The National Museum of the Royal Navy operates a series of fourteen museums, historic ships and attractions across five sites in the UK, in an effort to tell the nation the Naval story on the sea, under the sea, in the air and on the land. They have large-scale restoration projects such as HMS Caroline in Belfast and the Mary Rose in Portsmouth, and are the third most visited attraction in the UK outside of London (ALVA, 2016) with more than one million visitors last year.
Many of the attractions are run by volunteers, and subsequently staff are in small numbers. With this, they do not have the time or resources to ensure that the large number of websites and Facebook pages are kept constantly up to date with all the local news, events and offers.
Having that many different websites and systems is time consuming and difficult, and it doesn’t make their job easy to keep everything running. This is where Widgety has been able to help.
Step 1) Create places, upload events, images and resources to the Widgety platform.
Step 2) Build a series of Widgets to embed on Facebook pages.
Step 3) Integrate the “Widgety API into each of the NMRN websites, or for the short-term while some websites were being rebuilt, use Widgets to display information.
Step 4) Push out NMRN information to the Widgets in Portsmouth and the South that displays attractions and things to do.
With one account, the museums have been able to create their places, add in events either individually or by using the bulk uploader, upload images in organised galleries and store brochures and resources in one easy place.
When the Widgets have been embedded and the API integrated. one member of staff can update the information in Widgety and it will automatically update on their own websites, Facebook pages, hotel and destination websites, and any other Visitor Information Centre in the Widgety network.
"NMRN estimate that across all of their attractions, it saves them two days a week of staff time, plus money saved in local marketing and print costs"
In the year 1 April 2015 - 31 March 2016, the NMRN reached a total audience of 4,262,169 people on Facebook alone, and achieved a further 32,000 interactions on Twitter; an audience not to be ignored. However many of the pages had not been updated often, and there was no cross-promotion between attractions. Since many of them are located in the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard and neighbouring Gosport, these attractions could have been promoting one another, as it is unlikely that a visiting family are only interested in one ship or one museum.
The Widgety iFrames changed all of this: easy to build, quick to install and integrating seamlessly with Facebook, every page can now have a listing of its own events, events at other NMRN sites, a map and guide of the attractions and a Brochure Rack for all their resources.
The information that was put into Widgety to be used by the NMRN websites and other third-party sites can be pulled out through iFrames to be embedded on Facebook. Still having only put the information in once, it keeps all the pages completely up-to-date while also benefiting the wider marketing effort with the local hotels.
Making the Most of Every Opportunity
Another marketing opportunity for the NMRN is in private events, with 75 weddings and more than 250 conferences, seminars and training sessions held at the attractions in 2016. Plus a further 77,000 learning visits from schools, colleges and universities, from the UK and further afield.
However it was difficult, if not impossible, to find and download any up-to-date wedding or conference brochures, and schools’ information was scattered across the websites. Now, the NMRN have been able to create a Brochure Rack using the Widgety system. Someone from each attraction or site can keep their brochures up to date and it will automatically feed out to the other NMRN Facebook pages and websites, taking the work away from one person trying to collaborate brochures and resources between the managers of each attraction. Furthermore, we know now that a lot of wedding enquiries come from Facebook, so the wedding brochure can be put in front of the people who want it the most.