Orientation and impact of nonprofit museum web sites
Rentschler, Ruth and Geursen, Gus 2003, Orientation and impact of nonprofit museum web sites, in ANZMAC 2003 : a celebrations of Ehrenberg and Bass : marketing discoveries, knowledge and contribution, conference proceedings, ANZMAC, Dunedin, N.Z., pp. 1727-1733.
Museums face increasing pressure to attract wider audiences. This requires an understanding of visitor expectations and motivations for visiting the ‘real’ museum. Websites can act as an attracting mechanism for ‘real’ museum visits. However, for the most part, museums have concentrated their efforts on attracting visitors to promotional efforts and collecting statistical data on the demographic profiles of visitors. Museum websites as a means of attracting audiences have been ignored in the research literature. This paper researches the role of museum websites in developing audiences with special attention to the attracting power of the websites for visitors. Content analysis of 40 Australian museum websites was conducted using a structured tool, WebNPattract, designed and tested specifically for the purpose. Content analysis results can be used for the purpose of strategic positioning of the museum and cultural tourism. The paper outlines five aspects of museums—museum offer; corporate governance; finding the museum; characteristics; and governance communication—and two approaches to museum websites: the ‘aesthetic’ and the ‘services’ perspectives. Marketing implications can be deduced from website orientation.
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