The National Trust has 60,000 volunteers upon whom they depend to open their properties – and the vast majority are in room guide roles. This business model is unsustainable as new volunteers want to do new things, and the Trust wants flexibility and innovation in how they open their properties to create memorable visitor experiences and grow the nation’s love of special places.
The national ‘Changing Rooms’ project was set up to think differently about how to open properties using volunteers, we worked with the project lead to design, develop and deliver a programme of facilitated workshops with the pilot properties, involving staff, volunteers and internal experts. The pilot properties tested the ideas in 2014 and we have helped the team learn from the process and content of the pilot. We are now working with a wider team of regional managers, training them on the Changing Rooms process and and tools from the TREEANGLE to inspire and equip the next wave of properties’ innovation.
The pilot properties’ test is running successfully and the Project Board has approved their initiatives and a wider test with a significant appetite for innovative ideas. The ideas implemented so far have changed volunteer roles (such as Visitor Ambassadors, Curators and Roving Actors), offered new, flexible ways of opening and improved the visitor experience. The success of Treehouse’s work on Changing Rooms has led to work on several other national and local projects with the National Trust, for example, marketing training, local property tactical marketing, and strategic long-term membership growth in South Wales.