The Mail Rail is part of the Postal Museum experience

Postal Museum boosts ratio of advance online sales to 80%

Geraldine Kendall Adams, 13.08.2018
Online ticketing sets museum on course to exceed visitor target
The Postal Museum in London has described online ticket sales as a cornerstone of its successful opening year, reporting that 80% of tickets are now purchased through its website in advance.

The museum, which opened in September 2017, has welcomed more than 160,000 people through its doors so far and is on course to exceed its target of 186,000 visitors in its first year.

From the beginning, the museum has focused on enhancing its online ticketing system to make the sales experience straightforward and user-friendly. This has resulted in a high rate of conversion, with the museum describing its 80% online sales ratio as a “staggeringly high figure in the entertainment and attractions industry”.

“We were aware from the start that our online presence was going to be the shop window," said Ian Tolley, the museum’s IT and systems manager. "The history of the post office is all about communication so it would have been poor if we didn’t embrace that online.”

Tolley said that online ticketing had helped to simplify the museum's complicated ticket offer, which has three paying attractions rolled into one: the museum itself, the Mail Rail electric train ride, and a children’s play area. The Mail Rail attraction, in particular, allows just a small number of visits per time slot and requires advance booking.

The payment system, provided by the Ingenico Group, is integrated with the museum’s onsite ticketing desk and is aware of sales and capacity in real time. The system incorporates familiar payment methods and enables users to make shop purchases at the same time, as well as handling Gift Aid and donations.

“Our integration means we can find our way from an individual transaction on the ticketing systems to the customers’ entire payment process,” said Tolley.

"The system takes you by the hand," he said. "The fact that it seems seamless is quite an achievement."

The ticketing system is also integrated with the museum’s retail and stock management, as well as its marketing database. “It’s like an octopus at the centre of our organisation with tentacles in lots of different areas,” said Tolley.

Museums are increasingly relying on advance ticket sales as a means of reducing queues and pressure on box office staff, as well as managing the visitor flow to prevent overcrowding. Other institutions, such as the Rijksmuseum in the Netherlands, report that around 35% of their tickets are purchased online in advance.

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