In 2018, a music video contributed to a 26% year-on-year increase to the visitor numbers of the Louvre.
The surreal 6-minute clip stars Beyoncé and Jay-Z in the deserted Parisian museum, seemingly admiring the art on show. In fact, they probably had the most unobstructed view anyone has had of the Mona Lisa for some time.
Now, we know it’s typically out of the hands of most museums, tours, and attractions whether or not a celebrity (never mind two of them) decide to show up and shoot a music video there.
That's why, for those where this isn't an option, we've curated a list of our 9 top marketing tactics for museums, tours, and attractions (with a little bonus at the end!).
Give some attention to digital
More and more people are researching and planning experiences online, rather than through guides, leaflets or newspapers, as they would have done in the past. For example, the searches for “near me” increased 150% year on year according to Google. This graph shows how quickly this trend has taken off, and continues to grow, with the advent of mobile phone research. This is such a powerful trend that Google has even coined the term “zero moment of truth” (or ZMOT) to describe it.
How can you take advantage of this? The first step to being seen more is having a digital revamp. Make sure you have an up-to-date listing on Google Maps, and that you are tracking promotion channels for the search terms related to things to do in your region.
To generate ticket purchases directly from search, you can also use Reserve with Google.
You don’t need B-listers to create buzz
The Iamsterdam sign became so famous on social media that they ended up having to move it, because it was attracting too many visitors.
You don’t need to be a celebrity to create social virality around a museum or attraction. Encouraging the sharing of photos on social media can create a buzz online around your venue. For example, the “Iamsterdam” sign became so famous on social media that they ended up having to move it, because it was attracting too many visitors.
Try to place some signs around your venue where the exhibition looks particularly Instagram-friendly.
For example, the Moco Museum has an entire room lit up with white three-dimensional balls, and Madame Tussauds in its entirety screams selfie-opportunity!
Make sure these locations are branded, so they’re easily recognizable, or ask people to tag your Instagram username. You could even consider entering those that tag you into a prize draw to encourage more sharing.
Did you say discount?
Another age-old marketing trick is to offer an irresistible discount. Why not try a special offer during off-peak times, or any time that you want to draw even more people to your museum or attraction? For example, a top London attraction offered a discount to visitors for a month, and saw a whopping 800% increase in footfall. This can also help you with creating bigger social and word-of-mouth buzz for the month, as well as bringing potential customers to your gift shop or coffee bar.
Your brand is great – show it off!
Offer plenty of branded goodies in your store. It’ll act as a great souvenir, while also being the perfect opportunity to share your brand with people that may not know you. If you really want to take advantage of this marketing method, you could even offer a branded gift such as a tote bag with every ticket purchase. Not only will this create a better connection with your visitor, but they will wear your brand with pride within your own city and beyond.
Stuck for ideas? Here’s some examples of how The Louvre, V&A, and the British Museum have created conversation-starting bags.
Communicate outside your venue walls
You communicate well with your customer when they’re at the venue. But what about when they’re off-site? Before their visit, customers want to know how to find you and what to prepare for – you can use this opportunity to remind them to visit your store, or advise them on hot-spots to share images on social media.
Once the visitor leaves your premises, that's often the end of their experience. But why should it be? Tell them which events are coming up that they should come back for, remind them to follow your social media channels, or encourage them to see more on your website. This message can act as a kind thank you for visiting, leaving a lasting positive impression for your customers.
Don’t treat your
competitors as competitors
Are there similar museums or attractions in your region? You can always leverage your joint marketing efforts to help each other out. For example, you could place their leaflets/posters in your venue, in return for them placing some of yours in theirs. This is just one of the ways you can arrange a successful partnership.
Tiqets allows you to directly cross-sell. Visitors buying tickets to someone else’s museum or attraction can receive a discount when they buy tickets for yours, and vice versa. It’s a nice way of helping out the fellow tourism and culture community in your region, while making it easy for your customers to discover new experiences.
Invite local influencers to talk about you
Another way you can build buzz is by inviting trusted influencers to write about your museum or attraction. These can be people with a strong brand on social media, a travel blog, or even a contributor for a press publication.
Just make sure you create an agreement that clearly states what you’re offering, and what you expect in return. You can’t tell them what to say about your museum or attraction, but you can create a set of deliverables, such as “1x blog post and 2x tweets on Twitter” in return for free entry, for example.
Get on the Chinese super-app: WeChat
WeChat is one of China's biggest apps, with over a billion active users. It offers direct messaging, social media, and quick mobile payment – in other words, it's crucial for reaching the Chinese market. Chinese tourists are increasingly arranging overseas trips in smaller groups, and will rely on their online network for information to help plan where to go, and what to see. Make sure you embrace WeChat by having your own presence with shareable content around your museum or attraction, such as a QR code that links to your WeChat content. Want to know more about being seen on WeChat? Tiqets can help with that – get in contact to find out more here.
Get talking to those you’re marketing to
Every museum, attraction, tour or park is different. That’s why these tips should be taken with awareness of who your customers are, and why they visit.
You should know what your visitors like to do, where else they visit, and what their general interests are, so you can create a marketing plan to gel with their individual personality.
Sending a survey after the visit will help you understand your customer. You can also see quantitative visitor data in your Tiqets Self Service portal so you can adapt your marketing and engagement strategy.
Measure and adapt
Here's a bonus tip, which shouldn't be forgotten. Marketing is only helpful when you know if it worked or not, so you can adapt future iterations. A good way to find this out is to ask your visitors how they found your museum or attraction in the first place. It’ll be a great talking point, and gives you an idea of what works and what doesn’t.
Take some of these ideas as inspiration, and multiply that with what you know about your customers to create an irresistible offer for potential visitors. Get yourself seen in the right places, and you’ll start to see your museum or attraction grow.
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