The Henry Ford Museum wanted to digitize a physical member card program to empower corporate patrons working remotely.
The Henry Ford is an internationally recognized cultural destination and national historic landmark with an unparalleled collection of artifacts from 300 years of American history. The Henry Ford sparks curiosity and inspires tomorrow’s innovators, annually hosting 1.7 million visitors to its four venues. Those are: The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation, Greenfield Village, Ford Rouge Factory Tour and the Benson Ford Research Center.
With so much to offer, it’s not surprising that many companies support The Henry Ford (THF). Corporate members get a limited supply of daily passes to visit campus, but physical membership cards had long been a process.
The Henry Ford team wanted to update. When the pandemic hit, the digital need took on new urgency.
“Many of our corporate members started to work remotely, so the opportunity for them to physically pass membership cards back and forth was not there,” said Monique Reister, Account Executive, Corporate Relations, The Henry Ford. “We had corporate members declining renewal because they were not able to pass around membership cards.”
The team’s short-term digital fix which used photos of membership cards exposed The Henry Ford to huge security and capacity issues. Said Reister, “We needed to get this digital solution locked down—and pretty quickly.”
The Henry Ford already used Progress® Sitefinity® for its website, content management and promotions. And although it had a mobile app, the THF Connect app wasn’t designed for the desired use case. Modifying it would require development time The Henry Ford didn’t have.
Working with implementing partner, Enqbator the team found its answer in Sitefinity. “Taking all factors into consideration, we recommended creating a portal on Sitefinity and then using the APIs to interact with the ticketing system, which was Accesso,” said Venkata Sagar Varma Godavarthi, Senior IT Business Analyst/Project Manager; from Enqbator. We then created two modules for The Henry Ford, one to create different membership types and the other to add users to it.”
With the two modules in place, all The Henry Ford admins had to do was log in, add the email address the corporate HRs use to login and attach the membership type. Said Sagar Varma. “That type included the number of passes members are allowed to use per day. It was a simple approach that solved the problem; it was quick.”
Once digital access was delivered to corporate employees via email, including their first and last name, company name, date of entry and a bar code, they could present at The Henry Ford to gain admission to the entire complex. And because Sitefinity limited the number of available passes based on each company’s membership type, the “Add Pass Card button simply disappeared once a company reached its daily admission limit.
“We also gave the corporate HR teams the ability to edit the first name, last name and email addresses if there was an entry error,” said Sagar Varma. “HR teams could also resend the email in case an employee visitor couldn’t find their original e-ticket communication.”
“We’re in a day and age where physical, hard cards are not really the norm anymore,” said Reister. “A digital solution is definitely expected, so we’re very excited to have one.”
The team rolled out the digital approach to a subset of members, and the immediate feedback was extremely positive. “It gave me confidence that when we rolled it out to the larger group, we’d get the same warm response. And we did,” said Reister.
The Henry Ford has already seen lapsed corporate memberships return, renewing strictly because of the new digital program. “My goal is always to retain as many corporate members as possible, so this is going to be extremely helpful. Also, from a new sales perspective, we’re setting ourselves up for success,” said Reister.
Beyond revenue gains, The Henry Ford improved operational efficiency. “Lost cards had always triggered a big, big process for us,” explained Reister. “We had to go through multiple teams, cancel memberships, then reissue memberships. With this new digital approach, that problem was completely eliminated. With 25 lost cards per year, I’d say that’s a pretty significant time savings for us.”
Even better was that the ROI was measurable, “My goal was to create revenue based on renewals and sales to cover the cost of the project,” said Reister. “Even without promoting the program to members, the new digital process on Sitefinity already has us a third of the way there.”
About The Henry Ford
From its sprawling 250-acre campus in Dearborn, Michigan, The Henry Ford invites visitors to discover America, its culture, inventions, people and can-do spirit. It offers unique educational experiences based on authentic objects, stories and lives from America’s traditions of ingenuity, resourcefulness and innovation. For more information, please visit: thehenryford.org
Enqbator is a Michigan company focused on assisting clients with technology to further their Web and mobile strategies. Enqbator's fields of expertise include the healthcare, judicial and non-profit markets. If you want more information, please visit: www.enqbator.com