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Our take on “How to Talk to a Visitor Who is Wearing Headphones”

These days, many visitors to our museums walk around playing with an audio or multimedia tour device and are often wearing headphones and listening to an audio tour commentary at the same time.

This doesn’t mean they aren’t paying attention to the artwork (nor does it mean this post will continue as a parody of another article circling on the web this week…).

To increase your “take up rate”, visitors need to know an audio tour is available. Here are a few tried and true methods to acheive this.

5 ways to increase your “take up rate” with signage:


    1. Signage, inside and out
    Clearly marked signage outside of the museum will ensure that visitors can mentally plan their first steps into your site. They’ll know that they can buy a ticket and pick up a tour before entering the exhibitions.

    2. Flags and graphics
    Use flag graphics to let visitors know that a tour is available in their language. This is an effective way to communicate with both multilingual visitors and in large spaces where text is not easily seen from far away.

    3. Entrypoints
    Distributing the tour at the entry of a temporary exhibition reminds visitors that a tour is available for the exhibition they are about to see, rather than remembering to return to the main entry way to pick up a device. Putting signage at the distribution point will alert visitors to an audio tour and the exhibition itself.

    4. The “people factor”
    Never underestimate friendly looking staff distributing a tour. If they catch the eye of a visitor, have them ask the patron directly if they would like a tour. The staff can show how to use the device and answer questions about the audio tour experience.

    5. Location, location, location
    Placing the audio tour desk in a highly trafficked location will remind visitors to pick up and return their device upon exit, without the need for even more signage.


Our on site operations teams are available for helping your museum get on the right track for audio tour distribution. You can learn more about that here.

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