting of many projects, many of the audits had been on pause while we tried to figure out ways to do them securely. The suspension of touch screen, leaflets and any other material that may increase a COVID surface contact, meant that we have to think of innovative ways to collect data in order for us to develop what we offer the local community. We have started by placing laminated QR codes on our coffee shop tables that link to an experience survey. While these limit our reach to smartphone users, they are a starting point for the recommencing of data collection to see how visitors enjoy exploring the sacred space.
We have also began auditing our Tripadvisor account, comparing the Abbey to other large churches in the area, as well as other attractions in the Selby area. This has allowed us to see the Abbey’s position in the wider heritage ecosystem, as well as the tourist economy. The images below show the amazing reviews the Abbey has recieved.
Finally, this month, we have began reviewing our interpretation, carrying out in depth audits. This involved individuals, namely our volunteers completing an audit form about their experience when reading our interpretive panels, as well as other information available before and after their ‘visit’. Over the coming months this audit will be expanded to include members of the community and other interested individuals to gain a range of responses from a range of individuals.
As the summer holidays draw to a close, the coming months will be spent developing and launching our tours, compiling and analysing data from our audits and beginning to work closely with our partners across Selby on a variety of exciting projects… which I’m sure will be mentioned in the coming blog posts.