Destination DNA defines every great place, be it large or small, modern or historic, public or private.
Every great destination, however unique, has to do the same three basic things: give people a reason to visit (attract); make the visit easy (enable); and make the visit memorable (service). Attract, enable, service. Look closely and you will find that every successful
destination - from the largest theme park to the smallest gallery, from a city quarter to a country park – do these three basic things. That they all do them differently is what makes them unique. That is the basis of the Destination DNA, our starting point for every project. Learning from the world's best destinations and doing what they do, without ever losing
those qualities that make your destination special. In short, a place that people will want to spend their money and their time. A place that people will come back to. The experience that they will recommend to their friends. Click on some of the examples below to see how this applies to a range of very different destinations.
The south Bank
The South Bank has been transformed over the past 15 years into one of London’s premier visitor destinations. The uninterrupted riverfront promenade, stretching from County Hall to Butlers Wharf is punctuated by some of the capital’s best attractions, including Tate Modern, Shakespeare’s Globe, the London Eye, the South Bank Centre and the BFI Imax amongst others.
The main catalysts for this recent regeneration of the South Bank can arguably be narrowed to four key projects: extension of the Jubilee Line, the two new pedestrian bridges across the Thames and completion of the riverfront promenade. This was the critical infrastructure that effectively stitched the South Bank into the economic geography of Central London.
Whilst comprised of multiple tenants, operators, developers and stakeholders and spanning two separate Boroughs, the South Bank looks and feels like a cohesive destination – one identity with a common brand. This is down to assertive and effective management of the public realm, which creates a safe, clean, inviting and animated urban quarter.
The world’s largest exhibition focussed exclusively on urban sustainability and a showcase for Siemens’ world leading innovation and technology. Housed within an iconic building in London’s Royal Docks, the Crystal includes a range of interactive exhibitry for family audiences, as well as cutting edge conferencing and meeting facilities to stimulate the B2B dialogue on sustainability.
The Crystal inevitably benefits from the recently completed Cable Car that lands almost directly in front of it, as well as the legacy of road and rail infrastructure (notably the DLR) that has opened the Royal Docks to visitors. As a B2B showcase for a company with international markets, the proximity of City Airport was a key consideration in where to locate it.
The Crystal is situated at the edge of the Excel estate, which is impeccably managed by ADNEC who provide a very high standard of security, cleaning, management and marketing. They have also provided a landscaped garden on the adjacent site. The exhibition features well trained animators, a programme of events and on-line mechanisms for guests to engage with the exhibition even after their visit.
The slogan for Kings Place is “music, art and restaurants” and these are what give people a reason to visit. A number of resident orchestras provide a world class music programme in two concert halls with the best acoustics in London. Three galleries host a range of fine art, sculpture and photography exhibitions. The Rotunda restaurant offers a fine dining and bar experience, including an al fresco option along the picturesque canal.
Kings Cross is undergoing huge physical transformation with transport infrastructure at its heart. St Pancras international, Kings Cross mainline, the Underground and network of roads and canals make it one of the most connected destinations in London and easy for people to reach in the evening and at weekends. Within Kings Place itself the glazed building makes wayfinding simple and clear signage makes for easy orientation and a relaxing experience.
At first sight, visitors could be mistaken for thinking they have arrived at the wrong location but behind its glazed office façade Kings Place is a refreshing and inviting destination. The Kings Place Music Foundation was established specifically to manage and programme the music spaces and offer award winning conferencing and venue hire services. Office tenants include the Guardian, Network Rail, Logica and an eclectic mix of art, literary and charitable organisations.
Wisley is the flagship garden of the Royal Horticultural Society and as such promises an authentic and high quality experience for visitors. The gardens themselves are of historical horticultural significance but it is the quality and diversity of the planting and variety of ‘things to do’ that attracts a million visits per annum.
Located just off the A3 / M25 motorway junction, Wisley’s extensive parking facilities cater well for the majority of visitors who arrive by car and coach. As a garden and a predominantly outdoor experience, getting around can be challenging but the extensive network of paths, quality wayfinding and distribution of points of interest means that visitors can access the grounds with relative ease.
In recent years Wisley has developed its visitor facilities to include a large garden centre and gift shops, a variety of cafés and restaurants in front of the pay barrier as well as in remoter climes of the gardens. A shift in the organisational cultural has effected greater customer focus on the roles and responsibilities of its staff with the result being a more welcoming and informative experience.
St George’s Park
Home of the National Football Centre, St George’s Park features world class sports facilities and a premier sports medicine and physiotherapy clinic, set within a spectacular natural environment in the heart of the National Forest. A full suite of training, classroom and meeting facilities makes it a great destination for corporate hospitality, conferencing and leadership training.
Originally the site of a single manor house in the Bass family estate, all of the infrastructure was upgraded to allow the development of two major hotels, the sports facilities, offices and medical centre. This included basic road, utilities and sewerage upgrades, as well as the telecoms infrastructure needed to give guests and visitors the highest standard of connectivity.
Key operators, tenants and stakeholders include The FA, Hilton Worldwide and Spire Health Care, as well as the League Manager’s Association and Nike. A relationship management agreement was put in place to ensure singular and effective management of the destination in the interest of all stakeholders, guests and visitors.