Defining a Successful Visitor Attraction: Branded Multigenerational Entertainment

Read about how the Museum’s blockbuster Meet Vincent van Gogh Experience is leading the way in cultural visitor attractions by addressing the latest consumer trends

Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam: Iconic collection, global brand. Read about how the Museum’s blockbuster Meet Vincent van Gogh Experience is leading the way in cultural visitor attractions by addressing the latest consumer trends.

As the Global Institute for the Attractions Industry’s annual European IAAPA Expo in Paris gets underway, leaders of the visitor attractions sector around the world are considering this question: what defines a successful visitor attraction?

It’s no secret that certain customer engagement trends are changing the direction of the industry irrevocably. We now think of leisure time as an opportunity for self-fulfillment, and visitors want to play an active role in the experiences they pay for. The demand for immersion and personalization adds pressure to attractions operators to enhance the customer experience and provide more ‘bang for their buck’ than ever before.

So, what’s the move for attractions operators going forward? Develop partnerships with creative industries and connect to the emotional power of a beloved brand. That’s why the Van Gogh Museum has developed a range of experiential products that share Vincent van Gogh’s life story with a global audience. The award-winning blockbuster touring exhibition, the Meet Vincent van Gogh Experience, is a highly personal, interactive and multisensory experience of the world’s most iconic artist.


Defining a Successful Visitor Attraction

Michael David, Creative Consultant on International Touring Modeling to the Van Gogh Museum, is an Australia-based leader in the international entertainment industry. David has over 15 years of experience developing unique touring models for visitor attractions, including the Marvel Experience. When asked what defines a successful visitor attraction, his answer is twofold: multigenerational and branded entertainment.


In order to maximize their impact and demonstrate value for money, visitor attractions need to engage families by offering them the ideal family-friendly outing that caters to both parents and children. For example, every Meet Vincent visitor receives a free fully-automated audio-guide when they enter the Experience which is available for both children and adults. The audio-guide unravels the stories of Vincent’s life in the artist’s own words, making the Van Gogh Museum’s collection as accessible as possible to all age groups.

While an eight year old girl learns about Van Gogh’s life story as she races through the Children’s Scavenger Hunt, her 80 year old art aficionado grandmother with a soft-spot for Van Gogh’s Sunflowers can engage with her favorite artist at her own pace.

Branded Entertainment

The second essential element of a successful large scale visitor attraction is branded entertainment. We all form emotional connections with brands. In the case of the Meet Vincent van Gogh Experience, audience members are emotionally connected to both Van Gogh’s life story and artworks and the Van Gogh Museum itself. For those of us unable to travel internationally, the Experience makes the Van Gogh Museum accessible on a global scale by bringing the internationally recognized Van Gogh Museum brand right to our doorsteps.


High Art in the Visitor Attractions Industry: Please, Do Touch!

More and more museums are using digital interactives to attract the younger generation of tech-savvy visitors. Converting ‘high art’ into a visitor attraction is an exciting opportunity to bring the worlds of art installations, theatre and technology together through storytelling. At the Meet Vincent van Gogh Experience, museum exhibit and natural history recreation techniques combine with technologies found in theme parks and live shows to take visitors on a multisensory journey through Van Gogh’s life.

Walking in Vincent van Gogh’s footsteps, Meet Vincent visitors are guided by a location-based audio guide that transports them from Vincent’s childhood in the Netherlands to the streets of Paris and the countryside of Southern France. Finally, they encounter his life after death as an endless source of inspiration to people around the world.

Meanwhile, interactive stations encourage visitors to really touch and feel elements of Van Gogh’s works. At the Colour Paint Interactive, visitors use their hands to paint with Vincent’s brushstrokes. The Microscope Table lets them investigate the science behind Van Gogh’s masterpieces just like a Van Gogh Museum curator. While journeying through the south of France, visitors stretch out on a haystack and pose for selfies in the life-size recreation of Vincent’s The Bedroom. Instead of being told off for the flash on their camera, Meet Vincent visitors can take photos throughout the Experience and share content on their own social media. The result? They tell their own story alongside Van Gogh’s.


Merchandise: Prolonging the Visitor’s Journey

Michael David also reiterates the importance of merchandise to make the most of a visitor’s emotional connection to a brand.

With 280 paintings and 500 drawings as inspiration, the Van Gogh Museum brand attracts sponsors and partners because of its diversity and accessibility. Anyone visiting the Experience- from a high school student to a Van Gogh masterpiece collector- will find something in the retail shop to suit their tastes and budget. Whether it be a Sunflowers patterned folding bag, or a Van Gogh-inspired Jaeger-LeCoultre watch. This diversity gives the Van Gogh Museum’s branding partners the freedom to think creatively about sponsoring Meet Vincent and come up with engaging ways of interacting with the Experience during the show-run.

For example, during Meet Vincent’s recent tour stop in Seoul, LG Display was inspired to unite its cutting-edge technology with Van Gogh’s classic masterpieces in a technological ode to pop-art of the 1980’s. This ensured maximum brand impact. During the show-run, people who purchased an LG OLED TV were given promo tickets to the Meet Vincent Experience.


A successful visitor attraction is defined by its interactivity, storytelling, the strength of its brand, the diversity of its merchandise and its engagement with multiple age groups. Learn more about maximizing Meet Vincent van Gogh’s value as a visitor attraction at

The Meet Vincent van Gogh Experience has captivated audiences in Beijing, Barcelona and Seoul, and has recently announced an upcoming tour stop in Lisbon. Would you like to know more about hosting the Experience?