How the Museum of Illusions’ Online Ticket Booking System Helped Them Launch in the Middle of Covid

Lauren Voges

January 26, 2021

In March 2020, the Museum of Illusions in Madrid was all set to open their doors and start welcoming visitors. Their world of optical illusions and mind-boggling exhibits was ready to be seen, and they were ready to start selling tickets with the Tiqets Booking Engine embedded on their website. But then the unimaginable happened. 

“We were fully ready to open in March, but then the pandemic hit Spain and strict quarantine measures were introduced. We ended up having to wait until June to open the museum!” says Jacquelin Mendes, Admin & Marketing Coordinator for Museum of Illusions in Madrid. 

When museums in Spain were allowed to open in June, the Museum of Illusions had a new challenge to overcome. While quarantine measures had been lifted in Spain, capacity measures for public spaces had set in.

The challenge

Selling enough tickets to stay open without breaching mandatory capacity limits

In Spain, the authorities have been strict about maintaining capacity limits both inside and outside public spaces. On several occasions, the Museum of Illusions even had the police at their doors because of the queues snaking their way along the side of the building. 

In addition to keeping with the capacity limits, and keeping the local police happy, the museum had only just opened. From managing payments to implementing an entirely new booking system, Jacquelin and her team needed extra support as they navigated their way through running a brand new museum in the middle of a global pandemic.

Having the police come to check on your venue because there is a crowd of people congregating outside it is really challenging.

Of course you’re happy that there’s a lot of interest in the museum, but you still want to keep everyone safe.”

Jacquelin Mendes 

The solution

Using timeslot-based booking to manage visitor capacity

The new rules around capacity measures meant that Jacquelin and her team could not rely solely on walk-ins – they simply wouldn’t be able to accommodate them all. To avoid crowding at popular times, they would also need to space out their online bookings. If they couldn’t do this, they were at risk of being shut down by the cops. 

The Museum of Illusions had chosen to partner with Tiqets because of their powerful, flexible booking engine. Using the Tiqets Booking Engine, Jacquelin and her team were able to implement a timeslot-based booking system directly on their site so that they could better manage the number of the visitors at their venue at any given time. 

Since implementing timeslot-based booking, Jacquelin and her team have seen a notable uptick in their numbers. Before offering timeslot-based booking, the museum was only able to accommodate 450 visitors per day, now that they’re able to let visitors book by timeslot they can welcome 950 visitors per day. On any given Saturday, they’ve had up to 900 visitors in their museum throughout the day.

The Tiqets Booking Engine is super easy to use.

Whenever we’ve had any questions, the team at Tiqets is quick to help us solve any problems. The other OTAs we work with don’t offer timeslot-based booking, and being able to offer this has made a huge difference to our business.”

Jacquelin Mendes

Adapting to each day’s capacity

By harnessing the timeslot booking feature in the booking engine, Jacquelin and her team are in a far better position to welcome a lot of visitors without flouting capacity regulations. “Now that we have timeslot-based booking, almost 90% of our sales come through the Tiqets Booking Engine. Since opening we’ve sold 36,000 tickets through Tiqets alone!” adds Jacquelin. 

If it looks like they’re getting a lot of walk-in visitors over a weekend, or if the city announces new lockdown measures, Jacquelin and her team can stop selling tickets online to balance demand. 

“I can stop sales whenever I want to with the booking engine. And if I need to change the limits long-term, I can call my regional manager and this information is updated quickly. The system offers almost everything we need.”

Offering a seamless online ticket booking experience for staff and customers

Being able to offer visitors an easy, intuitive booking experience was something Jacquelin and her team wanted to get right from the start. They believed the best way to do this would be to have the option to book online directly on their website.

“Having a booking engine integrated directly into our site was really important to us. We spoke to a lot of OTAs about our options in this regard, and Tiqets offered everything we needed. It helped of course that their commission rates are really reasonable too!” says Jacquelin.  

Integrating the booking engine into their website was “super easy” according to Jacquelin and a useful tool for multiple members of her team. “The booking engine is really easy to use, and various members of our team use the booking engine for different reasons.

“The features that I use most are the calendar feature, to see how many visits we have scheduled for the day, and the number of orders and actual visitors. The onsite staff use the booking engine to double check faulty tickets and ticket barcodes,” adds Jacquelin.

As for the customers themselves, their online booking experience is so seamless they don’t even know they’re booking through an OTA. “The great thing about the Tiqets Booking Engine is that when people book tickets through our website they don’t know they’re booking through Tiqets because it’s so well integrated into our site,” adds Jacquelin. The Tiqets Booking Engine is completely white-label, designed to fit into the Museum of Illusions’ brand and website.

Almost 90% of our sales come through the Tiqets Booking Engine.

Since opening we’ve sold 36,000 tickets through Tiqets alone!”

Jacquelin Mendes

Keeping up a steady stream of revenue to ensure a top-notch visitor experience

Even though the museum has been successful since it first opened in June, it’s still operating during a pandemic and funds are tight. To keep the museum ticking over, Jacquelin realised that they would need a steadier and more regular cash flow.

“Because we’re still new and finding our feet, we need to maintain a steady, frequent cash flow. Tiqets has a particularly flexible payments structure. For example: we asked if Tiqets could transfer the money from all tickets sold through the booking engine every 15 days instead of every month and they happily accommodated us. This has been crucial to our survival as a museum during such a difficult time.”

In many ways, the Museum of Illusions team was lucky that their experience had always been designed to appeal to locals. With a vortex tunnel that warps visual perception and clever, interactive exhibits like 3D puzzles and optical illusions, the team at the museum knew that both locals and tourists would delight in what they had to offer. All they had to do was figure out the technical elements with support from Tiqets.

Looking towards the future with Tiqets

During a year where the entire tourism industry was turned on its head, it’s remarkable that the Museum of Illusions Madrid has not only been able to open their doors for the first time, but sell their tickets and stay afloat. 

“We’re in constant challenges. The pandemic has forced us to make many changes: opening times, tickets limits, onsite safety measures, etc. Tiqets have been crucial for us, because they are always willing to help us in everything we need, no matter what or when. We are sure that our results could be better, and that they will be very soon,” says Jacquelin.

Tiqets logo, more ways to culture

Want to learn more about how you can partner with Tiqets or use the Tiqets Booking Engine to achieve similar success? For a one-on-one conversation with a regional account manager to assess your goals and how Tiqets can help, get in touch with us here.