WE have had another related query in this space over the last number of weeks. More and more businesses, who traditionally wouldn’t have engaged with tourists, are finding that with the right product or service offer, they can generate a second profitable revenue stream from this area.
Talk to Fáilte Ireland which has a lot of expertise in building visitor experiences and will help to be able to point you to dozens of case studies. I would also recommend that either through your own contact, or through talking to Fáilte Ireland, that you identify successful tourism venue operators, and where possible, go and visit them and chat with their managers so that you can identify the critical success factors you need to put into place.
From talking to those who have already immersed themselves into this area, there are a number of common learnings you should take on board. You need to first decide on how you want to structure your visitor centre. Is this something that needs to be pre-booked? You may not want people wandering in unannounced when you are in the middle of production.
Also think about your current facility and see if it is suitable for receiving visitors. Is the exterior approach large enough for coaches, or large numbers of cars? Do you have toilets and other facilities? Do you need to build some sort of a viewing gallery/visitor centre?
All of this could require investment and it would be good to determine this in advance.
I do agree strongly that this is a very viable area for you to be exploring as a potential synergy to your core business, and I just want to be cautious about the way you structure it so you can gain maximum benefit without risking the current business.