Timed entry tickets allow visitors to enter an exhibit, museum or entertainment venue at a specific time. This practice has long been used by museums, especially ones with sought-after exhibits – think Yayoi Kusama’s infinity rooms – which require advanced passes. Disney World’s FastPass is another example of a timed entry offering that can be purchased months in advance or on the day of a visit.

Now, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread in America, timed entry passes offer a helpful way for arts, entertainment and culture organizations to safely reopen while maintaining capacity limits and social distancing rules.

How timed entry can help

  • Capacity: Entry windows can be spaced at safe intervals and each pass has a specific entry code that will only work once, during the assigned entry time. This prevents people from entering the space all at once.
  • Social distancing during entry: Setting specific entry times allows for staggered arrival meaning guests won’t be queuing up in large groups all at the same time.
  • Cleaning windows: Timed entry can also mean timed exit, which gives organizations the chance to plan for cleaning and sanitization between visitors.
Louvre, Paris, France. Photo by Alicia Steels.

Adage has been using technology to prepare arts and culture organizations to safely reopen during the pandemic and timed entry is another offering we want to highlight. Read on for our tips on how to use timed entry tickets for your organization.

1.  Be strategic when setting entry windows.

Consider your limited capacity, the planned duration for a visit, and how your patrons will move throughout the space. From a business point of view, the goal is to have as few people in the space at one time, but as many people as possible throughout the entire day. Understanding visitor behavior will be crucial in setting these windows. The most common behavior we’ve seen in the space when it comes to timed entry:

  • some organizations are using 30 minute or hourly increments to allow patrons entry while monitoring the capacity.
  • some organizations are opting for two timed entry slots (AM and PM) that limit visit time and capacity with a deep cleaning in between.

2.  Have a plan for your holistic patron experience.

From start to finish, your patrons should know what to expect from the moment they purchase their tickets. You’ve probably seen some businesses do this better than others with clear signage, including stickers on the ground, but don’t forget to share information online before guests even arrive at your venue. Think about the entire patron experience: from first contact online, to their in-person experience, and even their exit, then plan out the user flow through the whole thing.

3.  Make sure your online purchase path is updated.

Displaying the availability of tickets within timed entry slots can help patrons feel more comfortable choosing a time that may be less crowded. If you have multiple locations, consider how patrons will select locations and how it will affect subsequent entry times or add-ons. Add-ons such as special exhibits, maps, or guides should reflect the previous admissions selections such as the date and time of the planned visit. These are minor changes to your website that can be the difference in a patron feeling safe enough to visit.

Timed entry purchase path web page for American Museum of Natural History
American Museum of Natural History timed entry purchase path.

4.  Set onsite expectations early and often.

Are masks required for entry? Do they have to be worn for the entire visit? Are certain exhibitions closed? Does that affect seating and bathroom access? Set the expectation for the in-person experience by explaining safety protocols employed by your organization. Consider different types of visitors and what might be a pain point to the elderly, children, handicapped or immunocompromised. Online, include instructions during the checkout process to describe what the experience will be like such as arriving early, where to queue, and what a safe visit experience can include.

5.  Go completely digital to reduce physical contact.

Your organization can help keep your staff and patrons safe through digital or contactless methods. Adage has created fully digital versions of ticketing and memberships and there are many options to do both.

Ticketing:

  • Digital tickets
  • Digital membership cards
  • Online exchanges or refunds

Maps and Guides:

  • Online audio guides
  • Online maps and Playbills

The ways we visit spaces have certainly changed. Make sure your organization is communicating those changes clearly. If you are interested in utilizing Timed Entry on your site, reach out to Adage. Stay safe!