Arizona Commemorative

Air Force Museum

Rising from Obscurity

The Commemorative Air Force Museum is a 5-star museum located in Mesa, Arizona. It is home to some of the rarest military combat planes in the world. Inside, visitors can learn all about these incredible machines and the people who built and flew them. Despite its incredible content and memorable exhibits, the museum was not well known prior to 2016. At that time, museum leadership hired seasoned marketing director Kimberly Ring to put the museum on the map. Central to Kimberly’s strategy: building a new, immersive website. That’s where Skyhook came in.

The Challenge

Although the museum had a lot to offer its visitors, it had some challenges when it came to attracting those visitors, including:

  • Location. Located at Falcon Field airport in Mesa, it’s not particularly close to any other major attractions, nor is it easy to get to.
  • Competing attractions. Several new tourist destinations, appealing to the same target audiences, had recently been built in the Phoenix area
  • Short staffed. Museum staff was nearly all volunteer. Aside from being spread thin, volunteers also lacked the experience with digital technology to know how to properly leverage it.
  • Price shock. The cost of rides left potential visitors wondering if the museum was a good value.
  • Website. The museum’s website and other digital assets were not anywhere near where they needed to be in order to help visitors overcome their objections, and as a result, ticket sales were languishing

How Skyhook helped

We took the time to understand the problems facing the museum, so that we could craft a keen strategy that would guide not only the website build, but also the continuous development after launch.

We toured the museum itself to get a better idea of its unique vibe. We spoke to the staff, including guest-facing staff, and facilitated conversations among senior leaders. We also researched competitor sites to give us a better idea of the current market. Leveraging our findings, we were able to approach the project strategically, creating a creative brief, a sitemap, and wireframes to help guide the project and outline the goals.

Putting our strategy into action, we moved forward with content collaboration and design, giving the site a fresh, unique look and a lively vibe to reflect the museum’s incredible brand. We included immersive visuals, including animation effects, to mimic the inviting, hands-on experience of the museum itself. We built a flight reservation system, making it easy for visitors to schedule a flight in one of the museum’s historic planes. And we set up an online store, allowing the museum to sell their merchandise easily. Combined with a PPC platform to help attract and track site visitors, this site was ready for takeoff.

Skyhook’s job didn’t stop at launch. We continue to meet with museum staff regularly, using analytics reports and user feedback to continually monitor and improve site experience and performance, and to plan out our development roadmap.

The Results

As a result of these efforts, tour registrations nearly doubled, while the work required to service tour registrations reduced by 50%.

Skyhook is currently working with the museum on the next phases of the project, implementing user feedback to create an even more exceptional online presence.

“In a role where I have way more responsibility than I have time to do it all, I have come to really love Skyhook because of the time, attention, and care they show for us and our website.”

Kimberly RingBusiness Development Officer, Commemorative Air Force Museum