Virtual reality and multimedia experiences are not the only advanced technologies being integrated into museums. Sentiment analysis, machine learning and artificial intelligence are also paving their way. With a newfound focus on brand reputation, data and cutting-edge technology are providing new methods of reputation management.
Museums must defend their reputation in today’s feedback-centric society. With TripAdvisor’s annual release of their Travelers’ Choice Museum Rankings, the competition has never been so tough. Claiming a top ranking has a significant weight for museums, as it offers publicity and visibility on international media (…and not to mention bragging rights!).
With the growth of “mini-vacations”, tourists are carefully planning not only where to eat and sleep, but also where to visit and spend their hard-earned days off. Online feedback and customer reviews are an invaluable resource for travelers making well-informed decisions about where and how to spend their time.
The Guardian has summarized why strengthening the museum brand has become so crucial:
“First, museology; the science and practice of organising, arranging and managing museums, has changed the emphasis from collections to audiences, and from objects to stories. Second, television and the internet have provided competition, and have led audiences to expect a much more vivid and interactive experience. Finally, governments have insisted that museums get better at attracting wider audiences, and at funding themselves.”
The British Museum and Visitor Sentiment Analysis
Coline Cuau, Digital Analyst at the British Museum in London, shared the museum’s choice to implement new tools for analyzing the online brand reputation. By implementing machine learning and semantic analysis technology, the British Museum has uncovered even the most granular details for obtaining top results.
“We’ve made some interesting discoveries throughout this project. For example: visitors care more about temperatures than crowds. Toilets have a bigger impact on satisfaction rating than object labels. Spanish-speaking visitors are more likely to mention tours and audio guides than any other nationality (even though there are currently no tours in Spanish on offer). French visitors talk a lot about family activities. Non-English speakers are more reliant on the audio guide and therefore have higher expectations for it, so they give more critical feedback. These insights have been shared with teams around the Museum, and are currently being used to inform long-term strategy decisions.”
Brand Reputation for Italian Museums
Museums, also in Italy, are leveraging visitor opinions and focusing on the perception of the museum experience. As a result, they are improving their offer based on customer feedback analysis.
For example, The Civic Museums of Venice and Natural History Museum of the University of Florence are already analyzing and managing their brand reputation. By leveraging Travel Appeal tools dedicated to the museum industry, these museums are understanding their strengths and weaknesses based on customer feedback, in real time. They are uncovering the level of appreciation for each service offered and the overall sentiment for every type of visitor, based on demographics and visitor type.
What holds true for any brand, hotel or destination, can also be applied to museums. Visitors love to talk about their experiences, write reviews online and make recommendations. Analyzing and interpreting online content, with the right tools, provides museums with the opportunity to offer visitors the best possible experience and, in turn, increase profits.