Trends in the arts, culture & heritage sector

Of course, organisations are feeling the impact of recent changes in different ways. However, there are some broader trends such as increased last-minute booking and falling membership renewal rates. In response, some are focusing on tradition, while others have chosen innovation or to drill down into specific niche markets. 

One factor that’s affecting everyone is the cost of living, which is dampening enthusiasm for spending in the sector. Unfortunately, those who were already less engaged in arts, culture & heritage are probably most affected. Although we have seen this pressure start to ease, even free entry doesn’t guarantee increased footfall.

Digital subscriptions can play an important role in boosting both ticket and shop sales to secure critical, extra revenue streams. 


Trends in the arts, culture & heritage sector

The Courtauld Institute of Art

Our client, The Courtauld Institute of Art have reimagined their online presence to increase revenue. By building a clear picture of the Institute’s diverse audiences it has created appealing and engaging offers. Top priorities were to meet the needs of people wanting to know what’s on or to study.  

More repeat online visitors now know they can experience compelling journeys and find what they’re looking for. There’s also support within the site to help them find all the sources of content available. 

 In addition, the Institute has launched a new box office ticketing system and online store. Over 85% of gallery visitors now complete ticket purchases for their visits online. As part of the booking confirmation process, pre-visit emails, fast ticket check-in on arrival and reduced queuing have all improved visitor experiences. 

 Online ticket sales help build the database of gallery and shop customers, along with general and special interest newsletter signups. The Courtauld have now built a rich source of first-party customer data. As a result, understanding of buying behaviour for both, the box office and shop has improved.  

 By adding eye-catching signposts and well-placed links, this information helps promote the Friends and Patrons membership schemes. Promoting customer loyalty and increasing donations are key to The Courtauld’s future success. Since launching the updated website and ecommerce features, The Courtauld has more than doubled its membership. 

The Courtauld Institute of Art

A digital strategy for ticket and sales growth in the arts, culture and heritage sector

The arts, culture & heritage sector has an important role to play in bringing people together. High quality digital content across multiple channels provides the type of immersive experiences people are looking for. As well as building a community of members and supporters, it helps attract content creators and promote long-lasting partnerships.

Organisational values. There’s an increasing trend for people to align themselves with organisations that share their values. This is an important consideration for the arts, culture & heritage sector. It’s the perfect time to start online conversations about the value of creativity and history in our everyday lives. Accessibility and inclusivity across the sector will build strong bridges locally and with the wider community. 

 Immersive content. Rich and diverse content, including video, virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR) can attract new generations of customers, supporters and followers. 

 Digital subscriptions. Streaming content isn’t new in the sector, but the pandemic sparked a rise in digital subscriptions to access it. Free on-demand streams have evolved into new streaming services offering live and archive content. Customers can rent a single piece of content or take out a subscription. Some organisations offer combined digital and real-world membership options to access exclusive content, news and priority bookings for live events. Others have added educational resources, gift subscriptions and annual discounts. 

 Social media. While social media channels still offer opportunities to extend your organisation’s reach, the issue of digital exclusion shouldn’t be underestimated. Many people still lack access to devices and information or don’t have the necessary skills to be fully engaged online. However, some organisations are seeing their communities grow through their social media following on platforms like TikTok. Driving traffic to your website and online store via social media channels can help increase traffic and increase loyalty. 


 Integration. Accurate data is the key to building your membership and subscriber bases. Integrating your website, ecommerce functionality and back-office systems minimises errors and supports automation. Saving resources to focus on more value-added activities helps improve efficiency and enhances customer engagement. You’ll reduce your operational overheads and increase sales, subscriptions and memberships. 

Personalisation. Audiences expect their online content to be relevant and personalised to them. Building relationships based on audience needs, interests, and behaviours increases ticket sales and subscriptions. 

Artificial intelligence. As of yet, the sector hasn’t fully tapped into the potential of artificial intelligence or AI. There’s no doubt, views are mixed in the creative world around issues such as copyright, authenticity and trust. However, AI and machine learning (ML) tools can analyse audience data, identify patterns, predict outcomes and inspire engaging content. Chatbots can improve customer service and supplement limited resources. 

Voice search. Another spin-off change brought about by AI is the increased demand for answers to questions people might ask their home assistants. For this we need to prepare answers to more conversational search phrases, often using long-tail keywords. This will affect Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), website traffic and audience engagement. 

Find out how digital subscriptions can help you grow

Chat to our team about online membership and subscription services and how they can boost your ticket and shop sales.