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Profile
Juliana Delaney

The Continuum CEO is a cheerleader for attractions based on popular culture. She talks to Kath Hudson

By Kath Hudson | Published in Attractions Management 2015 issue 4

Juliana Delaney, CEO of UK visitor attraction management company Continuum, is an expert in the branding game, tapping into the British love of popular culture and the demand for visceral experiences to build a new attractions subgenre.

Continuum currently runs six attractions in the UK, with news of two more hot off the press. The company has just announced it will be collaborating with The Royal Mint on the 1,000-year-old institution’s first ever visitor centre, and it also revealed its involvement in the upcoming Sherwood Forest Country Park in Nottingham, in partnership with Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB).

Other attractions are coming to an end, such as the temporary Coronation Street The Tour in Manchester, which closes this year.

The pop-up attraction took Coronation Street – an established ITV series – and reinterpreted it as a cultural attraction, meeting with an enthusiastic response from fans.

Continuum will partner with ITV a second time to create Emmerdale The Tour, another attraction based on a popular, long-running UK TV drama.

You recently announced Coronation Street The Tour is closing in December. Why is this, and what has been the secret of its success?
This December we’ll be saying farewell to something extraordinarily special. Coronation Street The Tour opened on 5 April 2014, initially for six-months, but due to public demand, extended planning permission was granted by Manchester City Council. In 2016, the site will be returned to owners Allied London for redevelopment.

The attraction has welcomed half a million visitors to the site where TV drama Coronation Street was filmed before its move to MediaCityUK. Guest feedback has been phenomenal – people have loved stepping into TV history. Our tour guides have done a brilliant job bringing the sets to life.

We’re thrilled to be continuing our relationship with ITV for the launch of Emmerdale The Tour, based on the TV saga.

Tell us about Emmerdale
We’re coordinating with ITV to test the operational viability of an Emmerdale visitor experience. From 9 August to 25 October, we worked with coach operators across the UK to deliver tours to the working sets. The experience differed from Coronation Street The Tour, because it was a live set which is used five or six days a week by ITV’s Emmerdale crew. We agreed that trial period to make sure the tour element works for the cast and crew of Emmerdale, as well as for our guests.

What will the Emmerdale visitor experience be like?
Visitors will enjoy a guided tour through the popular exterior sets where the Yorkshire drama has been filmed since 1998. It’s a unique opportunity to see the Woolpack pub and more, with selfie opportunities aplenty.

What’s the formula for translating a popular culture brand into a visitor attraction?
There are three components. First, it needs to be a subject which has an established audience, whether that be Vikings, Romans, or Coronation Street.

Second, there has to be interest. Projects fail when no one’s interested in the subject – all the marketing in the world won’t work.

Third, the audience wants to experience the subject in a visceral way. We can be engaged when reading a book and emotional when watching TV, but we want to experience brands at attractions in a much more powerful, real way, sharing that emotional experience on social media.

Increasingly, we’re seeing the audience doing the marketing for attractions. Emotional engagement goes up another level with a tangible experience. People don’t tweet pictures of themselves watching Coronation Street, but thousands do from the Rover’s Return Inn at the attraction.

How do you apply this formula to leverage a brand?
It’s important to be authentic and stay true to the brand. We worked closely with the Coronation Street production team to deliver what they “live”. Storytelling is also a very important aspect.

We’re on third-generation attractions now. The first generation was glass cases: don’t touch. The second was out of the case: touch and smell. The new way is doing it while sharing it with others.

When we’re developing attractions we’re already thinking about the photo opportunities. I was impressed at Madame Tussaud’s as the figures are not behind barriers – you can take selfies with them. Allowing people to touch, share and engage can revitalise a brand for new generations.

What is Continuum’s Third Way model?
It’s a model to help local authorities [UK local government] running attractions and museums, which have high operating costs and lack the funds to innovate.

We’re having interesting discussions with local authorities who otherwise face the choice of closing an attraction or continuing to run it at a loss, because we can turn attractions from a loss into a surplus.

Our commercial team can turn a struggling visitor attraction into a sustainable business by breathing fresh life into it, centralising services and having cost-effective teams on-site.

We find the story and we find a way to support it with better marketing and commercial activity. We can also create other income generators – for example, corporate events or weddings.

What shape do you think the attractions industry is in at the moment and where is there room for expansion?
It’s survived the recession very well because of the trend towards days out instead of an extra holiday. I’m a great advocate of good museums and love theme parks, but I’m not sure we need more museums – whether free or paid for – or any more theme parks in the UK.

However, I believe there’s space in the middle for cultural visitor attractions and attractions based on popular culture.

What’s next for Continuum?
Within the next five years we’re looking to double the number of attractions we operate in the UK and Northern Europe.

We currently operate several sites across the UK and we’re adding at least two more locations to the portfolio in 2016.

We’re also planning to continue to invest in our own attractions, so we wholly own them and also to partner with other strong brands for operating contracts.

CORONATION STREET THE TOUR

The Coronation Street TV drama is embedded in British culture, with a loyal fan base around the world. Coronation Street: The Tour enables viewers to step, Narnia-like, through the wardrobe door into a behind-the-scenes world. An expert guide brings to life off-air stories and facts, while visitors take a walk on the famous cobbles and take a selfie in the Rovers Rºeturn pub.

“Because there was such a loyal brand following it needed to be dealt with sensitively,” says Delaney. “We had to work closely with the script and production teams, but we delivered exactly what they wanted.”

Opened in 2014 as a temporary attraction, planning permission was extended into 2015. In its first two months, the attraction welcomed 100,000 visitors.

 


Coronation Street TM & (c) ITV Studios Ltd 2015

Guests enjoy a photo opportunity on the tour

THE CORRIE FILES
Name
Coronation Street

Nickname
Corrie

Claim to Fame
World’s longest-running soap opera

Date of Birth
9 December 1960

Description
Popular soap opera revolving around the lives of the residents of Coronation Street, in the fictional town of Weatherfield, northwest England

Creator
Tony Warren, Granada Television

Characters
Ken Barlow, Jack Duckworth, Hilda Ogden

Most viewed show
Christmas Day 1987, 28.5 million viewers

Biggest Rival in the UK
EastEnders

CONTINUUM’S THIRD WAY

The 170-metre (158-foot) Emirates Spinnaker Tower is an example of the Third Way in action. Continuum has operated this lottery-funded project since 2005, when Portsmouth City Council needed a partner to secure the future of the tower, to run it commercially and share the profit with the city.

Continuum owns the business under a long lease arrangement with Portsmouth City Council. The lease was renewed in 2014.
“Our model works successfully at Emirates Spinnaker Tower, making the attraction an income generator rather than a drain,” says Delaney. “If Portsmouth City Council hadn’t taken this decision, this attraction might have cost them money.”

The tower became Emirates Spinnaker Tower following a £3.5m ($5.5m, €5m) sponsorship agreement between Emirates and Portsmouth City Council.

 



Emirates Spinnaker Tower cost £35m
 


Visitors enjoy the view from Emirates Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth, UK
 
CONTINUUM’S CULTURAL & HERITAGE ATTRACTIONS

1. The Canterbury Tales
A regional attraction inspired by the literary text, the sights, sounds and smells of Medieval England are accompanied by Geoffrey Chaucer’s characters

2. Oxford Castle Unlocked
Visitors discover Oxford’s hidden history through a tour of the castle and Victorian prison, led by costumed guides

3. The Real Mary King’s Close
Beneath Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, hidden streets date back to the 17th century. A unique tour teaches guests the story of those who lived there

4. York’s Chocolate Story
At Chocolate Story, visitors embark on a sensory journey through York’s chocolate and confectionery heritage and discover its trading and manufacturing roots

5. Sherwood Forest
Continuum is teaming up with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) to build and run a visitor centre in Sherwood Forest

 



1. The Canterbury Tales
 


2. Oxford Castle Unlocked
 
 


3. The Real Mary King’s Close
 
 


4. York’s Chocolate Story
 
 


PHOTO: Colin Wilkinson, RSPB
5. Sherwood Forest
 
The Rovers Return Inn has been central to the Coronation Street visitor experience
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©Cybertrek 2018
Jobs . News . Products . Magazine
Profile
Juliana Delaney

The Continuum CEO is a cheerleader for attractions based on popular culture. She talks to Kath Hudson

By Kath Hudson | Published in Attractions Management 2015 issue 4

Juliana Delaney, CEO of UK visitor attraction management company Continuum, is an expert in the branding game, tapping into the British love of popular culture and the demand for visceral experiences to build a new attractions subgenre.

Continuum currently runs six attractions in the UK, with news of two more hot off the press. The company has just announced it will be collaborating with The Royal Mint on the 1,000-year-old institution’s first ever visitor centre, and it also revealed its involvement in the upcoming Sherwood Forest Country Park in Nottingham, in partnership with Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB).

Other attractions are coming to an end, such as the temporary Coronation Street The Tour in Manchester, which closes this year.

The pop-up attraction took Coronation Street – an established ITV series – and reinterpreted it as a cultural attraction, meeting with an enthusiastic response from fans.

Continuum will partner with ITV a second time to create Emmerdale The Tour, another attraction based on a popular, long-running UK TV drama.

You recently announced Coronation Street The Tour is closing in December. Why is this, and what has been the secret of its success?
This December we’ll be saying farewell to something extraordinarily special. Coronation Street The Tour opened on 5 April 2014, initially for six-months, but due to public demand, extended planning permission was granted by Manchester City Council. In 2016, the site will be returned to owners Allied London for redevelopment.

The attraction has welcomed half a million visitors to the site where TV drama Coronation Street was filmed before its move to MediaCityUK. Guest feedback has been phenomenal – people have loved stepping into TV history. Our tour guides have done a brilliant job bringing the sets to life.

We’re thrilled to be continuing our relationship with ITV for the launch of Emmerdale The Tour, based on the TV saga.

Tell us about Emmerdale
We’re coordinating with ITV to test the operational viability of an Emmerdale visitor experience. From 9 August to 25 October, we worked with coach operators across the UK to deliver tours to the working sets. The experience differed from Coronation Street The Tour, because it was a live set which is used five or six days a week by ITV’s Emmerdale crew. We agreed that trial period to make sure the tour element works for the cast and crew of Emmerdale, as well as for our guests.

What will the Emmerdale visitor experience be like?
Visitors will enjoy a guided tour through the popular exterior sets where the Yorkshire drama has been filmed since 1998. It’s a unique opportunity to see the Woolpack pub and more, with selfie opportunities aplenty.

What’s the formula for translating a popular culture brand into a visitor attraction?
There are three components. First, it needs to be a subject which has an established audience, whether that be Vikings, Romans, or Coronation Street.

Second, there has to be interest. Projects fail when no one’s interested in the subject – all the marketing in the world won’t work.

Third, the audience wants to experience the subject in a visceral way. We can be engaged when reading a book and emotional when watching TV, but we want to experience brands at attractions in a much more powerful, real way, sharing that emotional experience on social media.

Increasingly, we’re seeing the audience doing the marketing for attractions. Emotional engagement goes up another level with a tangible experience. People don’t tweet pictures of themselves watching Coronation Street, but thousands do from the Rover’s Return Inn at the attraction.

How do you apply this formula to leverage a brand?
It’s important to be authentic and stay true to the brand. We worked closely with the Coronation Street production team to deliver what they “live”. Storytelling is also a very important aspect.

We’re on third-generation attractions now. The first generation was glass cases: don’t touch. The second was out of the case: touch and smell. The new way is doing it while sharing it with others.

When we’re developing attractions we’re already thinking about the photo opportunities. I was impressed at Madame Tussaud’s as the figures are not behind barriers – you can take selfies with them. Allowing people to touch, share and engage can revitalise a brand for new generations.

What is Continuum’s Third Way model?
It’s a model to help local authorities [UK local government] running attractions and museums, which have high operating costs and lack the funds to innovate.

We’re having interesting discussions with local authorities who otherwise face the choice of closing an attraction or continuing to run it at a loss, because we can turn attractions from a loss into a surplus.

Our commercial team can turn a struggling visitor attraction into a sustainable business by breathing fresh life into it, centralising services and having cost-effective teams on-site.

We find the story and we find a way to support it with better marketing and commercial activity. We can also create other income generators – for example, corporate events or weddings.

What shape do you think the attractions industry is in at the moment and where is there room for expansion?
It’s survived the recession very well because of the trend towards days out instead of an extra holiday. I’m a great advocate of good museums and love theme parks, but I’m not sure we need more museums – whether free or paid for – or any more theme parks in the UK.

However, I believe there’s space in the middle for cultural visitor attractions and attractions based on popular culture.

What’s next for Continuum?
Within the next five years we’re looking to double the number of attractions we operate in the UK and Northern Europe.

We currently operate several sites across the UK and we’re adding at least two more locations to the portfolio in 2016.

We’re also planning to continue to invest in our own attractions, so we wholly own them and also to partner with other strong brands for operating contracts.

CORONATION STREET THE TOUR

The Coronation Street TV drama is embedded in British culture, with a loyal fan base around the world. Coronation Street: The Tour enables viewers to step, Narnia-like, through the wardrobe door into a behind-the-scenes world. An expert guide brings to life off-air stories and facts, while visitors take a walk on the famous cobbles and take a selfie in the Rovers Rºeturn pub.

“Because there was such a loyal brand following it needed to be dealt with sensitively,” says Delaney. “We had to work closely with the script and production teams, but we delivered exactly what they wanted.”

Opened in 2014 as a temporary attraction, planning permission was extended into 2015. In its first two months, the attraction welcomed 100,000 visitors.

 


Coronation Street TM & (c) ITV Studios Ltd 2015

Guests enjoy a photo opportunity on the tour

THE CORRIE FILES
Name
Coronation Street

Nickname
Corrie

Claim to Fame
World’s longest-running soap opera

Date of Birth
9 December 1960

Description
Popular soap opera revolving around the lives of the residents of Coronation Street, in the fictional town of Weatherfield, northwest England

Creator
Tony Warren, Granada Television

Characters
Ken Barlow, Jack Duckworth, Hilda Ogden

Most viewed show
Christmas Day 1987, 28.5 million viewers

Biggest Rival in the UK
EastEnders

CONTINUUM’S THIRD WAY

The 170-metre (158-foot) Emirates Spinnaker Tower is an example of the Third Way in action. Continuum has operated this lottery-funded project since 2005, when Portsmouth City Council needed a partner to secure the future of the tower, to run it commercially and share the profit with the city.

Continuum owns the business under a long lease arrangement with Portsmouth City Council. The lease was renewed in 2014.
“Our model works successfully at Emirates Spinnaker Tower, making the attraction an income generator rather than a drain,” says Delaney. “If Portsmouth City Council hadn’t taken this decision, this attraction might have cost them money.”

The tower became Emirates Spinnaker Tower following a £3.5m ($5.5m, €5m) sponsorship agreement between Emirates and Portsmouth City Council.

 



Emirates Spinnaker Tower cost £35m
 


Visitors enjoy the view from Emirates Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth, UK
 
CONTINUUM’S CULTURAL & HERITAGE ATTRACTIONS

1. The Canterbury Tales
A regional attraction inspired by the literary text, the sights, sounds and smells of Medieval England are accompanied by Geoffrey Chaucer’s characters

2. Oxford Castle Unlocked
Visitors discover Oxford’s hidden history through a tour of the castle and Victorian prison, led by costumed guides

3. The Real Mary King’s Close
Beneath Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, hidden streets date back to the 17th century. A unique tour teaches guests the story of those who lived there

4. York’s Chocolate Story
At Chocolate Story, visitors embark on a sensory journey through York’s chocolate and confectionery heritage and discover its trading and manufacturing roots

5. Sherwood Forest
Continuum is teaming up with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) to build and run a visitor centre in Sherwood Forest

 



1. The Canterbury Tales
 


2. Oxford Castle Unlocked
 
 


3. The Real Mary King’s Close
 
 


4. York’s Chocolate Story
 
 


PHOTO: Colin Wilkinson, RSPB
5. Sherwood Forest
 
The Rovers Return Inn has been central to the Coronation Street visitor experience
 


ADVERTISE . CONTACT US

Leisure Media, Portmill House, Portmill Lane,
Hitchin, Hertfordshire SG5 1DJ Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385

©Cybertrek 2018

ABOUT LEISURE MEDIA
LEISURE MEDIA MAGAZINES
LEISURE MEDIA HANDBOOKS
LEISURE MEDIA WEBSITES
LEISURE MEDIA PRODUCT SEARCH
ATTRACTIONS MANAGEMENT NEWS
ATTRACTIONS HANDBOOK
PRINT SUBSCRIPTIONS
FREE DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTIONS