Legoland Windsor Resort Increases Ridership with New Park Operations System
One of the greatest challenges for amusement parks and family entertainment centers is keeping the downtime of rides and other attractions to a minimum, while simultaneously maximizing guest throughput. Recently, this challenge has been exacerbated by staffing shortages brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Legoland Windsor Resort in Windsor, Berkshire, England, studied this dilemma and discovered a digital solution that addressed the problem.
“Following work between our rides and attractions and our continuous improvement teams, we found our rides managers were spending a lot of their day in the office completing administrative tasks, including copying information from the rides’ paperwork into our digital systems,” says Kieran O’Connor, head of continuous improvement, Europe resorts for Merlin Entertainments.
He says the park identified the need for a solution that not only allowed ride operators to input their performance and compliance data straight into its digital systems, but also allowed managers to view this information “live” to aid operational decision-making. The park settled on a cloud-based park operations system from First Options Software called Cmd-Ctr.
“Cmd Ctr removes the daily need for staff to spend time distributing, collecting, collating, and filing paper from every ride around a park,” says Matt Clarke, managing director of First Options Software in Alresford, Hampshire, United Kingdom. “This enables ride managers to spend more time resolving ride operations problems to ensure rides open promptly and stay open.”
He adds that live access to this information enables ride managers to immediately react to problems, be they operational issues or the need for staff mentoring, all of which help improve throughput.
“Previously, we were only able to monitor and react to lower-than-expected ride throughputs once the paperwork was submitted at the end of the day,” O’Connor says. “Being able to see the ride throughputs live during the day via the Cmd-Ctr monitoring app allows us to identify where a ride is not running as efficiently as expected and take remedial actions throughout the day.”
The system has reduced the time required to prepare rides for opening in the morning by automating most of the administrative activity, meaning the park more regularly has a full offering of rides when the gates open. It’s reduced some types of downtime by more than 75% from 2020 and increased guest ridership by 10% in 2021.
Regarding the amount of time and resources necessary to train Legoland Windsor staff in using the system, O’Connor says, “In truth, it was no challenge at all. The front end of the system, visible to the operator, is very intuitive and user-friendly. We now familiarize our rides staff with the front end of the system during their induction with a short five-minute video.”
O’Connor also notes that Legoland Windsor Resort, which is owned by Merlin Entertainments, is continually finding new ways to use the data to improve the guest experience. He says other attractions sites will benefit from this as the use of Cmd-Ctr is expanded across Merlin Entertainments.
Evaluating the Need for a Digital Operations System
Matt Clarke, managing director of First Options Software, says the pricing of his company’s digital park operations system, Cmd-Ctr, is based upon the size of a facility, so even a family entertainment center can utilize it. He explains any amusement facility needs to ask itself the following questions when evaluating its need for such a system:
- Does it have the statistics to know which rides provide the best guest experience?
- Is staff spending hours shuffling paper around?
- Are safety processes reliant on a piece of paper that could get lost or misfiled at any point?
- Do managers know what’s happening at rides around the entire park at any given moment?
- Could ride closure times be reduced, and ridership and customer satisfaction increased just by the right people knowing exactly what’s going on at all times?