Site visit report essay

In this paper we are going to make an analysis of the well known attractions such as Royal Ontario Museum and Metro Toronto Convention Centre, both situated in Toronto. We will study the most important facts about them, starting from their history, development and modern changes; with the help of Swarbrook’s typology we will evaluate the attraction; we will make SWOT analysis for both of the attractions, also considering the major possible marketing strategies and their major functions.

The first attraction, we are going to talk about, is the Royal Ontario Museum, also known under the short name ”“ ROM. Based on the typology worked out by Swarbrooke, the Royal Ontario Museum belongs to the third type, i.e. to the human-made buildings for attracting tourists and other visitors. This is the biggest museum of natural history and world culture in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. There are 40 galleries and more than six million exhibits. This museum was established in 1857 as the Museum of Natural History and Fine Arts (Bradford and  Duncan, 2006).First it was managed by the University of Toronto, however nowadays, it became independent, only providing resources for the university. The building was constructed based on the Italianate Neo-Romanesque style, which was rather popular in 1870s. “The structure is heavily massed and punctuated by rounded and segmented arched windows with heavy surrounds and hood mouldings. Other features include applied decorative eave brackets, quoins and cornices” (Bradford and  Duncan, 2006).

From the very beginning there were five galleries in the ROM. Each of the galleries was to reflect the findings of archeology, mineralogy, paleontology, geology and zoology. A lot of changes were done within the historical period of development of the museum. For example the collection of insects consisted of insects from all over the world, which were pinned in long rows under glass. There was the name of each specie and short description provided. The 1960s brought more interpretive displays ”“ like for example the dinosaur gallery (Shaw, 1994). To the dinosaur fossils, which were standing in various poses, there were paintings and models of landscapes added in order to represent the times, when they lived, in a more picaresque way. Later on most of the galleries became dynamic and interpretive with more descriptions. By the 1980s The Bat Cave was created, where a special sound and light systems were applied. Visitors had the impression of walking in a real cave with bats. All the galleries are subdivided into two categories: The World Culture Galleries and the Natural History Galleries. The brightest galleries, reflecting the world cultures are the Chinese Galleries, the Gallery of Africa, the Gallery of Korea, the Gallery of Japan. In one of the Chinese galleries there is a unique collection of Chinese architectural artifacts. There is a Ming-era Tomb set and reconstruction of an Imperial Palace (Bradford and Duncan, 2006). There a lot of other fascinating galleries and exhibits in the ROM. Based on this short presentation of the museum, we could conclude, that in reality there is no need in development of a great number of marketing strategies. The museum itself is a great and unique piece of history, which could be of enormous interest for scientists, students, usual tourists of various ages. On the other hand the key to the success of the museum was the constant updating of the way of presentation of the historical facts. Like with the example of the Bat Cave ”“ the usage of special sound support contributed to attraction of more visitors. Certainly along with development of new computer technologies, it is possible to make a lot of additions to the information presented, and to review the ways of presenting the already existing information, in order to make it more modern and attractive. At the moment there is probably no necessity to manage big advertisements campaigns in order to attract visitors, this museum is well known enough already, only in case of some new features added, it seems logical to announce about the changes and updates, which would be interesting not only to new visitors, but to those, who were in this museum already.

To support our marketing strategies we are going to use a brief SWOT analysis of the ROM. Speaking about weak points of this museum, this is not easy to find a lot, although there are some. First of all this is evident, that a huge structure of the museum needs corresponding costs in management, maintenance and support. Also sufficient costs are needed in order to make further developments of the museum if necessary. Finding new information, development of new design and effects for presenting it will be also rather expensive. Another weak point might be considered the fact, that museums start to lose popularity with young generations that are used to get the necessary information from Internet.

The main strengths of the museum are of course its historical, artistic and scientific values. Some of its galleries are unique and a great deal of time might be needed in order to collect all the information, presented there. Of course there is always place for further development and growth, for working out other directions of natural and cultural studies and adjustment to modern technologies, as the main opportunities for the future. Threats to the ROM were actually mentioned among weaknesses, like for example lack of interest from young people, who are spending more time at their computers surfing in Internet if they need any kind of information of communication. But although Internet might be a serious alternative in this case, it can never be a complete substitution of the museum.

Based on the SWOT analysis, we see, that the major functions, fulfilled by the ROM are education and entertainment. The museum’s facilities can be used for making excursions, some kind of seminars and additional studies materials for the students.

The second object of our investigation is the Metro Toronto Convention Center, which is also situated in Toronto, Ontario. Based on the Swarbrooke’s typology, we can conclude, that the convention center belongs to human-made and purpose-built attractions. The building of the convention center was finished in autumn of 1984, “and is home to the 1330 seat John Bassett Theatre, currently used for Canadian Idol. Large convention gatherings will sometimes also make use of the nearby Rogers Centre as a venue” (Mayer, 2007). From the east side of the complex, visitors were used to see the former Canadian National Railways L’Hotel, which is at the moment transformed into Inter Continental Toronto Center with 586 rooms available. In the same street there is the CBC’s Canadian Broad Casting Center; a footbridge connects the Center to Union Station. In 1997 the convention space was expanded by adding a new underground addition, the designers for which were Bregman and Haman Architects. The convention center used to be the place for a number of important events within the years of its existence, fro example “the G7 conference in 1988 as well as the 1985 NHL Entry Draft. It also hosted the XVI International AIDS Conference in 2006. As well, it has played host to Toronto auditions for So You Think You Can Dance Canada and Canadian Idol. It has also been the site of numerous political conventions” (Mayer, 2007). The Convention Center has the total square of 600.000 square feet, including 64 rooms for meetings, theatre for 1.330 places and 2 ballrooms. Apart of the hotel and meeting rooms there are also shopping, restaurants and other attractions.

Analyzing the Convention Center from the marketing point of view, we see, that it is rather popular and thus needs no opening advertisements. It is only necessary to keep the audience constantly informed about the news and new developments of the center. The target audience is mostly big businesses, corporations and companies, which would need the meeting rooms for discussions and presentations as well as hotel rooms for guests from other places inside the country or from abroad. As for the new elements to be added, it is possible to develop some small sports attractions for people to spend time and to communicate not only in restaurants, but also making some physical exercises.

Making the SWOT analysis of the Metro Toronto Convention Center we should stop at its strength such as the location of it, as it is situated very close to the financial and cultural districts of the city and not far from the Pearson International Airport. Very big space and a great number of additional services allow the Convention Center to attract people from all over the world for various shows and conferences, international as well. All the technological facilities are developed enough in order to prove excellent service.

Weaknesses of the center are certainly orientation of mostly big scale events or operations, with around 40 000 persons taking part in them, although possible for less number of people of course. The same like the ROM, which was discussed earlier, due to its huge size and great number of personnel involved, the costs for maintenance and support for the center are sufficiently big.

Opportunities there are a lot, taking into consideration, that due to constantly developing business and international relations there will always be a need in such centers for various purposes. Development of new technologies can also find different applications in the Convention Center.

Possible threats are certainly related to the general economic situation in the country and development of international relations as well. Certainly during the period of the world economic crises like now, this is really hard to make any concrete assumptions and evaluations, but at the moment there is no serious threat for it and there are a lot of possibilities of utilization of the center as a combination of entertainment and business facilities.

Overall, in this paper we presented brief descriptions of the Royal Ontario Museum and Metro Toronto Convention Centre, using the typology of Swarbrooke, along with analysis of the possible marketing strategies for further development and changes; worked on the SWOT analysis for both of the attractions, pointing out the fours elements ”“ strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the museum and the center; tried to define the possible functions of the attractions and the spheres of everyday life they are mostly related to.

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