In the following article, written by Smita Jalaf, Marketing Executive at Vennersys, are some top tips and a case study covering how using visitor data at your museum can enhance your visitor experience and inform your marketing plans.
Data, Visitor Behaviour and Experience: Tips To Improve Your Museum
Understanding your visitors is key to ensuring the success and legacy of your museum. What is it about your destination that compels visitors to attend? Is it the interesting exhibitions, the picturesque tearoom, the inclusive catering offer or the distinctive merchandise? Does your museum attract a lot of unique visitors or are you attracting loyal return visitors? Lots of people in the museum sector are time poor and are managing multiple roles at once. The right visitor management system can give you detailed data insights at the click of a button which allow you to understand your visitors better and in turn improve your museum.
Kelmarsh Hall & Gardens is a Grade I listed country house built in 1732 and is in the care of a charitable trust. Before they implemented an integrated visitor management system from Vennersys, the Historic House had gone through some significant changes. They increased their opening days from 1 to 3 days a week during April to October. A new ‘life below stairs’ interactive visitor experience was launched in the servant quarters. Previously, visitor numbers, ticket prices and gift shop items were written down and then inputted which was extremely time-consuming.
Reports which offer you a deeper insight into customer behavior can easily be extracted from the system. Sophie Croasdale, visitor services & collections officer, “I can dig out information about our visitors which I’ve never had before. All that data will then help inform us on which days and months we are busiest, so we can plan accordingly. Interestingly the new system has shown that despite poor weather conditions on opening this year, our visitor numbers were higher than expected. This is particularly useful in relation to our latest attraction, the servant’s quarters, as this was the result of a large restoration project and we wanted to know how much demand there has been since it opened.”
The information acquired in the reports enable the staff at Kelmarsh hall & Gardens to improve their visitor experience. They can provide extra provisions and staff for their busy periods. If the reports have shown that the life below stairs experience is particularly popular, they can focus on marketing this experience more. These insights can be a basis on which you can probe further. Did Kelmarsh Hall & Gardens experience high attendance numbers during a period of poor weather because of the new servant’s quarter experience or is there another reason? A survey could be conducted amongst visitors to further explore this.
I will illustrate an example where data can shed a light on customer behavior and lead to tailored marketing and stronger customer relationships. Data insights can be used to inform customer marketing with our reporting and CRM modules. The system monitors many elements including visitor spend at your museum. When assessing this data, you learn that you have visitors who regularly buy coffee in your museum café. How can we use this particular insight to our advantage?
We can send these visitors a voucher for coffee and cake via our CRM module. This personalized promotion is relevant to these customers and more importantly, it makes them feel valued. We have taken their current buying patterns into account instead of sending them a general one size fits all promotion which isn’t tailored to their current behavior at all. In addition, this promotion can encourage return visits and increase visitor spend. It’s highly likely that these visitors may spend money on other catering items or merchandise due to them receiving free coffee and cake. Personalised promotions like this can strengthen your relationships with your customer.
Top Tips on Using Data to Improve Your Museum
1: Pick the right visitor management system for you
There are many systems out there which unify ticketing, memberships, CRM, event management, retail and hospitality into a single platform. You will need to identify the functionality and features that are crucial for your museum. It may be imperative that your system processes and prints out memberships and has an advance ticketing option for specific events. Our advice is to speak to at least 3-4 companies and to arrange a software demo at your museum so you can see it in action.
2: Identify parameters for reporting
Once you’ve selected your system, you’ll need to identify the parameters you want to track in your reports. You could assess visitor spend, visitor numbers, stock control of merchandise and catering or many other categories. Now you know what you’re tracking; you can simply acquire the relevant reports from your visitor management solution.
3: Utilise Data
Data and statistics are meaningless if there not put into context. Are the visitor figures higher or lower than you expected? Are many visitors spending at the café and gift shops? What proportion of visitors are members? The data should be analysed and prompt a business action. For example, if visitor numbers are lower than expected, it may prompt an audit of the museum.
4: Evaluate Changes
Any changes that have occurred as a result of the data should be evaluated. These changes could be marketing promotions, an introduction of new catering items or features or changes in staffing. Assess these changes to see if they have been successful or not for the museum.
5: Meaningful Marketing
Insights gained from your data can be used to create compelling visitor centric marketing campaigns tailored to your audiences behaviour. Our powerful CRM marketing module can be used in conjunction with email automation software to ensure that the right message is being delivered to the appropriate audience. Recent data shows that one of your current exhibitions is attracting many new and unique visitors to the museum. How can we get these unique visitors to become loyal customers who return to the museum? You can use automation in your email software which will automatically send an email to new visitors advertising the loyalty card and membership scheme. The email outlines how you can save money on admission, collect points which can be used to gain discounts on catering and merchandise and be the first to know about new events and exhibitions. Data can be segmented so you can communicate messages to very specific audiences. An exhibition is drawing in many visitors but sales of the customised exhibition merchandise are low. A discount code for merchandise and catering can be distributed to exhibition visitors to try and drive sales of merchandise and catering. Data illustrates that you haven’t had new entrants to the membership schemes for a few months. This then leads to you producing a mass email campaign revealing the multiple benefits to being a member. A one size fits all approach doesn’t work in marketing. Using data as a catalyst for your marketing messages guarantees that your marketing communications are relevant and useful.
Vennersys, a member of Christie Group plc, has over 25 years’ experience delivering ticketing & EPoS solutions to a variety of leading visitor attractions. UK based, we strive to provide world class software and service solutions. Our solution, Venpos is a powerful multi-channel software suite that enables users to manage all aspects of their operations from admissions to marketing; physical and online. VENPoS modules include but are not limited to: Admissions, GiftAid, Memberships, Campaign and Stock Management.