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Natural History Museum: Dippy returns to the UK’s most loved museum

BrandVue’s Most Loved Travel & Transport Brands 2022

Joshua Holden Consultant 29/11/2022

BrandVue’s Most Loved Travel & Transport Brands 2022

The travel and tourism industry endured a tumultuous period to say the least following the onset of COVID-19.

Museums and galleries were arguably some of the hardest hit since conducting business to those “staying at home” was near impossible - unlike, for example, the eating out sector, where a number of affected businesses still had the opportunity to extend their offer out-of-store.

In what was essentially a nationwide marketing campaign, Dippy's tour reminded millions of prospective visitors of NHM’s offer.

However, the Natural History Museum (NHM) has emerged from the pandemic as the UK’s most popular indoor attraction according to BrandVue’s Most Loved Travel & Transport Brands report, announcing more than 2.3 million visitors in its 2021-22 annual review. 

Battle of the giants

The Natural History Museum, placing at no. 5 in our Top 100 Most Loved Travel & Transport Brands League Table, has surpassed the British Museum on Brand Love by a comfortable five percentage points according to data from BrandVue – Savanta’s daily brand tracking tool. In addition, it narrowly beats its competitor on Brand Awareness (84% compared to 82%).

However, recommendations fall ever so slightly in favour of the British Museum, which boasts a Net Promoter Score of +52.5 (compared with +51.4 for NHM).

Nevertheless, BrandVue data reveals that the public are still more likely to visit NHM than the British Museum, with the latest data showing that 38% of respondents said they would consider visiting NHM compared with 33% for the British Museum.

The journey to the top

BrandVue data suggests that NHM’s offer is the most appealing to potential domestic visitors against all museums and galleries we track.

NHM itself has praised its recent exhibitions for helping to boost visitors with the Fantastic Beasts: The Wonder of Nature exhibition receiving 128,000 visitors in 2021. The museum also boasts a portfolio of recent successful exhibits, including Our Broken Planet: How We Got Here and Ways to Fix It and Wildlife Photographer of the Year, both showing a promising number of visitors for 2022.

In addition to its exhibitions, NHM have curated several immersive experiences that transcend a simple stroll through the galleries – including the popular ‘Dino Snores’: a children’s overnight stay at the museum, complete with a film, activities, and a breakfast the next morning. With a sell-out schedule across the year, it’s clear that interactive experiences like these are an effective way of attracting visitors.

But an appealing offer is nothing without a strong marketing campaign…

Dippy’s return

Earlier this year we saw the return of NHM’s iconic 85ft Diplodocus skeleton. Endearingly nicknamed Dippy, the dinosaur has been an exhibition for more than a century but has more recently evolved from a product to an invaluable marketing tool.

In 2017, Dippy was dismantled and sent on a national tour, reaching over 2 million visitors, who were taught everything about dinosaurs, the environment, and of course – the Natural History Museum. In what was essentially a nationwide marketing campaign, the tour reminded millions of prospective visitors of NHM’s offer.

The tour generated mass media attention, perhaps contributing to the NHM’s Net Positive Buzz score reaching 9%, compared with the Science Museum and the British Museum that reached 7% and 6% respectively.

The long-anticipated return of ‘The Nation’s Favourite Dinosaur’ tops a promising year for the museum, and NHM have already begun capitalising on Dippy’s popularity by reworking their existing ‘Dino Snores’ into a one-off ‘Dippy Dinor Snore’ event.

However, with Dippy due to vacate the premises in 2023, will NHM’s success be sustained in the year to come? Only time will tell.

Download the full report here for discover who else made intro the Top 100 League Table as well as more of the latest trends and insights.

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