We’ve always been amazed at how much some museums can do with such few staff, sometimes as small as a manager, information desk operator, docent and janitor. Come to think of it, in some cases those are all the same person. Whether this matches your operation, or your able to support a few more helpers, it’s time to consider adding one more ‘staffer’ to your roster. One that only does one thing, but does it really, really well: a people counter system.
In this article, we’ll look how people counter technology—an array of sensors placed in doorways and throughout an exhibit hall—can benefit museums of all sizes. Some people counting benefits make money, and some of them will save money, but as Kin Hubbard said, “The safest way to double your money is to fold it over and put it in your pocket.” Besides being humorous, it turns out that’s pretty sound financial advice.
With Hubbard’s words in mind, let’s explore four ways people counting technology can help museums make (and save) money:
1. Improve operations with regular, accurate visitor counts
With a people counting system, there’s no need to settle for an educated guess when submitting visitor counts for internal reports or external communications. Or worse, dedicating an employee or volunteer’s valuable time by sitting them by the door with a tally counter or clipboard and pencil. That is not an effective use of anyone’s time.
People counter technology systems, especially those combined with an analytical dashboard like the Flonomics Experience Manager, can compile precise visitor counts and other traffic data reports in mere moments. Such traffic data can be used to improve grant proposals, communications with stakeholders, members and supporters, and have a major impact on internal long- and short-term planning.
2. Go after more funding with precise, verifiable traffic data
We get it, grant proposals can be a challenge. That’s why we love finding solutions to make these requests easier to complete and more likely to be successful.
It goes without saying, therefore, that including up-to-date, accurate and verifiable traffic in one’s grant proposals is a favorite feature among museums who use people counting. (And just throwing this out there, the ability to create and export these reports is included in all Flonomics accounts)
3. Validate the need for staff at appropriate hours
Once a museum has been utilizing people counting for some time (even just a few months), tools like the Flonomics’ Museum Experience Manager can analyze historical traffic data and use it to create traffic forecasts for the future.
Such data forecasts help museum administrators optimize staffing levels for future weeks and months. In fact, many users have the confidence to plan their staffing levels for up to three months into the future, thanks to traffic forecasting.
4. Put staff in the right place at the right time
People counting is great for counting visitors that pass through your doors. But what happens once visitors are inside your facility? Where are they going? How long does the average visitor linger at a specific exhibit? And how long does the average visit last? Moreover, do these figures fluctuate from day to day?
With people counting sensors in place throughout the facility, and a sophisticated analysis platform like the Flonomics Experience Manager, museum administrators can see which exhibits are most popular, and when those displays experience the most traffic. This allows for proper staffing at all times, whether that’s adding extra staff in busy exhibits during high traffic days, or allowing staff to complete training activities, or have time off, during typically slow times.
Not to mention, knowing which of your exhibits are most popular will likely help to create and/or curate more successful exhibits in the future.
Managing staff, improving grant proposals and fine-tuning exhibits are all excellent benefits of people counting technology. But in truth, we’re just scratching the surface of what people counting can do for those in the museum space. If you have questions about how people counting can improve your facility, we’d love to offer a free consultation, or just answer a few questions.