Case Study: Adler Planetarium

Tuesday, July 7, 2015 - 14:30


The Adler Planetarium is a public, cultural institution focused on inspiring people of all ages to explore our Universe. Being the first modern planetarium in the western hemisphere, it is a National Historic Monument, containing three full-size theaters, extensive exhibitions, and the Doane Observatory, which is the largest public telescope in the Midwest. Its location provides the single best shoreline view of the impressive Chicago skyline. Every year, Adler hosts hundreds of thousands of visitors and tourists from all over the world while providing special programs and activities from STEM education opportunities to yoga classes and private events.

The Challenge:

Much of the Adler’s mission is funded by its box office sales —visitor and member attendance, shows and special events. In order to maximize attendance and its attendant revenue, Adler management needed a clearer picture of their guests and guest behavior. A modern reporting and analysis platform would provide a better understanding of the type of guests, where they come from, and how they purchase Adler tickets, enabling better marketing and ticketing strategies. Adler also participates in several package programs. Understanding the frequency and type of attendees who use these programs would enable better integration with partners like CityPass, GoChicago and fellow Chicago museums.

The Approach:

Attendance reporting and analysis meant understanding Adler’s transactional ticketing system, requiring an intensive data analysis to surface key metrics and dimensions buried in the often byzantine OLTP data model. Additionally, we had to understand the analytic needs of the business development, marketing and finance groups -- consolidating requirements into a common semantic for the enterprise. A battery of often inconsistent and incomplete custom SQL-based reports had to be replaced with a modern analytics database populated with automated data transformations (ETL) enabling clear and insightful data access via a modern visual analytics platform.

Inquidia leveraged Pentaho Data Integration to integrate Attendance and Group Sales data from Adler’s Galaxy Ticketing system into a data mart for analysis and reporting. We implemented Tableau’s advanced visual analytics technology to provide an easy-to-use set of dashboards while empowering Adler analysts to explore and create additional, ad-hoc analytics.

The Results:

Adler now has the capability to analyze attendance and revenue trends in new ways so that they can adjust their marketing and ticketing strategies accordingly. They went from a labor and time intensive and often, inconsistent custom reporting environment, to near instantaneous data access and reporting. Reporting was off-loaded from their online ticketing system to a modern data mart providing more reliable performance with less risk of disrupting critical box office operations. And thanks to the new data mart and Tableau, they now have self-service analytics at their fingertips.

Contact us today to find out how Inquidia can show you how to collect, integrate and enrich your data. We do data. You can, too.

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