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Success Stories

How Tessitura is Improving the Guest Experience at Mystic Aquarium

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Melanie Evans, with a beluga visible in the background

Melanie EvansDirector of Guest Services, Mystic Aquarium

TitleHow Tessitura is improving the guest experience at Mystic Aquarium


Read/View Time4 min

Changing the guest experience with Tessitura has been huge for us,”

says Melanie Evans, Director of Guest Services at Mystic Aquarium. “We’ve been looking at all of the touch points of their visit, redesigning the entire guest experience.”

Tessitura has played a large role in helping the Aquarium make these improvements. “Before we had Tessitura, the guest journey was a little more difficult,” Evans explains. The on-site experience had multiple steps due to separate systems holding separate categories of information, as well as the lack of digital scanners for tickets or membership cards.

Mystic Aquarium’s mobile app

Previously, even visitors who purchased tickets online in advance had to stop at the booth to exchange their receipts for a day-of ticket. They then had to stop again at the gate to get the purchase date validated through an outdated system of hole-punching. With Tessitura’s scanning capabilities, any ticket — whether acquired on site, printed at home, or purchased within their new Tessitura-integrated app — is ready to be scanned for seamless entry into the aquarium.

Mystic’s Tessitura-powered mobile app also helps improve the entry flow. On busy days, if a line starts to build, Evans appreciates being able to encourage visitors to install the free app to purchase their tickets. “It’s much easier to navigate on their cell phone,” she says, “to purchase tickets for entry. We have a lot of guests who really appreciate it for that.”

Improving the member experience

“The member experience has improved significantly,” Evans says, with Tessitura’s unified platform. Previously, Mystic had multiple systems that didn’t integrate with one another, and members had to check in at the booth with a photo ID each time they visited. With Tessitura, Mystic Aquarium is able to issue photo membership cards as well as mobile membership cards.

Both membership card options are a distinct improvement, Evans says, over the days when members had to carry identification with them. Whether a member brings their photo membership card or uses a digital card in the app, the current flow is “a much more welcoming experience for the members, much more of a feeling that you’re part of us. Just come on through, scan your card, and head right in.”

Photo courtesy of Mystic Aquarium

These changes to the member and visitor experience, says Evans, “have made everybody’s journey through the Aquarium so much faster” and have reduced lines at the admission booths. “The feedback we’re getting from members and guests is that it is so much easier.”

“The feedback we’re getting from members and guests is that it is so much easier.” 

Commitment to a positive visit

Evans appreciates Tessitura’s ability to track customer service issues (CSI’s). This feature allows staff to record information — like visitor feedback or lost items — to a specific customer. CSI’s also allow for specific follow-up tasks to be created and assigned to a particular staff member for action. And it’s easy to report on CSI’s, so managers can track follow-up actions and the resolution of all customer service issues related to their department.

One way that the Aquarium is using CSI’s is to create vouchers for a complimentary return visit. “If our guests don’t have an absolutely amazing experience or something has interrupted their experience in the day,” Evans says, “we’re able say, ‘Look, we really want you to come out and see us at our best. We’re going to build you a come-back voucher in the system. All you have to do is give your name at the gate and we will sort this out for you.’” The ability to do that, she says, “has been fantastic. It’s helped us a lot with guest recovery scenarios and making sure the guests continue to think of us in a really positive manner.”

Photo courtesy of Mystic Aquarium

She describes an example. “We have a sea lion show presented a few times a day, and it can get really crowded. We had a young mom with a number of kids and it was just too crowded. They couldn’t get seats together in the front row, where she wanted to keep the stroller, and the older children desperately wanted to see the show. They approached me, and this was an easy fix: ‘We’re happy to bring you back; everybody should see the sea lion show. Let me build you a record. Come on back when it’s a little less busy, and we’re happy to help you out.’” And because that voucher is stored in Tessitura, any customer service rep can access it when the visitor returns to verify the complimentary admission.

“Everything is integrated”

At Mystic, we’re using Tessitura for everything,” Evans says. “It is our membership database, it is our donor database, it is our ticketing system, it is our groups booking system, it’s our education booking system. Everything is integrated in Tessitura.” One of the key benefits of this consolidation is that all staff are using the same tool, which facilitates collaboration.

“Having the unified system in the aquarium has broken down some of the silos,” Evans reflects. “We have departments who never really used to collaborate suddenly coming together to try and solve one another’s problems.” The move to Tessitura “has brought everybody together in a much more collaborative atmosphere.”

“We’re using Tessitura for everything. Having the unified system has broken down some of the silos.” 

Furthermore, the data from across the organization creates a richer picture of each customer. “We’re able to check into our guest’s holistic visit,” Evans notes. “If we have a guest who’s come up with a question, we can find other touch points. Are they a member? What emails has our marketing department sent them? Which ones did they open or not open?”

Only a unified platform like Tessitura can provide that depth of insight into visitor behavior.

“This is just such a huge benefit” of Tessitura, Evans says. “It’s streamlined. It’s efficient. Everything is in one spot where you need it.” 

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