Getting to know your audiences with Art Tickets

Getting to know your audiences with Art Tickets


Merrin Kalinowski, Museum Marketing Relationship Manager at Art Fund explains the benefits of their free ticketing system, Art Tickets. Built by museums, for museums the platform includes functionality for time ticketing, online events, membership and donations.

A woman holds up her phone to book a museum ticket

Art Tickets is the only free ticketing system built by museums, for museums. Run by Art Fund it has been an invaluable resource to help 185 museums safely re-open their doors between lockdowns.

Time ticketing, online events and donations have been essential to generating income, engage with audiences and welcome visitors back. Now that there is light at the end of the tunnel and the end of restrictions on place on the horizon, we can start to look beyond ticketing as a tool for social distancing and see the opportunities to get to know our audiences better through data.

Soothing ticketing headaches

Now more than ever, having an online presence and reaching new audiences isn’t just an ambition or an objective, it’s a necessity.

When museums were told that they could reopen their doors, as the first lockdown in the UK came to end, some museums had a matter of weeks to implement a plan that would involve getting timed entry and ticketing in place.

Launched in 2018, Art Tickets had already proved its worth to the 38 museums already using it by providing a huge boost to reopening plans, and it has since helped more than 180 museums reopen their doors safely to the public. It is easy to use, quick to set up, and works effectively for timed entry, giving every organisation total control of their visitor flow.

When developing Art Tickets, timed ticketing had been an important factor for organisations with small but free-to-enter spaces, so the platform has the functionality in place to manage capacity and visitor flow for safe reopening.  This practical support helps you not only to safely re-open and welcome your visitors back, but also generate income.

Nicky Brier, who leads Business Development at Macclesfield Museums, summed up the relief of many who were facing the future with trepidation:

Ticketing has been a major headache. And I now feel as an organisation we can move forward.

Donations and Data

An important feature of the system is the way it creates an environment that encourages donations when a visitor buys a ticket - handling Gift Aid along the way. There is also a ‘donation only’ option, to maximise income while museums are not able to open. So even if your building has not yet been able to open, you can continue to grow your donations and build relationships with your supporter base.

The system is also more than capable of handling tickets for general admission, events and exhibitions - whether those tickets are free or paid for. It has helped museums refine their customer service and reduce front of house administration. It can be used for over the phone and front desk bookings, as well as online, putting an end to the juggling of several lists.

The visitor data gathered is hugely valuable for planning post pandemic. From asking visitors to opt in to your museum’s e-comms when they buy a ticket, to have postcode data in the analytics dashboard, Art Tickets allows you to get to know your audiences better.

Nicola Kalinsky, Director of The Barber Institute of Fine Arts, has been delighted with the both the system, and the information it generates:

Art Tickets is very easy to use – simple and elegant. It’s also providing us with postcode data and mapping info, which we never had previously, and it’s free! And we can sell membership on it! And ask for donations!

Looking ahead

This year will see the launch of our partnership with The Audience Agency which will mean that Art Tickets museums will be able to get even more intelligence about their audiences. All Art Tickets users will have access to Audience Finder – the world’s largest cultural database, again, completely for free.

We are continuing to develop the platform to ensure that the technology goes on performing strongly and meeting the needs of museum partners. What’s more, our dedicated Art Tickets team are on hand for one-to-one support to help you get started and answer any questions you have about using the system.

The past 12 months has shown us, no-one can see into the future, but we can start to plan for it. The data from Art Tickets can provide us with some certainties about our audiences that will enable us to do just that. Organisations will open again; people will come back and fill the spaces; and Art Fund are alongside the sector every step of the way. Now is the time to take the first step in planning to welcome visitors’ back safely and with confidence with a team who have the experience to help you.

To find out more about Art Tickets, speak to one of the team by emailing or sign up to a free trial of the system

head and shoulders, Merrin Kalinowski

Merrin Kalinowski is Museum Marketing Relationship Manager at Art Fund

Sponsored by Art Fund for AMAculturehive

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Resource type: Articles | Published: 2021