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Madame Tussauds is a tourist attraction site in London and other parts of the world as a wax museum. The museum was founded in 1835 by Marie Tussauds but has since changed ownership to different companies and is today owned by Prestbury Investment and operated by Merlin Entertainment. The museum displays figures of famous actors, sports men and historical figures as was forms. The museum still holds some of the original works by Marie Tussauds, though most of the original work was destroyed by fire in 1925 and others by the German bombs of 1941. A self portrait of the founding member can be found at the entrance of the museum (Berridge 2006)
The museum gives a unique form of entertainment as people can enjoy their leisure time in the presence of historical and modern celebrities in the form of waxworks. The visitors to the museum are afforded a rare opportunity to meet their favourite celebrities who are otherwise difficult to meet. Visitors of the museum are given an opportunity to touch the figures of royalty, media stars, murderers and revolutionaries of all time (Pilbeam 2003). The museum has different types of wax sculptures to attract the diverse London cosmopolitan population. The most visited part of the museum is the Chamber of Horrors which is a collection of the wax models of victims of the French Revolution and recent models of other criminals and murderers (Moran 2011).
This report will look into the strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities (SWOT analysis) facing the tourist attraction site for future expansion. The findings of the paper will be based on a literature review of available articles on the museum. The report is structured to address the literature review and methods used for the study, the findings and discussions and finally the conclusion and recommendation for the future of Madame Tussauds museum.
Though there is a lot of literature on the Madame Tussauds museum, there is little documentation of a collective SWOT analysis of the establishment. The aim of the report is to join the research of people who have addresses and emphasized on the various SWOT aspects to create one document with the full SWOT report.
The method of the research is to investigate the available secondary data in form of books, journals and other sources of information that may be useful in drawing a conclusion on the expansion of the museum in the future.
Madame Tussauds’ greatest strength is the nature of the entertainment it provides. Most of the museums around the world focus on art and traditional sculpture which limits the number of visitors to only those who enjoy and can interpret art even in the abstract form. The wax forms creates real-life impressions of modern and past celebrities and getting to see those life like impressions is a unique form of art and entertainment (Sifuentes 2003). It is also an added advantage that people are allowed to touch the objects of the museum which is restricted in art and sculpture museums.
Another strength of the museum is that is showcases both past and current celebrities in the museum. The fact that additional was forms are added to the museum means the museum will live for long as it will always have new pieces to showcase unlike other museums that are famous for past collections (Sifuentes 2003). Showcasing wax forms of current and past famous people, the museum is able to attract visitors of all ages to its establishment.
The Chamber of Horror is one of the strengths of the museum and one of the biggest attractions for the establishment. Is serves as reminder of the horrors of the past and the suffering during the French revolution. There are other experiences within the museum that are an added advantage to the touring experience. The Star Wars and Sherlock Holmes experiences and the Marvel Superheroes 4D experience are strengths of the museum.
The long standing history of the museum and its founder is a strength for the establishment. Having been set up in 1835, the Madame Tussauds exhibitions have been running for more than 150years (Sifuentes 2003). The age of the museum allows the visitors to view art from as far as the 18th century.
Being located in London is an advantage for the museum. London is home to a large local population as well as numerous tourists throughout the year. London is also home to diverse people who have different interests of the wax forms present at the museum (Sifuentes 2003).. Being in London makes it easy for the museum to be part of a tourist circuit in the town for tourists to visit as they go along other tourist attractions in the town. The museum is served by many transport links making it easily accessible using different modes of transport.
One of the biggest weaknesses for the museum in London is the queues to see the waxwork. During the holidays, people can spend hours waiting to see the art and end up leaving even before they can get into the museum (Madame Tussauds 2015). There lacks a proper structure to contain those waiting to enter the museum and this may discourage future visitors. The museum can get congested during peak tourism seasons and without a proper system to keep the people moving, this can be a danger to the young and old visitors. The lack of supporting infrastructure like eateries, waiting bays and parking lots can cause negative experiences at the museum especially during busy days.
The tickets to the museum may be pricy as they go for about 35 euros for people above sixteen years and about 30 euros for people between the ages of three to fifteen. Children under three years get in the museum for free.
Madame Tussauds has limited ability for repeat customers. This is because there lacks diversity of the activities within the museum (Howie2008). This sometimes diminishes the value of the ticket fee for return customers.
The lack of foreign language provisions within the museum may discourage international visitors. London being a tourist destination means there are chances that the people visiting Madame Tussauds are not English speakers. The lack of a language provisions may block out such people as visitors of the museum. There is also limited number of guides who explain the history of the figurines to the people. The meaning of certain figures and especially historical figures may still be left unknown to most visitors and that reduces the value of visiting the museum.
There is opportunity in increasing the wax forms in the Chamber of Horrors. They has been many horrific incidences in the world and adding them to the Chamber of Horrors would increase visitors to the museum as well as give historical lessons of what must never happen again to humanity (Merlin Entertainment 2018). Some of the stories that can be added to the Chamber of Horrors could be the Black Lives Matter demonstrations, the Corona Virus Pandemic effects, and the September 11 bombing of the twin Towers.
Madame Tussauds has an opportunity to open its doors to more visitors by embracing technology that allows virtual tours of the establishment. This would allow people from other countries to tour the museum virtually and also evade the problem on congestion during peak seasons.
There is an opportunity for the museum to update new wax figures (Merlin Entertainment 2018). Most celebrities need to be added to the collection in the museum to attract more people and especially the young generation that idolizes pop icons.
The establishment can try and lower its prices for the tickets by placing the cost of the entry ticket to the experience the customer can get within the museum. This way, the museum would be able to charge separately for the chamber of horrors and screams, stars from the music industry, loyalty, sports zone or leaders from the world of politics. With this strategy, the price will be lower and the museum would use the sale of tickets to know which section is the most marketable and to what demography of the market.
Since it deals in wax forms of celebrities across the continents, Madame Tussauds has the opportunity to organize themed events and expands its products and services for its customers (Merlin Entertainment 2018). The events could be learning sessions for children on various historical topics that have happened in the world and this would raise revenue for the company. Halloween and other themed parties would ba a great sales pitch for the company.
Madame Tussauds stands a chance to benefit from cooperating with other attraction in London. This way it gets an added marketing forum and gets exposed to more visitors going through the city’s main tourist attractions.
The entertainment industry is fast paced and Madame Tussaud faces competition from other entertainment providers. While other museums may be a competition for the establishment, the expansion of theme parks like Disneyland is the largest competitors of Madame Tussauds in the entertainment sector. Such parks also have life like forms of settings of famous movies and a variety of activities for all age groups that give an alternative source of entertainment to the wax form museum.
Some wax forms exhibited in the museum have been elicited various emotions from visitors and this maybe a threat to future visitors of the museum (Roberts 2011). Wax forms of Adolf Hitler have been known to be controversial with some visitors making the infamous Nazi salute with the wax forms and other being reminded of the pain their families faced during the Hitler reign (Gur-Arieh 2015). The museum has tried to remain apolitical and maintains the behavior of its visitors is not their responsibility, but this might affect the future of the museum.
There have been reports of vandalism and destruction cases on some wax figures exhibited by the museum. The destruction usually follows reports that paint a celebrity in bad light and visitors destroy the wax forms of the affected celebrities. Such destructions require the museum to carry out repairs on the wax forms and this is added cost to the running of the museum.
The congested nature of the museum is an indicator for the need to expand the museum. Expansion may not be possible at its current location, but it can expand to different town within the UK and even globally. There are already various outlets of the museum in countries like China, Germany,Netherlands, India and the US.
Expanding the museum would allow the establishment to expand its art as it would showcase the celebrities of the country they settle into so as to relate to the new customers. This would reduce the congestion of all celebrities in one museum. The London museum would probably be left with the royal family wax forms and those of other UK celebrities and devolve the rest to the countries of origin of the celebrities.
The museum should be innovative with its methods of operation to reduce the weaknesses and threats it faces due to the nature of its operations. To avoid long queues and congestion within the establishment, the museum could arrange for the visitors to pre-book for the visit to the museum. In this way, the museum is able to manage the number of people visiting and offer them the best experience within the establishment. The visitors could be picked and dropped at certain locations in London and this would eliminate the need of vast parking lots for the visitors and other supporting infrastructure.
Madame Tussauds has remained functional for almost 200 years now and expanding is one of the ways to ensure it remains functional in the future. Its uniqueness in the entertainment industry is unmatched and focusing on its strengths and opportunities would help it maximize on its earnings and the number of visitors annually.
The expansion to various countries is an indication of a demand in the tourism circles for wax forms as part of the museum experience. Madame Tussauds stands to increase its revenues by expanding into other regions within the UK and outside. It is not possible for the museum to expand in its current location as it already experiences congestion during busy days.
Berridge, K. (2006). Madame Tussaud: A Life in Wax. New York: HarperCollins.
Gur-Arieh, N. (2015). Madame Tussauds Museum in London Removed Hitler Figure. The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles.
Howie, E. (2008). Seeing Stars: Reading Melancholy and Power at Madame Tussauds through the Lens of Hiroshi Sugimoto. 75-94.
Madame Tussauds. (2015, August 17). How long are queues into Madame Tussauds London? Retrieved July 25, 2020, from Madame Tusssauds: https://support.madametussauds.co.uk/hc/en-us/articles/212588929-How-long-are-queues-into-Madame-Tussauds-London-
Merlin Entertainment PLC. (2018). Inspiring Tomorrow’s Memories: Merlin Entertainment PLC Annual Report and Accounts. London: Merlin Entertainment PLC.
Moran, M. (2011). Madame Tussaud: A Novel of the French Revolution. London: Quercus Publishing.
Pilbeam, P. (2003). Madame Tussaud and the History of Waxworks. NewYork: Hambledon and London.
Roberts, L. (2011, August 30). Tussauds puts a guard on Adolf but visitors still give Heil Hitler salutes. Retrieved July 25, 2020, from London Evening Standard: https://www.standard.co.uk/news/tussauds-puts-a-guard-on-adolf-but-visitors-still-give-heil-hitler-salutes-6438085.html
Sifuentes, L. A. (2003). Performing the Red Carpet: Pop Culture Melancholy and Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum. Tourist Productions Fall, New York University.