Why more museums should have an online ticketing application and how to make the most of it
America’s museums receive more online visit than physical ones. That’s a fact. And has been true since 2006, according to the The Institute of Museum and Library Service.
Selling tickets online helps museums provide greater access to visitors, it enables them to better anticipate visitors fluctuations, and to make the best strategic decisions in terms of communication and marketing.
But it’s also about growing their online presence, delivering a better experience to their visitors, and reaching new ones.
An additional value to online ticketing is that it is the best way to see your customer/visitor data base filling up on it’s own. Because with each purchase, you directly collect precious data that your marketing and memberships teams will be able to use to better know your audience. And this means much more than just being able to follow-up to offer them membership subscriptions. You can also ensure that they receive emails with timely exhibit information prior to visits and specific insights on special exhibits. As you get to know your visitor, they get to know you. It is the start of a beautiful relationship.
So we have been wondering how come so many museums are still not selling tickets on their website? And how can we help them make this feature a great one for both their staff and their visitors?
Some might think that having an online platform means that you open a new distribution channel and (ta-da!) increase your revenue. Well, it isn’t that simple, because visitors feel that there is no urge to buy an online ticket for a museum. People buy online tickets for a concert because they are afraid they won’t get a seat, and because getting stuck on line with half a stadium of people, a few minutes before the beginning of the show isn’t an option.
A museum obviously presents a very different scenario. So for a museum to sell tickets online, this feature has to be seen as an opportunity for the visitor.
Thankfully, incentivizing online tickets purchases doesn’t mean that you need to dilute your revenue; on the contrary, it can be a springboard to increase the sales in other POS of your facility.
In this field, a very popular functionality is timed online offers. It encourages people to complete their purchases by offering them a specific benefit … if a visitor makes an online purchase in the next, 5, 10, or 15 minutes. It’s not about pressuring potential visitors, it’s about giving them access to a great offer during a limited period of time. This is good news for you: it’s also the perfect occasion to boost your online shop sales or membership subscriptions by offering a discount on them.
Not keen to offer discounts? What about preview access for your next exhibition?
In its white paper “Service to People: Challenges and Rewards, How Museums Can Become More Visitor-Centered,” the Wallace Foundation reports that “more and more museums are doing what it takes to make visitors want to come and feel welcome when they arrive, engage them during their stay, and make sure they’re eager to return”. At Veevart, we believe that an efficient ticketing app can certainly help them do this.