Designing the Visitor Experience

Marketing Manchester needed a brand new, high profile destination for their visitor information centre, prominently located in Piccadilly Gardens, Manchester’s main visitor gateway. By putting the needs of the end user at the forefront of the design, we realised this was an opportunity to transform the traditional visitor centre experience.

We understood that by enabling the end user, they would get more out of their visit and therefore, more out of the city. In collaboration with Peter Saville, Manchester’s brand manager, we achieved this through the creation of a space that was experiential and interactive, where people could discover at their own pace by having all the information they could ever need at their fingertips.

By combining an innovative digital user interface within a super multi-functional space, we were able to deliver an intuitive and interactive environment that showcased a wealth of information to help visitors discover and navigate Manchester more easily than before.

The result was an open and accessible public amenity based upon self-help, supported by first class hospitality. This made for a more efficient and engaging solution that end users loved, but also helped drive a more viable business model by reducing operating costs.

“The city’s new port of call for visitors is the best of its kind in the country.”

Andrew Stokes | Chief Executive of Marketing Manchester

Sector | Retail/culture

Completion | 2010

Client | Marketing Manchester

Awards | Mixology Awards: Public Sector Interiors Project of the Year, Visit England Awards for Excellence: Gold Award.

Copyright | Courtesy of BDP

In the age of the iPad and an ‘always on’ flow of news and information the idea of a tourist information office with people queuing, piles of what’s on leaflets and a ‘you are here’ map on the wall seemed antiquated. We wanted to reflect Manchester’s accessibility and openness, its tradition of embracing new ideas and the city’s inherently cool image.