Day at the Museum

Few things are as much fun for kids as a trip to the local museum. Whether it's checking out dinosaur bones, moon rocks, or art, it's a great way to have a fun and interactive learning experience. But what's not so fun is waiting in line. It's a drag for adults, but if you've ever seen a three-year-old have a full-on meltdown standing in a queue, you know that it's a million times worse for children.

There's often a line just to get in the front door of a museum, but that's usually the first of many. There's the line for the cafeteria, which on a holiday weekend can be more than 30 minutes long. Then there are the lines to get into the exhibits, educational films, and planetarium shows. And of course there are queues to see popular visiting exhibitions. And the long lines at the gift shop. All of this can add up to more than an hour in line during a three-hour visit.

Many museums have on-site movie theaters. For example, the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC has eight IMAX films in regular rotation as well as nearly 20 planetarium shows every day. Thousands of people wait in line to purchase their tickets, and then wait in line again to see the show. During peak hours, visitors are known to queue up an hour early so they can get good seats. That's an hour of standing around doing nothing rather than looking at the Wright Brothers' plane or Yuri Gagarin's space suit. Imagine going home and telling your friends, "We missed the Lindbergh plane, but we did stand in line for two hours waiting to see a movie and a planetarium show!" Not only is this inconvenient for guests, but it also chips away at revenue. After all, people waiting in line don't visit the gift shop or the cafeteria.

Now imagine a museum visit with no lines at all. A visit where families can actually spend time looking at the exhibits without being forced to queue up like they're in an airport security line.

That's where queue management can make a major difference in the visitor experience - and the bottom line. People simply download an app that lets them know when it's their turn. As a result, they only need to wait for a minute or two rather than spend their whole day in line. That leaves more time for seeing the sights... and buying a thing or two in the gift shop.