“We want to share our story with all our visitors and offer them the option to immerse themselves in the destination”.
Powerscourt Estate, House & Gardens has 800 years of history. They needed to find the most effective approach to communicate their history, story and characters to all their visitors regardless of their language.
Read the story
National Geographic declared Powerscourt Estate, House & Gardens the 3rd most beautiful garden in the world. It is one of the top 10 tourist attractions in Ireland, with an average of 300,000 visitors to the Gardens and over 1,000,000 to the entire estate each year.
Domestic visitors represent 60% of this figure, while the other 40% is represented by international visitors. Interpretive material including a map and a visual presentation was available in English but this was not suitable or sufficient for non-English speaking visitors.
This drove Powerscourt to look for a solution that allowed improved accessibility and engagement with non-English speaking visitors while at the same time also improving the overall visitor experience for their English speaking visitors.
The challenge was identifying the best solution to fulfill their visitors’ needs.
Powerscourt faced two major challenges. The first was that many of their visitors did not speak English. The second was that their attraction is outdoors.
Initially, they thought about using information panels. However, filling the gardens with large text panels, and it not being easy to make changes to the text, did not meet their needs.
They came to the conclusion that audio guide technology was the most practical solution. Powerscourt chose Guide ID’s audio guide system, having seen the product at similar attractions and having recognised its benefits. Eventually Powerscourt became the first tourist attraction in Ireland to use the system.
To ensure that as many of their visitors as possible benefited from the system, they decided to provide the audio guide to everyone. Visitors are given a choice between using a Podcatcher audio guide or downloading the Podcatcher app to their mobile phones.
Guide ID was able to make the implementation process as easy as possible by providing everything from full technical support to help with locating the charging cabinets and suggestions about the visitor flow.
After 3 years of working with Guide ID, Powerscourt has seen a significant improvement in their visitor experience and this makes them stand out from other tourist attractions in Ireland.
The usage of tours saw a significant increase in the past years. In 2016, the year of implementation, the system saw an average of around 2000 uses per month. This grew quickly to almost 5,000 in 2017, and over 6,000 in 2018. A total increase of 200%.
Powerscourt’s investment in this new service for their visitors has helped them to position themselves at the top of Ireland’s tourist attractions, offering a first class experience.
Powerscourt benefits from being able to monitor and see the pickup rate in real time, through Guide ID’s online data analytics programme. Having access to figures on audio guide usage, the tracks to which the visitors listen, the languages, the tours and how much of the tracks are listed to, enables Powerscourt to develop a real understanding of how their visitors behave and to plan based on hard data.
Aoife O’Driscoll, Marketing & Communications Manager of Powerscourt Estate has the following suggestions for visitor attractions considering implementing an audio guide: “Research indicates that visitors to tourist attractions want to engage in a destination’s heritage through learning and are particularly interested in its stories and people. I would advise attractions to put together their most resonant stories and to consider what they want to leave their visitors thinking and talking about. What are the key stories that you want them to tell their friends when they get home? The answers to these questions will help you to plan out the content of your audio guides, resulting visitor experience and future marketing and word of mouth.”
The audio guide has been key to assisting Powerscourt at tradeshows when talking with tour operators from different countries and positioning Powerscourt as an international visitor attraction where visitors can immerse themselves in the destination, characters and history, without language being an obstacle.