Home to the only beluga whales in New England, this leading attraction and research facility in Mystic, CT, welcomes around 750,000 visitors annually and has active research and education programs.
Made Media partnered with Mystic Aquarium in 2022 to completely reimagine Mystic’s digital ticketing experience in a post-COVID world. The new site would not just support the science, research, and education mission of the organization, but also provide a positive first interaction with the Mystic Aquarium brand when purchasing timed-entry tickets.
A Day at the Aquarium
Made Media delivered full discovery, design, and development services to re-think Mystic Aquarium's website and booking path.
The scope of the project was the full website and booking path. The Made Media design team worked with Mystic Aquarium through a user experience and information architecture design process to determine the structure and layout of the new site. The team also presented a number of potential design concepts for the visual design of the new site, which were iterated over several rounds with feedback from Mystic Aquarium stakeholders.
Mystic was already using the Tessitura ticketing and CRM software to process its ticketing and membership transformations, and using Tessitura Network Express Web (TNEW) as its core e-commerce path. As the checkout path was working well for the Aquarium, we focused our efforts on designing and building a hybrid integration with the Tessitura API that would allow users to plan their day, selecting the date/time of their visit, how many tickets, and applying offers/up-sells, before redirecting to TNEW for the checkout.
Alongside the ticketing integration work, Made developers built the new website on top of our preferred open source Silverstripe content management system, preparing a data structure in the CMS that would feed both the new website, and following a subsequent release, on-site display screens showing information about today's events.
The site’s new Day Planner feature “really takes the guest by the hand and walks them through the process of understanding the options and getting what they need,” according to Mystic’s Director of Marketing Kyle Rathbun. This feature not only gives visitors clear access to special pricing (like first responder and SNAP card holder discounts), but also facilitates upsells for purchasing memberships, or enhanced visit add-ons like animal encounters inside the timed ticket purchase path. Since launch in late January 2023, we’ve seen a 10% increase in the conversion rate on all devices (desktop and mobile) – and a stunning 73% of all ticket purchases are taking place on mobile devices.