Smart integration of old and new in the museum of Fat Margaret!

The Museum and Visitor Centre Fat Margaret is the newest permanent exhibition of Estonian Maritime Museum. Although it has only been open for a short time, it has already become extremely popular – the average number of visitors reaches 100 people per day.

The medieval gate complex Fat Margaret is a part of is under heritage protection, and because of that, the renovation process was somewhat more complicated. The planning period itself was quite long – almost five years, and it took two years of the actual construction to get the new museum ready. During the construction work, fragments of even earlier town fortifications were found under the tower and in the courtyard. Some of them can now be seen in the museum. Great finds, indeed, but these findings also stretched the construction period to be longer. 

The museum’s main exhibit is a medieval merchant ship “koge” that was found very near during the construction of Tivoli’s housing complex. It was a fortunate find – there is even a trace of an excavator on the side of the shipwreck. Fortunately, the excavator driver Peeter realized very quickly that he had found something rare and valuable during the work, so he stopped digging. In his honor, the shipwreck is named after Peeter.

One of the museum’s principles is to make it accessible to everybody. “We have solutions for the hearing impaired and visually impaired people, many hand-on solutions that help people with intellectual disabilities to understand more complex maritime phenomena, and of course we have made most of the medieval complex accessible to wheelchair users. During the renovation, the thick Margaret became the first tower in the Old Town that has an elevator,” said Herman Miller, the Service Manager at the Estonian Maritime Museum. What’s even better – getting to the top of the tower with an elevator does not require a ticket. With the help of Ektaco, the passage system has been built in a way that the ticket holder can pass through the exhibition floors using a barcode, and everybody, also people without the ticket, can use the elevator to enjoy the city view. If the weather allows, there is also a café on the roof. 

The same barcode on the ticket is also used to navigate through the slides and turnstiles, and if the clients have purchased a joint ticket to the Seaplane Harbor and Fat Margaret, the same ticket can be used in both sites, avoiding the queue at another museum. 

The museum with such high visitor numbers must, of course, be thought through to the details. “The quality and innovation of the permanent exhibit definitely play a key role in making a museum successful. But thoughtful customer journey – from ticketing to avoiding bottlenecks during the exhibition tour is essential as well,” said the service manager.

The entire ticketing system has been developed in cooperation with Ektaco. 

Tickets can be purchased at three locations: museum website, the regular ticketing office, and self-service point-of-sale. Once you have purchased your ticket online, you don’t need to print anything or replace it with a paper ticket on the spot – an online ticket works precisely like a paper ticket. Since the joint ticket of Seaplane Harbor and the Fat Margaret allows you to visit them on different days during one week period, there is also no need to worry about losing the ticket in the meantime. 

When purchasing the ticket online, it is also crucial that the entire process is done on the Maritime Museum’s website, and the user is not directed to a third-party website. The advantage of such a solution is especially noticeable for foreign tourists, who can buy a ticket online and be sure that they can visit the museums they wish without having to wait in the queue.

The self-service ticketing machine helps to keep queues shorter even during peak hours. However, there is still a regular ticketing counter too, where you can ask questions if needed. According to Miller, the experience of the Maritime Museum shows that there are no problems in buying a ticket from the self-service point-of-sale, and according to current knowledge, about 10% of people prefer to use the self-checkout option.

“From the museums’ point of view, it is a good thing that the entire ticketing and passage system is automatically linked to Scoro CRM system. Thanks to this, there is less need for manual entries and a reduction of order errors. The advantage of integration particularly shows in group orders, which include a variety of services that are now neatly and comfortably available in one system,” said Herman Miller highlighting the benefits of automation.

The most significant benefits of self-service point-of sale:

  • The user interface is available in four languages: Estonian, English, Russian and Finnish
  • One can pay with a regular bank card or use the swiping option
  • The self-service point-of-sale can be built into a wall (similar to the cash machines) or have it standing alone as a stall inside or outside
  • The point-of-sale system (CompuCash) can be integrated for example with business software program
  • The user interface of the self-service point-of-sale is easy and reliable
  • The point-of-sale system administrator can create new and change the existing product names and prices, and one can also sell reduced price campaign tickets.
  • The passage system automatically determines where the visitors can move, and no other ticket control system is needed

The self-checkouts have reduced the time it takes to sell a single ticket, and integration with Scoro has significantly increased the efficiency of accounting activities.

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