National Galleries of Scotland

Connecting sites across a city to encourage visitor movement and monitor engagement

The National Galleries of Scotland is an organisation responsible for three galleries spread across central Edinburgh: The Scottish National Gallery; Scottish National Portrait Gallery and Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. Between them, the galleries host an outstanding national collection from the early Renaissance to modern and contemporary art.

The challenge

Of the three venues, the Scottish National Gallery has a prominent location in the centre of Edinburgh and receives almost 2 million visitors per year. Meanwhile the Portrait and Modern galleries have significantly smaller numbers at about 360,000 visitors each per year. Staff at the Galleries were interested in offering a single integrated visitor guide across all three sites and exploring how targeted notifications and AI-driven personalised recommendations could improve the discoverability of the less visited Portrait and Modern galleries.

Our solution

By implementing a digital guide on visitors' own smartphones rather than using rented devices, staff could automatically access data on visiting habits, routes and engagement before, during and after a physical visit. We set up Smartify across all three venues and produced custom reports with analytics to support the development of accurate visitor profiles. We then used this data to drive recommendations to artworks and tours available at the other sites. Geolocation and push notifications were set up to prompt visitors to Check-In for a custom experience at each site.

The result

After the first year trialling Smartify, NGS saw significant opportunities for operational efficiency based on visitor data gathered. By showcasing which parts of the collection were available in each building we were able to drive visitor traffic.

In year two we have continued working to lead visitors to multiple sites while also increasing the amount of unique content available on the app.

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