Museums are always popular destinations, promising to usher visitors into new, enriching, and novel experiences. But while you may be focused on installing the latest technologies to keep visitor numbers up at your museum — and that certainly has its place — there’s really one simple approach to improve the museum visitor experience across the board: using people counting sensors to understand visitor behavior and make improvements where necessary.
Who Are Your Visitors? Knowledge Is Everything
Do you know the types of visitors coming through your museums doors? While it might be easy to assume that all visitors have the same objectives for their trip to the museum, it’s important to realize that different visitors have different motivations. According to Dr. John H. Falk’s, “Understanding Museum Visitors’ Motivations and Learning,” there are five kinds of museum visitors.
- Explorers: These visitors are curious first and foremost, seeking to find just the right content to catch their interest and unlock their thirst for learning.
- Facilitators: As the name implies, this group tends to enable the museum visitor experience for others, e.g., a teacher leading a classroom of students or a father shepherding his children.
- Professional/hobbyists: Already well versed on a particular topic, these visitors are seeking to deepen their knowledge in an area of prime interest, such as a history teacher researching an ancient civilization.
- Experience seekers: These visitors are “destination-driven,” keenly aware of your museum as an experience to cross off their lists of important things to do.
- Rechargers: Seeking a sanctuary from the busyness of modern life, these visitors are looking for a quiet reprieve from their hectic schedules.
People counting systems can help you gain a deeper understanding of who your visitors are by their behaviors. Are large groups moving from exhibit to exhibit together? Are individuals heading to particular areas and lingering there for research? This data can help you create the museum visitor experiences they are looking for.
Winning Exhibitions: Identifying What Works and Where You Can Improve
How do you know if an exhibition was a smashing success or a disappointing dud? People counting systems can tally your visitors so you know how much traffic each of your exhibitions, and especially your special or visiting exhibitions, draws. People counters are more reliable than manual counts and can help you to plan future exhibitions by looking at concrete data on the types of exhibitions that have attracted large crowds in the past, improving the museum visitor experience for your regulars as well as your casual attenders.
Go With the Flow
Once through your doors, where do your visitors go? People counters deliver valuable insights about which areas of your museum feature the highest and lowest traffic, enabling you to re-envision your building and exhibition layout if necessary. Consider ways to redirect attendees so that traffic flows smoothly and perhaps even guide individuals to underexposed areas of your facility, ensuring a better museum visitor experience for all.
Eliminate under- and overstaffing with data gleaned from your people counting system. Provide a stellar museum visitor experience for all of your guests by having just the right number of staff, security guards, and docents on hand to serve during your busiest and slowest periods. With people counting data, you can anticipate future demand as well. For example, if your exhibition on rare jewels last summer drew blockbuster crowds, you might want to have extra staff manning the museum for the temporary exhibition of South American gold treasures you’re launching this weekend.
What makes a great museum experience? Ask your visitors that question, and they’ll probably rattle off any number of neat things they learned, saw, or experienced within your four walls. Keep them focused on those awe-inspiring moments by doing your part behind the scenes: leveraging people counting data to elevate the museum visitor experience.
Monitor Traffic Flow
The most-visited museums use traffic-counting systems to monitor the flow of visitors into and throughout the facility, and data on hotspots where crowds gather can yield useful information about the areas attracting audiences and others that are overlooked. People counters also can reveal where visitors begin and end their journey, helpful in understanding how many experience the exhibition in its entirety.
The most-visited museums keep their facilities as pristine as their art and artifacts, thanks in part to the strategic use of people-counting systems. There are a number of factors that play into becoming a first-tier cultural institution beyond collections and curators. How often do the floors need to be mopped? Do restrooms need to be refreshed twice daily? What about larger maintenance projects, like structural repairs, window washing and more? Use your people counters to understand the level of traffic your building can endure before maintenance is required. A well-kept facility helps to attract visitors; many museum-goers are drawn to the peaceful, sanctuary-like feel of these cultural spaces.
People-counting data aids not only with security staffing but also with your workforce management overall. By reviewing your historical traffic data, you can get a feel for the days, weeks and months when you attract the greatest volumes of visitors and times when you can lower costs by scheduling only essential personnel. For example, perhaps you need only half the visitor assistants on a slow Tuesday that you would on a perfect Saturday afternoon. The most-visited museums rely on actionable insights from traffic-counting data to right-size their staff schedules and keep labor costs under control.
You can always find large crowds thronging to the most-visited museums, and more often than not, it’s an orderly, civilized affair. How do powerhouse museums like Carnegie, Getty and The Met run a tight ship? By leveraging people-counting data to get security staffing levels just right.
It’s important to ensure you’ve deployed enough security personnel not to just to protect your priceless objects but also to keep crowds under control. Are visitors bunching up in one specific area of a special exhibition? Security can help to keep everyone safe by steering museum-goers from one room to another, optimizing visitor flow as much as possible.
Make Smart Business Decisions
It could also help curators to determine the popularity or effectiveness of a travelling or temporary exhibit. If the exhibit does not do well, it could keep them from investing in a similar one in the future. People counters can serve as a potential money-saver in those situations, allowing curators to make more informed business decisions. On the flip side, exhibits that prove to be doing well can be expanded. Curators will be able to make this decision knowing that it will get a good response.
After comparing traffic numbers from each exhibit, museum curators may find that the exhibits or area of the museum that are getting the most footfall are more interactive or hands-on and involve technology. Depending on the size and scope of the museum, curators could use metrics from their people counting system to make a case for an increased budget to incorporate more technology-based exhibits.
Traf-Sys People Counting Systems Help Museums Improve Business
Learn more about how people counter systems can your museum visitor experience by contacting Traf-Sys today. Call us at 1-888-815-6568 or contact us online.