• Lisbeth Vestergaard Lauridsen
4. term, Tourism, Master (Master Programme)
Abstract This master thesis focuses on how museums can get an increased number of children and youngsters to visit museums and thereby increase the number of visiting full nesters. The thesis is divided into three areas of analysis and discussion. The first part focuses on the difficulties museums are facing presently, with stagnant number of visitors and particular problems regarding their image in proportion to attracting children and the young. This group of tourists is the most difficult group for museums to attract. This is an important issue. Not only because children and the young themselves don’t want to go to museums, but recent studies in full nesters regarding the decision-making process when it comes to choosing holiday destinations and family activities show that the decision-making process is much influenced by the younger members of the family. The studies made by Gram & Therkelsen emphasize that parents often put their own needs and wishes aside and the wishes of their offspring first, when it comes to choosing family holiday activities. Thus, it is a major problem that museums are unattractive to children and the young. My qualitative user surveys used in this thesis show that many of the respondents (aged 11 to 18 years) find museums boring and uninteresting. Many of the respondents also point out that they only visit museums when their school, or, in a fewer cases, their parents tell them that they must go. Most of the respondents appear to have only visited museums during school outings. Not only do many youngsters only visit museums when they absolutely have to, but a study made by Trine Bille et al. shows that they seem to prefer other kinds of tourist attractions and leisure activities which, to a far higher extent than most museums, are based on delivering the framework for exciting experiences and interactive participation from the tourists. As the analysis of the present situation of the museums undoubtedly shows, the competition for gaining the favour of the children and the young is clearly getting harder and the museums seem to be losing the battle as it is now. Something has to be done in order to secure the future of the museums. The qualitative user surveys used in this thesis clearly show that there is something wrong with the product that museums can offer the tourists when it comes to attracting children and the young. This unavoidably leads to the conclusion that the museums have to alter the product they offer tourists, if they wish to be able to attract children and the young in the future. Due to the need for change, this thesis therefore also focuses on user driven innovation as a means to change what museums can offer young visitors. Merit & Nielsen have worked with user driven innovation for many years and have developed a method to secure accuracy towards the market segment when it comes to developing new products and concepts. This method is called Conceptual Discovery (Konceptuel Opdagelse) and focuses on the front-end phase which is the most important phase in product development. Merit & Nielsen argue that if the work accomplished in the front-end phase is done correctly and are made to meet the requirements of the chosen market segment, then the final product or concept will most likely have a very high chance for success in order to attract the market segment. It is therefore of major importance that museums conduct the seven phases of Conceptual Discovery as best as they possibly can with the means they have at their disposal. Thus, this part of the thesis is therefore a discussion of what museums need to do as well as what they must be particularly aware of in order to secure the accuracy of their new product or concept towards the chosen market segment. The third part focuses on what issues museums are likely to deal with if they make use of respondents from the above mentioned market segment in new product development. The third part of the thesis thus focuses on the ideas, wishes, and proposals that this group has towards museums and especially towards museum exhibitions and the issues associated with them. This part of the thesis is mainly based on the results from the qualitative user surveys with respondents aged 11 to 18 years and takes form as a discussion and assessment of the usefulness of the ideas, wishes and proposals of the chosen market segment. However, the assessment and discussion will also involve theoretical aspects from different theories regarding the experience economy. The assessment and discussion of the ideas, wishes and proposals clearly shows that it must be recommended that museums make use of new product development based on user driven innovation as soon as possible in order to eliminate the problems of their present situation.
Publication date2009
Publishing institutionAalborg Universitet
ID: 17994511