Madame Tussauds London seek out Avenues' experts - Avenues Group

Madame Tussauds London seek out Avenues’ experts

Wednesday 22nd of September 2021

One of the UK’s top tourist attractions, Madame Tussauds London, has sought Avenues expert help in improving it’s guest experience for people with learning disabilities and autism.

Avenues was contacted by Guest Experience Executive Ellen Bates after she began seeking experts that could provide the organisation with a valuable insight into the needs of people with autism and learning disabilities when visiting the attraction. She was drawn to Avenues commitment to good support

“Here at Madame Tussauds London, we are committed to inclusivity and accessibility and want to ensure that all of our guests who enter the attraction have the best experience possible. We also strive to go above and beyond for our guests, and seeing that part of your mission is that you ‘love to go the extra mile for people’ it seemed a perfect match to work alongside your group.”

After an initial meeting a site visit was arranged with Ellen, Madame Tussauds’ Neil Dolan, Head of Operations and Avenues Co-Production and Active Support Partner Nikki Hollands.

Madame Tussauds London’s Ellen Bates and Avenues’ Nikki Hollands

“It was a real honour to be asked for my opinion and input about accessibility for one of London’s leading attractions. It was exciting to know that our hard work and expertise at Avenues is valued and sought after. But more so, I’m over the moon to know that accessibility and inclusion is so high on the agenda.” said Nikki.

Ellen explained that due to the building being originally built back in Victorian London, the attraction faces certain challenges in terms of accessibility.

“Accessibility is something that we continuously work on. We are an older heritage building that wasn’t originally created with accessibility in mind, but we are passionate about making sure we make reasonable adjustments at every point of the guest journey. We want anybody and everybody to enjoy a visit with us, but it’s also vital that their visit is safe too, so making sure we have an accessible route in place for those who need it is a must.

“As Madame Tussauds London is homed in a heritage building originally built in 1884 it does mean we have

Madame Tussauds London’s ‘Spirit of London’ experience

a lot of stairs, so we have implemented lifts and a few stairlifts throughout the attraction which allow our guests who need additional assistance to move from floor to floor. We are constantly reviewing ways that we can continue to improve the guest journey at Madame Tussauds London. For example, our Spirit of London ride is not suitable for non-ambulant guests so we have developed a VR experience alternative, which will launch soon!”

The Madame Tussauds London team gave Nikki a tour of the attraction whereupon Nikki was able to point out areas which could potentially cause challenges with accessibility from flooring to flashing lights or darkly lit areas. Nikki also provided the team with valuable background information on behavioural aspects and the importance of Madame Tussauds London’s staff training so staff feel at ease enabling the best guest experience possible.

“When walking around I was already impressed by the hard work Madame Tussauds London had done to make sure that the venue was wheelchair accessible. We were able to give some further insight into other changes which could enable access to all and enjoy what they have to offer, such as signage and other resources to help people to find their way around and find the fun interactive experiences.  Also how to be fully accessible for people with other mobility needs, vision and hearing impairment, sensory processing needs, and autism (just to name a few).” said Nikki

Avenues’ Nikki Hollands (centre) talks to Madame Tussauds London Ellen Bates and Neil Dolan

Ellen and her team found the Avenues visit invaluable;

“The visit was so helpful. They gave us a deeper understanding, and the detailed knowledge they provided us with was such a benefit. This is exactly why meeting people like the Avenues staff is so important for us as a big attraction. It will really help us to ensure we provide the best experience possible to all of our guests. It was also lovely to hear that the Avenues staff had some amazing feedback about the current accessibility arrangements at our attraction, which is something we take great pride in.”

Both organisations will continue to communicate over the coming months with plans of how the attraction can continue to improve accessibility.

“We are hoping to continue to share knowledge with Madame Tussauds London’s team and return with a diverse group of people we support to try out the changes they have made. After all, the people we support are the experts and no one’s opinion is more valuable than theirs in this situation. I’m looking forward to the exciting work we continue to do with Madame Tussauds London and personally can’t wait to return there!” said Nikki.

 

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