Ask a small business owner what the five essential office items that he or she needs are, and the answers are likely to be: a laptop, a broadband connection, a printer, a smartphone and a shredder. You are not likely to mention a projector as part of the essential five, but you may change your mind after reading about how Chester Cathedral uses a multi-sensory audio-visual presentation to showcase history and increase its visitor numbers by 300 per cent.
The tourism industry in Britain is an incredibly competitive marketplace. Many attractions need to rely on old-fashioned charm, which often requires an expensive upkeep to thrive. On the other hand, visitor numbers may drop and operational funds may shrink. Chester Cathedral, a place rich in histories, was faced with this challenge too.
The management team at the cathedral looked at a few options to bring in more visitors, and eventually chose to open up their bell tower and use the atmospheric area to create a modern exhibition space. The project, known as ‘Cathedral at Height’, gained traction and eventually received a grant from the local council to go ahead. With that, the work began in summer 2013, and a few transformations were carried out in the Grade 1 listed building.
Part of the AV experience was using two Epson EB-G6350 LCD projectors to project images onto the dark sandstone walls. This particular model is capable of an output of 7,000 lumens of both white and colour light, allowing vivid and rich colour content to be shown in a variety of ambient light levels. The chosen projectors also have a small physical footprint, and this meant that they could be installed in a manner that blended in with the building. A sophisticated sound system was also installed to match the imposing images with authentic audio, and bell tower guests were treated to a reproduction of the bell ringing that would have been possible many hundreds of years ago. Eventually, the project enabled to the cathedral to attract a younger audience and increase their visitor numbers by 300 per cent.
There are so many ways which attractions and businesses today can enhance the visitor experience through the use of technology, like a projector. One of the most obvious uses is to display vital information which you can adjust easily to suit your operating conditions. For example, if you need to display different tariff information during peak periods, a whole screen of prices can be switched to another pre-prepared copy in a matter of seconds. If you are concerned about losing potential customers when they see a long queue for admittance, you can display a real-time prediction of the overall waiting time that can be calculated by a member of staff.
At particularly busy times of the year, a projector screen can be used to display audio-visual content while people are waiting to get in. Whetting their appetite with videos and audio about the exhibit can help to build excitement before they are admitted, and this will also have a positive effect on the overall experience.