Horniman Museum and Gardens

Since 2012, Culture Consultants have conducted several strategic reviews and implementation projects for the Horniman Museum and Gardens.

A. Pricing Strategy, Membership Scheme Options, Individual Giving review.

Included in this project was a detailed review of the performance and opportunities for the charging of admission tickets to the Horniman’s temporary exhibitions and permanent aquarium attraction, with an intention to bring prices up to competitive levels over a period of 12 to 24 months.
In tandem, a review was undertaken of the viability of establishing a benefit-driven membership and loyalty programme, whilst examining opportunities for greater ‘lower level’ fundraising activity, including via donations boxes and Gift Aided tickets. Any new Membership programme needed to take into account an existing, independent Friends’ scheme, and other local market factors.
This review led to the implementation of a ticketing pricing strategy with revised prices (using standardisation, optimisation and maximisation models), and a SWOT analysis for the introduction of a membership scheme. It also made recommendations for how a scheme could be structured and administered, what its Member benefits could be, and what considerations would need to be factored into any future implementation.

B. Membership Scheme Implementation

For this follow-up project we designed a new loyalty scheme to meet the strategic needs of the Horniman Museum and Gardens. This included the identification of the activities required to implement the new loyalty scheme. We prepared the Horniman’s systems, marketing and communications, finance and front of house teams for the launch of the new loyalty scheme, with particular focus on developing the Gamma Data system to encompass membership as well as ticket sales, enabling payment by Direct Debit and the efficient collection of Gift Aid declarations.

The membership scheme was successfully launched in 2013 and quickly grew to several thousand Members. By the end of 2016 it exceeds 5,000 Memberships and is a major factor in the museum’s growing financial sustainability and the deepening of its relationships with its core audience.

C. Ticket and Membership Pricing Review

In autumn 2015 we undertook a fresh pricing review to understand the impact of the implementation of the membership scheme and the previous pricing strategy, to enable the Museum to plan effectively for its forthcoming exhibition programme by optimising pricing, while considering the potential addition of new attractions to the Museum’s offer.

The ticketing review considered competitor pricing and sector benchmarking, the options for joint tickets, Gift Aid opportunities, concessionary pricing, any perceived price resistance, booking fees, premium pricing, the impact of membership, and other factors. Similarly, for membership, we sought to help the Museum to respond to the successful creation and implementation of the membership scheme in 2013, its demographic reach, the benefits offered and their uptake, acquisition and attrition, their competitors, and the growth in the Museum’s overall commercial offer.

For both ticketing and membership, future pricing models were built. For ticketing these incorporated the various seasonal variations of combined offers, Gift Aid factors, and different pricing types, at three different revenue levels: cautious, optimised, maximised. The client was then able to choose the outcome which best met their criteria and appetite. For membership an above- inflation increase was recommended and adopted. The impact has been beneficial across the business with revenues and loyalty increasing consistently year on year.

Victoria Pinnington, Horniman Museum & Gardens’ Director of Communications and Revenue Generation, said: ““Over the past few years we have worked with Culture Consultants on a number of strategic pricing reviews and implementation projects. Most significantly they assisted us with the feasibility and implementation plans for the launch of a new membership scheme which has proved extremely successful in terms of enhanced customer loyalty and revenue generation. We welcome the varied cultural sector experience and perspectives that Culture Consultants offer. They have a deep understanding of audience motivations and brand and we particularly value how their recommendations take resources into consideration and so can be practically applied.”