Nubart's team

Business Development

February 22, 2018

Audio guides sold as postcards in the museum shop?

Digital audio guides in postcard format, which can be accessed via QR code, are not only a unique souvenir for your museum store, but also increase the income and awareness of your museum.

The house of a famous musician, which is now a museum, called us a few years ago and told us about his case:

The house is very small, but it attracts a lot of visitors. The crowds, however, are a detriment to the experience. Visitors don't want to spend more time in the house than is necessary to get the gist. The museum now offers a free audio guide, but this cannot be used extensively in the crowds. However, a quick listen is enough to realise that it is an excellent multilingual audio guide with musical interludes that would greatly enhance the visit. It is frustrating to have to return the device without having listened to the entire tour.

Museum staff are therefore often faced with the question of whether it would be possible to buy the audio guide and listen to it in a café or even at home after the visit.

The museum saw Nubart's audio guide cards as a good solution to offer the contents of the audio guide for sale in the museum shop. There are not many alternatives: CDs are expensive, outdated and cannot be played on smartphones. And our non-transferable codes increase the commercial value of the cards and protect copyright.

So far, so good. But at Nubart we have seen that we can go one step further. Why not put it on a postcard?

The role of postcards in museum shops

Museum shops are the crowning glory of a museum visit. Conspicuously positioned at the exit, they demand your attention as soon as you finish your tour, greeting you with an array of items ranging from Picasso socks to oversized plush soup tins to Mona Lisa erasers.

But of all the things a museum shop can offer, postcards are the most popular. They are affordable, fit easily into a handbag or rucksack, and give you the feeling of taking home that painting you loved in the exhibition. The little postcard booty becomes part of the museum experience.

The postcard was invented in Austria in 1869 and was an instant success: it was cheaper than the traditional letter and allowed much shorter and more informal communication: the postcard was to the traditional letter what the text message is to email today.

As early as 1912, the British Museum capitalised on the popularity of the postcard by reproducing just over a hundred objects from its collection in the new format and selling them in the museum: 155,000 were sold in the first year. Since then, postcards have become an integral part of museums.

For an entertaining history of the postcard and its connection to museum shops, read this article by Dr Jamie Larkin.

The creation of the audio guide postcard

So we came up with the idea of combining two key facets of the museum experience - postcards and audio guides. Our Audio Guide Visitors Keep became a postcard!

After all, if the content of an audio guide is so good that visitors want to buy it and take it home after the museum visit, why not take a few more to share with friends? And what better way than postcards?

It's not hard to imagine the scenario:

Dear Hans, I've just arrived in New York and have seen this wonderful exhibition that you should not miss on your next visit to the USA. I'm sending you the audio guide to give you an idea.

And the museum is happy too. Because postcards, whether mailed or not, are still the best-selling product in the museum stores. And these in turn can contribute up to a quarter of the museum's income.

Our customer, the Centre de Cultura contemporània de Barcelona (CCCB), made it possible for us to produce this prototype:

Prototyp des Postkarten-Audioguides Nubart
Prototype Postcard-Audio guides

Museums and exhibition centres can use this travelling audio guide to promote their collections and present existing exhibitions in a sustainable way.

Tourist offices can also use it to monetise a city tour (city marketing).

Hotels and resorts can create a themed audio guide and offer it to their guests.

Visitors, in turn, can share their enthusiasm for the audio guide they have just listened to with their friends by sending postcards all over the world - a postcard is a great international advertisement for a museum!

Audio tour postcard half open
By tearing off the postcard, the recipient can access the card with the non-transferable QR code printed on it.
Postkarten-Audioguide geöffnet
Open audio guide postcard