Sunday, August 30, 2009

Does Pricing Change Visitor Behavior? It Did Mine.

I'm sure there are many studies about this, but a quick tale from my visit to Dresden. As I went into one museum, I thought, oh, perhaps I'll buy the city pass so I can visit lots of museums. I asked about it, and the woman behind the counter suggested I look at the brochure before deciding. I did decide, and then discovered that it made me visit museums, with their free admission, that I wouldn't have otherwise visited. I'm not overly interested in porcelain or armor, but the Porcelain Museum and the Armor Museum were worth a visit--even spectacular. To me, I wouldn't have sought them out, and paid a separate admission, but when I walked by the entrance to each, I thought, why not, it's free!

I compared that to my experience at the Museum of Modern Art last week, where somehow that $20 admission fee made me feel like I had to visit every floor, even though it was crowded, and I was tired.

So at one place, I felt I had to "earn" my money spent and at the other, I felt I got a special bonus. I know most cities, probably including New York, have a city card, but I wouldn't necessarily do it in a place close to home. Maybe promoting these cards is something cities could do for their neighbors, not just their visitors.

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