Customer Spotlight: The Morton Arboretum

Customer Spotlight: The Morton Arboretum

Customer Spotlight: The Morton Arboretum

January 29, 2021

In the wake of COVID-19, many institutions have had to completely rethink their processes and procedures and have started to heavily rely on modern technology. Institutions are moving away from the reliance of front-line staff for check-in and ticket purchasing and are investing in solutions like contactless and touch-free technology to do these jobs. As a result, what we’re seeing now is more efficiently run institutions that reduce contact to create an overall safer experience for guests and staff. 

As most institutions were forced to close their doors for a majority of the last year, The Morton Arboretum in Lisle, IL, just outside of Chicago, was able to remain open for a majority of the time because of their vast outdoor space. While remaining open, they had to completely reimagine their guest flow and rethink operations in order to keep the safety of their staff and guests at the forefront.  Some of the new operational changes include implementing time-based entry slots with limited capacity, advanced online sales, digital tickets, subdivided entry points, virtual education classes, and creative (yet very safe!) holiday and special events. With the help of the ACME Client Services Team, the Arboretum was able to quickly and efficiently implement all of these features and ensure that their staff was prepared and comfortable with this new normal. 

In order to properly manage the flow of traffic and volume of guests at any given time, the Arboretum knew that in addition to social distancing they needed to enforce time-based entry immediately. Luckily, ACME already had the functionality in place to make an almost instantaneous pivot in business operations. With the support of the ACME client services team, the Arboretum quickly converted their events from General Admission to Timed Ticketing in order to control the number of guests that came through the door each hour. They had the ability to set schedules, customize maximum capacity for any given time slot, establish time limits on when guests can enter, and manually modify the maximum amount of tickets being sold at any time. Highlighting the transition from general admissions to timed ticketing showed their guests that they were taking the highest precautions to create a safe space that their guests would feel confident visiting.  

Another big change that made a huge impact was the flow of traffic. The Arboretum has a gatehouse that guests drive up to and purchase tickets at before entering the parking area and getting out of their car. With subdivided entry points, they offered limited capacity every hour to ensure there was never overcrowding. If you are an institution looking to optimize guest flow and properly control capacity per the CDC guidelines, you can think about things like additional entrances/exits that can be used, what the natural path of a guest is (enter and turn right or left?), clearly marked paths/routes for guests to take, helpful signage to guide people to certain areas or certain directions. There is so much that can be done operationally to help manage the flow of traffic and keep everyone at a safe distance.

When it comes to events during the pandemic, creativity was key this year more than ever. The Morton Arboretum hosted an exhibition throughout the entire holiday season called “Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum”. What would normally have been a walking experience was reimagined into a 20-30-minute drive-through experience filled with music, lights, and an evergreen landscape as far as the eye could see. This was an exhibition that guests looked forward to. It was a joyous escape during a time when we all needed it most. Despite the inevitable impacts of the pandemic, the Arboretum has found ways to adapt and flourish. They are a perfect example of how to successfully adapt and transform to benefit their organization, advance their mission, and benefit the community as well.

Get more information on how ACME can help you implement these new processes and procedures.

Have 3 minutes? Watch a quick video about timed-entry ticketing.

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