New Tools for Studying Visitor Behaviours in Museums: A Case Study at the Louvre

The paper by Yuji Yoshimura, Fabien Girardin, Juan Pablo Carrascal, Carlo Ratti and Josep Blat, New Tools for Studying Visitor Behaviours in Museums: A Case Study at the Louvre, has been accepted for the 19th International Conference on Information Technology and Travel & Tourism ENTER 2012 as an invited research paper. Our paper is ranked among the Top 10 submissions of ENTER 2012 and published in Information and Communication Technologies in Tourism 2012, Proceedings of the International conference in Helsingborg (ENTER 2012).

The paper presents a new method to understand in detail visitor movements in a museum, Le Louvre in Paris, France, which needs to overcome eventual problems of hypercongestion, that degrade the visitor’ experience. A Bluetooth proximity detection approach is proposed to gather empirical data from the approximately 7% of the visitors with their Bluetooth devices on. This approach complements the more traditional methods: observation, and interview-based surveys and shows that more objective, precise quantitative results on the flows of visitors and occupancy levels in key areas of the museum can be obtained. The initial findings suggest that the methodology proposed has a great potential to clarify the features of the space and its use by visitors in small spatiotemporal scales with unprecedented accuracy. The dynamic estimation of the density and flow of visitors in and between nodes could be associated with the indicator of the relation between pedestrian flow and its density for more dynamic crowd management. Additionally, the understanding of the patterns in visitors’ behaviour and its prediction provide new information to optimize the spatial layout of objects, human resources and facilities, including advertising and visitor information points, to respond to the increasing tourism demand. It could become a strong management tool not only for museums but also for urban environments in the tourism flourishing age.

Here you have the abstract of the paper:

In this paper we discuss the exploitation of data originated from Bluetooth-enabled devices to understand visitor’s behavior in the Louvre museum in Paris, France. The collected samples are analysed to examine frequent patterns in visitor’s behaviours, their trajectory, length of stay and some relationships, offering new details on behavior than previously available. Our work reinforces the emergence of a new methodology to study visitors. It is part of recent lines of investigation that exploit the presence of pervasive data networks to complement more traditional methods in tourism studies such as surveys based on observation or interviews. However, most part experiments have explored quantitative data coming from mobile phones, GPS, or even geotagged user generated content to understand behavior in a region, or a city, at a larger scale than that of our current work.


Yoshimura, Y., Girardin, F., Carrascal, J.P., Ratti, C., and Blat, J. (2012). New Tools for Studying Visitor Behaviours in Museums: A Case Study at the Louvre. In Fuchs, M., Ricci, Francesco., Cantoni, L. (Eds.), Information and Communication Technologies in Tourism 2012. Proceedings of the International conference in Helsingborg (ENTER 2012). Mörlenback: Springer Wien NewYork.