Art and modern technology are not a contradiction: This is shown by the automatic ticket vendors in the entry area at the Vienna Museum of Art History and the Treasury. People interested in art quickly buy tickets and annual passes or reserve times for a museum tour. The automatic vendors developed by the Austrian IT service provider Inform are even easy for international visitors to operate by using a touchscreen. Ticket and receipt printing is performed by an integrated printer from Citizen.
More than 1.4 million people visited the museum association of the Vienna Museum of Art History last year. Large crowds gather there, especially for special exhibitions, and queues may form at the cashier counters. As a result, the museums looked for a system to automate ticket sales. "We wanted to give visitors the opportunity to buy tickets on their own – separately from the counter," explains Peter Gregorc, the Head of IT at the Vienna Museum of Art History.
In April 2013, two out of the total of nine locations – the Vienna Museum of Art History and the Vienna Treasury – introduced the new system. Visitors use a touchscreen at automatic vendors to select the number of tickets. Integrated printers from Citizen then print out the tickets and receipts. The Austrian IT service provider Inform developed the overall concept for the terminals.
"The big advantage is that the vending machine offers a number of languages and presents the procedures with icons. So visitors from any country can easily make their way," says Gregorc, describing the advantages for visiting art lovers.
Before the automatic vendors were introduced, the museum created a catalogue of requirements containing its criteria for ticket sales. After a thorough investigation of the candidates, automatic vendors from point-of-sales service provider Inform featuring integrated Citizen printers were selected. "We have found Inform to be a very good partner that supports our cashier hardware as well," says Gregorc, explaining the rationale for the decision.
Systematic and well-thought-out: the time window for sales
Since the introduction of the automatic vendors in April 2013, the museums have been able to attract tourists with better service and extended selling periods. "Like online stores, the automatic vendors are available before normal operating hours," Gregorc emphasises. "Visitors can reserve time windows for special exhibitions in advance and purchase their tickets. This reduces the time spent waiting and is especially customer-friendly."
The sale of annual passes also runs like clockwork at the automatic ticket vendors. There is no opportunity for typographical errors or misspellings in names since visitors enter their own names. As a result, the automatic vendor spells even the most complicated names correctly on annual passes.
Ticket selection with a touchscreen
The operation of the touchscreen is easy and involves four steps. The visitor selects the desired ticket and quantity, pays with a debit or credit card, and then receives a printed admission ticket and receipt.
The automatic vendors use the CL-S400DT receipt printer to print the tickets and the proof of payment. "With a size of just 160 mm, this printer is the smallest of our printers and is intended for space-saving installation in terminals," says Jörk Schüßler, European Marketing Manager at Citizen.
"Citizen printers have proven to be very reliable and user-friendly both at the point of sale and in the operation in terminals," explains Peter Schmidt, Inform Managing Director. "This year we have further developed our terminals with Citizen printers. With our new models, we are offering multi-faceted applications in the leisure field and retail."
The upshot for visitors: popular
Visitors' acceptance of the automatic ticket vendors in the museums has been outstanding and has clearly had a positive effect. Self-service is especially busy in the morning because visitors can buy tickets before the museums open. "The sales are better distributed. Two ticket cashiers and two automatic vendors – you realise that there are a lot of sales," Gregorc says with conviction.
The automatic vendors also offer employees relief. They have quickly become accustomed to them. It's easy to replace the receipt rolls, with the task being carried out every evening at the close of business.
The museums plan to introduce more automatic ticket vendors in the future. With renovations to the WorldMuseum Vienna already underway, the new ticket vendors will further enhance customer services and make accessing and enjoying art quicker and easier than ever before.