Analytics for Museums: Sequential Choices and Layout Optimization

Oct 15 2021 - 1pm


Prof. Víctor Martínez de Albéniz


Co-authors: Abhishek Deshmane (IESE), Ali Aouad (London Business School)


Abstract: Museums, like other experiential services such as retail stores or amusement parks, aim at organizing their content in the most effective way to deliver an engaging experience to their visitors. We seek to develop a general framework to inform these curatorial decisions, that incorporates the heterogeneous preference structures of the visitors. Specifically, we develop a Markov Chain model to establish how visitors sequentially consume content, based on the last artwork seen and its location. We validate our theoretical Markov chain model with a detailed log of visitor movement between the years 2018 and 2019 across one of the most-visited museums in the world. We find that distance between artworks has a primary importance, and hence layout is the most important driver of visitor choices. In addition to this we see how different environmental factors moderate this relationship. We validate our model with several exogenous changes in the layout and run a series of counterfactuals to optimize layout for better visitor engagement.


Bio: Víctor Martínez de Albéniz is a full professor in IESE’s Department of Production, Technology and Operations Management. He joined IESE in 2004 after earning a Ph.D. at the Operations Research Center of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and an engineering degree at École Polytechnique in France.

His research focuses on supply chain management, where procurement, production and distribution decisions can help companies compete more successfully in the global arena. He started his career working on procurement and supply issues, where a balanced sourcing portfolio can provide low cost, flexibility and innovation opportunities. He has spent the last decade working on retail topics, where he has developed models for fashion trends (apparel, music, etc.) and optimized operations in volatile markets. He runs a yearly Fashion Operations conference that gathers leading academics and practitioners to discuss future trends in retailing.

His work has been published in journals such as Management Science, Operations Research, Manufacturing and Services Operations Management, or Production and Operations Management. He has received support by the European Research Council (ERC), the Spanish Ministry of Economics and Competitiveness, and La Caixa foundation. In 2015 he was awarded the Sabadell Herrero prize for Economic Research and in 2018 the MSOM Young Scholar Prize. He is also a Department Editor of Management Science, and has been a member of the editorial boards of Manufacturing and Services Operations Management, and Production and Operations Management.