The Barnes Foundation houses one of the finest collections of impressionist, post-impressionist and early modernist paintings in the world. It is also an institution geared towards education in the fine arts and horticulture. When the museum moved locations from the suburbs of Philadelphia to downtown Center City in 2012, its membership jumped from around 400 to 20,000 while the number of annual visitors more than tripled.

Over time, those numbers have fluctuated, and the museum found itself in need of help to better understand and forecast attendance. That’s where Wharton Customer Analytics comes in: WCA’s Analytics Accelerator Challenge, which pairs student teams with nonprofit and for-profit organizations to offer analytics-based solutions to problems, was able to help the Barnes create a predictive model that incorporates pricing, revenue projection, visitation and attendance behavior, products and offers. Using the model, the students were able to make predictions about the museum’s attendance, including a “do nothing” scenario that predicted a 10% year-on-year decline and a scenario that showed a 1% discount in ticket price would lead to a 1.5% increase in attendance.

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