The art of collecting data to make informed decisions

In the last months at Vastari we have been busy contacting venues from all around the world to better understand the industry and help our clients with the promotion of their shows.

When Vastari Exhibitions was born around three years ago, the main purpose of the platform was to enhance our clients’ network and connect them with more museums and institutions that, for many reasons, they weren’t able to contact themselves. If you think about a big or a small production company, or a museum, the limitations due to the size of the teams and the tendency to rely on their existing contacts don’t allow them to look beyond those walls and make the most out of their shows.

Since Vastari Exhibitions started a lot has changed. The needs of our clients are different, have expanded in unexpected ways and we had to adapt to them. I personally enjoyed speaking with producers and museums, finding out in these conversations that the main purpose of their membership was not always promotion of exhibitions and its obvious outcome in matches.

The first unexpected outcome of these discussions, and one of the first reasons why some of our clients decide to renew, is the market analysis that a membership to our portal offers. During the promotion of the shows, we always ask for specific feedback from the venues that we approach. Especially when a show is similar to others that are touring and have been on the market for quite a long time, the institutions that we contacted have opened up about the reasons why they are not interested in this or similar content anymore. It can be “too expensive”, “too old-school”, “the format can no longer justify the price”, and, consequently, gave us useful insights on what they are looking for at the moment and which new features would make them reconsider a specific exhibition, if applied.

Another outcome generated by the discussions with our clients is the market testing of exhibition ideas. Planning an exhibition is never easy, especially if it's something that you are either doing for the first time or trying to explore with themes that are yet not familiar to you. The idea might be appealing to other institutions but there is a need to test the waters and see which venues would be the right ones to target. This is not purely a way to pre-market a show and find potential hosts, but also a way to find partners, that can significantly contribute resources and become long-term collaborators for future projects. That’s exactly what we mean when we say that Vastari is a place to exchange exhibitions AND ideas, and it’s exciting to continue working in that direction.

Something I find increadibly important, and is also a reason for a recent renewal, is the fact that we help everyone, not just the big players. Enhancing a network means that institutions of every size and type can access a community that looks at the entire industry. In the touring industry there are still endless options to explore, and raising awareness that a varied and flexible programme is not difficult to maintain can definitely be beneficial to the small companies and museums that want to be active players in the market.

Generally speaking, the conversations with museums are still slow and placing a show might still take a long time, but Vastari is working on that and the results that we have got so far, managing to place shows in just a few months, give us the hope that opportunities are out there and our data-driven approach helps us find them in a more efficient way.