The Virtual Experience: How to Share Your Venue With Customers in Quarantine

Callum Tyler

April 23, 2020

While your venue has been in full swing to prepare for the end of social distancing, have you started thinking about virtual experiences you can share with your customers in the meantime?

Borders are closed, and social distancing is in full effect (we hope), so your exhibits might be gathering dust. That doesn’t mean they need to go unseen. There are countless ways to engage with your customers during the crisis, so we’ve gathered ideas from top museums around the world to help inspire ideas for your venue.

Every venue has put their own spin on things during the lockdown. Some larger foundations have hosted podcasts and digitized their work, while others are providing video tours. And, it’s hard to miss online art challenges that have people across the globe dressing up to imitate famous paintings.

Check out our list of ideas below on how your venue can offer customers a virtual experience. It can be as simple as staying in touch with your customers while quarantine is in effect, or inspiring a return visit when it’s over.

Embrace social media 

Welcome the humble hashtag with open arms and use it to its full effect. While we hope your creative juices are flowing during self-isolation, it’s in our nature to get a serotonin hit from our phones. So, capture people’s attention while they’re on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

Photo by S O C I A L . C U T on Unsplash

 If you need advice on how to do it, we created a blog for that very purpose. You can also take a virtual leaf from these online museum playbooks and start adding a hint of fun while you share your collection online. 

Tiqets has created the tag #TiqetsHomemadeMuseum where we curate the art and photography of our followers and inspirations, while venues like MoMA have collaborated with the BBC to make educational podcasts

Don’t be afraid to get creative online!

Create a guided video tour

Some of us are limited to taking one walk per day and as the world is coming into bloom, there’s a lot of botanic beauty that’s being missed.

The Netherlands’ Keukenhof couldn’t welcome visitors this year, but they didn’t let their countless tulips go to waste. While you can’t smell the flowers, you can still enjoy the Keukenhof online.

London’s Kew Gardens partnered with Tiqets to offer a quick virtual tour and some insider information on what not to miss once it reopens. Of course, Dubai, in true Dubai style, created a 360° virtual reality tour of their botanic gardens that even lets you take a snapshot to share online.

Livestream your activity

Just because visitors aren’t coming through the doors, it doesn’t mean the work stops. Nowhere is this more true than at aquariums and zoos.

You’ve probably already seen curious penguins roaming the halls of the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, but there have been all kinds of animal activity going on behind closed doors. 

The Cincinnati Zoo has gotten kids engaged with a safari on Facebook Live every weekday at 3.00 pm Eastern Standard Time. Each week puts the spotlight on one of their animals. Their hippo Fiona has already caught everyone’s attention online.

Open your museum virtually

There’s no option but to become a virtual tourist at the moment. And while Google Arts & Culture is at the forefront of displaying art using technology, other institutions are giving them a run for their money.

Tiqets has rounded up 36 virtual museum tours that visitors can take at home. Some efforts are as simple as digitizing your collection and allowing customers to view it online, while others offer an immersive 3D experience. 

Shakespeare’s Globe has mapped the theatre’s early 17th-century replica in 360°, so take a spin of the circular playhouse and click on points of interest to learn more about the history of the Globe.

Keep in touch with email campaigns and stories

Even without customers, operations don’t grind to a halt. Keep your patrons engaged through email updates and let them know what’s going on behind the scenes or what plans you have for a grand reopening when the time finally comes.

Of course, you don’t have to limit communication to newsletters; the Van Gogh Museum’s Instagram is taking advantage of their collection and pairing it with isolation advice.

Create a challenge

No doubt you’ve seen some of the #GettyMuseumChallenge photos floating around on Reddit or Twitter, and if not, then here’s a very welcome reminder.

While the Getty may have already stolen the show with their idea – and of course there’s a subreddit for that – it doesn’t mean you can’t find an idea for people to latch on to. After all, if people are willing to throw a bucket of ice on themselves, we’re sure they’ll get behind your idea. 

The Dutch have added their own spin to the classic art challenge with #tussenkunstenquarantaine – its the same idea as above, but participants are limited to using three household items. 

If high art isn’t your cup of tea, then let out your inner Disney princess or create your own Madame Tussaud’s and dress up as your favorite celeb (you’ll probably look prettier than your counterpart in the Rome Wax Museum). 

Get kids involved

Take a masterclass in finger painting. Well, it might not be that exact offering, but Guggenheim is offering free online art classes aimed at kids in different age brackets. 

Child does messy painting with various brushes and coloured paints

Photo by Donovan Valdivia on Unsplash

Other NYC art museums are offering interactive education for aspiring artists, so if your gallery is looking for ideas, then you can’t go wrong with following in the footsteps of The Met or The Whitney.

Put the paint away and learn something new 

Encouraging creativity in youngsters is never going to be a waste of time, but let’s not put that neuroplasticity to waste. Offer up some educational endeavors and find more ways to culture.

Museums across the globe are acting as some of the most impressive classrooms available right now, and with the amount of content made available, you can add to the fun and provide some lessons of your own using your museum. Some of our favorites so far are the range of STEM classes available from the California Academy of Science @ Home, and the Exploratorium’s ever-so-relevant lessons on viruses.

If you’re looking for more ideas, we’ve written an entire blog collecting the best online museum lessons

Prepare for life after quarantine and learn what’s next for the Chinese outbound tourist market? Find out more from an expert.

Read the latest blogs for museums, tours and attractions

How to Attract Tourists: A Case Study with the LINQ High Roller in Las Vegas 

When the High Roller opened, they hoped for instant success. But to attract tourists they needed a digital marketing strategy and the right selling points.

10 Ways to Become the Go-To Attraction for Repeat Visitors 

Here’s why museums and attractions need to focus on attracting repeat visitors – and 10 ways they can do just that.

Attracting Millennials to Museums: Your Complete Marketing Guide 

Attracting millennials to museums can be easy, but you need to speak their language. Here are some creative marketing ideas to engage with a younger audience!