the future of ticketing.
Ticketing at the Museum of Science and Industry is complicated. On any given day, there can be up to 14 different add-on experiences, each with its own schedule, cost, and capacity. This creates an almost infinite number of combinations. For years, the Museum managed this complexity by overlaying custom software on top of Galaxy, a legacy ticketing platform for theme parks. The combination was inflexible, expensive, and failed under load on busy days. The Museum needed a modern, fully-managed alternative.
For many organizations, ticketing systems are often the most terrifying system to replace. Wired into nearly every aspect of the business, the ticketing system is responsible for orchestrating capacities, access control, and millions of dollars.
In close partnership with the Museum’s CFO, we led a 2-week discovery to understand the needs of the different teams within the organization. A key element to moving from “anything’s possible for a price” custom software to an out-of-the-box solution was building empathy between the teams and setting expectations. “For us to get something that works for everyone, you may only get 80% of what you want.”
After considering 20+ vendors, the Museum selected Ticketure, which was a relatively new platform at the time. Recently acquired by TixTrack, who had a long history in Broadway and seated-venue ticket sales, Ticketure had proven their platform selling huge volumes of tickets for the Broad in LA. Nothing else in the market was as modern and well-made as their handheld scanner-based system. At the time, they lacked a few key features (membership, group sales, and multiple timed-entry tickets), but were eager to build these with the right partner. In many ways, MSI was the worst-case scenario for everything a ticketing system needed to be. Solve MSI’s complex needs and you build a robust platform for virtually any museum or ticketed venue.
Together, Ticketure and the Museum ran a parallel process to co-develop the new platform features while preparing for the transition itself. An external project manager was hired to manage the 8-month project and a process of “small teams in smaller rooms” vs. huge committee-style meetings kept work focused and scope on track.
The final product, launched October 1, 2018, was transformative for the Museum. For the first time ever the Museum was able to fully serve its members, guests, and internal decision-makers. For members, long call center hold times and 6-week fulfillment times for member cards became instant membership purchase, renewal, and digital member cards. Guests were able to purchase tickets at the entrance of any upsell experience and long accordions of tickets were now single-ticket itineraries. And for the Museum, online ticket sales increased from 13% to 61% by the end of 2019. Additionally, together with CRM and marketing automation, the Museum finally had a 360-degree view of its guests and members.