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First Look - February 2017

New System Tracks Guests Through Mobile Devices

In recent years, attractions have incorporated technologies to help them electronically register guests’ entry into the properties, their arrival at attraction queues, their dining choices, and their retail purchases. However, exactly what guests are doing in between those stops, and for how long, has largely remained unknown. But now an advanced guest-tracking system is filling those gaps.

BlipTrack, developed by Blip Systems in Vodskov, Denmark, anonymously tracks every aspect of guests’ movements throughout a park, zoo, or other attraction, from exactly how long they wait in queues, to when and where they choose to dine, to where traffic-flow bottlenecks occur. It can even help with emergency evacuations.

BlipTrack sensors are placed throughout a park and detect the MAC addresses of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth devices, like mobile phones, tablets, and smart watches. The BlipTrack Analysis Platform integrates and analyzes data from the sensors as well as third-party sources like traffic management systems, infrared people counters, cameras, etc. So, managers can automatically and efficiently scale staffing with guest attendance and traffic flow at the right times.

In the case of queue wait times, many parks base them on the judgment of staff members, which can be inaccurate and inconsistent. “Typically, this is done by measuring the travel time of those people leaving the queue,” says Blip Systems’ Christian Carstens. “However, these times may not be accurate for those entering the queue, especially if the flow of people suddenly changes. BlipTrack measures in real time the number of people in line and the average throughput of the area. With these two measurements, live and accurate waiting times can be calculated and displayed on screens and mobile applications.”

Regarding guest movement and dwell time throughout the park, the flow is measured in real time and provides early warnings when congestion occurs. “This allows park managers to take proactive measures,” says Carstens. “Providing management with a better understanding on where and how guests move enables them to optimize opening hours, signage, shop locations, and general layout to improve the retail tenancy mix and maximize revenue. In addition, managers can liaise with emergency authorities and effectively control an evacuation, should it prove to be necessary.”

The sensors are passive and don’t interfere with Wi-Fi networks, and, once mounted, require no maintenance and are remotely configured and updated by Blip Systems. Live sensor monitoring handles issues before they escalate into problems.

Says Carstens, “By placing sensors at strategic points around the park, managers are provided with a cohesive picture of guest experiences—from the moment they arrive to exiting, and everywhere in between.”