Improving Guest Experiences Through Technology
As guests return to theme parks and attractions, innovative technology can improve their experience. Here’s a look at tech solutions that can help empower a post-pandemic comeback and increase guest satisfaction scores.
Radio-frequency identification (RFID) wristbands allow guests to “wear” their identity and credit card information on their wrists, while staying connected to the theme park/attraction’s database.
“This RFID wristband gives the guest everything they need to enter the facility and go on rides, lock/unlock lockers, pay for goods using a virtual wallet linked to their credit, and access any entitlements offered by the operator,” says Anthony Palermo, co-founder at Connect&GO. While RFID bands are the latest in wearables, they can also come with a barcode or QR code version that can be scanned by readers or operators.
Quebec City’s Méga Parc indoor amusement park uses Connect&GO’s RFID wristbands to keep guests happy while adhering to COVID-19 admission limits.
“The Connect&GO platform allows us to create time slots and manage capacity,” says Angelina Miconiatis, director of Méga Parc. “The flexibility of the RFID wristbands allows us to easily scan visitors at entrance points and immediately see if they are allowed to access the park on that specific date and time.”
As well, “Since our rides have height restrictions, we can also configure the access points of each ride to accept or deny entry to the ride if the type of wristband category the rider has does not meet height requirements,” she says.
Canada’s Granby Zoo also implemented Connect&GO’s RFID wristbands for access control, cashless payments, and admission to rides and activities that have fees.
“In collaboration with Connect&GO, we developed a brand-new interactive experience,” notes Samuel Grenier, Granby Zoo’s director of operations. “It allows visitors to go on missions, collect badges, and enjoy unique experiences.”
The wearable tech triggers surprise lighting experiences and sounds and music cues throughout the zoo.
“This unique experience enables our guests to create souvenirs (photos/videos),” Grenier. “There is also an online platform where each visitor can see their progression and download their souvenirs/memories.”
The new river-crossing Interzip Rogers zip line that connects the Canadian provinces of Ontario (near Ottawa) and Quebec is also using Connect&GO to manage rider access. In this case, the company is using QR code readers to manage riders, plus Connect&GO’s Konnect platform for online ticket sales/reservations and email ticket delivery.
“It makes it easy for guests to select the tickets they want,” says Interzip Rogers Project Manager Emile Seguin. “It also makes it easy to schedule dates and times.”
Attractions.io provides a software as a service (SaaS) platform that enables visitor attractions to deploy and manage their own branded apps for smartphones. These mobile platform apps help guests preplan their visits, reserve tickets, find their way around, order food on-site, and stay in touch with the attraction after they’ve left.
“By connecting the guest journey pre-, during, and post-visit, attraction operators can deliver personalized, friction-free guest experiences at scale,” says Emma Jones, Attractions.io’s head of marketing. Using the SaaS system also allows the zoo to examine key metrics, including guest satisfaction and per capita spending.
Attractions.io created and maintains San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance’s mobile app on a subscription payment basis. According to Christian Wooten, junior interactive graphic designer with the alliance’s marketing department, having such a feature-rich app is a must.
“In today’s world, guests expect us to provide an app that helps them get around the zoo and the safari park, learn where our wildlife are and information about them, and to be able to buy tickets and products using it, whether here or at home,” Wooten tells IAAPA News Hub. “It’s all about providing convenience to improve our guests’ experiences.”
Hunderfossen Familiepark in Fåberg, Norway, also relies on the Attractions.io platform to manage and update its multifeatured mobile app.
“I’ve always said that you don’t have an app just to have an app,” says Geir Sondre Dahle, the park’s web manager. “It should give the guest a better experience in the park. The flexibility to inform the guest with an app is so much better than with a printed map made a month before opening. Things change during the season, and then you can just update the content in the app, and the app is 100% relevant for the user.”
Veovo’s flow and crowd management solution provides theme parks and other attractions with actionable insights on how guests move, play, and wait in their facilities. The system can be used to measure ride wait times, using this data to improve queue management and alert customers about wait times on overhead signs. This data can then be used to improve guest flow during busy times so guests can navigate congested areas with less frustration.
“With a better distribution of guests, crowding and wait times are minimized,” says Christian Bugislaus Carstens, Veovo’s public relations and digital marketing manager. “With the data, operators can plan, predict, and perfect guest experiences.”