Making Decisions with Data
Don’t discount data’s ability to tell a story. With the right application, data can inform the guest experience in a way that is meaningful for the guest, not just the bottom line. Mark Dvorchak, managing partner, Pro Forma Advisors LLC, explained how guest direction determines the application of data. Parks designed for self-direction—where guests choose the order of their experiences rather than being guided in a strictly linear path, like an escape room or a haunted house—can use data concerning attraction mix, topography, and guest experience.
According to Dvorchak, key performance indicators of attraction mix should be compared using data rather than instinct. These include length of stay, uniqueness, repeatability, customer draw, and target demographics. For example, ride duration impacts the guest experience—by exploring the data concerning customer draw and demographics, an operator can determine objectively what types of rides are drawing the crowds, their demographics, and how long they’re willing to wait for what. Those learnings can then be applied to new projects to determine how the proposed ride duration will impact the overall guest experience.
If the attractions at a park are the ingredients, the topography is the recipe. “The ingredients are easy,” Dvorchak said. “The recipe is essential to success.” The topography is the number of attractions, types of attraction, and scale of overall attractions. Data should be used to compare a park’s topography to competitors—keeping in mind demographics.
Dvorchak reminded the room to regard the differences between a designer’s perspective and the guest’s perspective when approaching a new project. Designers see the bird’s eye view and how the attractions fit together, but guests are at the ground level, moving from attraction to attraction. Rides should be evaluated by the individual guest experience: What is the value to the average guest? Look at what is being offered and consider which demographics can engage. How does the average number of rides per guest type compare to the total number of attractions?