A Powerful Partnership Drives Growth (Presented by an IAAPA Partner)
When Australia’s largest theme park operator Village Roadshow Theme Parks and global technology service provider accesso forged a partnership four years ago, little did they realize that they were also laying the groundwork for Village Roadshow Theme Parks’ successful pandemic response.
Harnessing the Value of Teamwork
When COVID-19 reached Australia, accesso’s technologies—including ticketing, eCommerce, point of sale, virtual queuing, and guest experience solutions—exceeded their original purpose. In addition to powering revenue performance, service, and customer engagement, they became crucial to the reopening of Village Roadshow Theme Parks’ attractions—10 venues that, more than 30 years into the operator’s history, welcome millions of guests per year. “The benefits have been phenomenal,” says Bikash Randhawa, chief operating officer at Village Roadshow Theme Parks, which includes Warner Bros. Movie World, Sea World, and Wet’n’Wild.
Working with Village Roadshow Theme Parks continues to be a mutually rewarding experience for accesso CEO Steve Brown. “For me, it’s all about the client,” he says. “Our business model is built on long-term partnerships, working side by side with our customers and listening to what they have to say. Village Roadshow Theme Parks’ team had a can-do attitude from the start. They were very approachable and open-minded.”
Drawing up plans to overhaul its ticketing systems, Village Roadshow Theme Parks had two main priorities: “One was revenue growth, and we’ve seen a significant shift as accesso’s platform has kicked in. The other one was the customer journey and guest experience,” says Randhawa.
Village Roadshow Theme Parks’ initial focus centered on ticketing and eCommerce, but it soon embraced accesso’s broader capabilities. “Village Roadshow Theme Parks now uses five out of our six products,” says Brown. Integrated solutions—including the accesso Passport eCommerce ticketing platform, accesso LoQueue virtual queuing, and guest experience management platform The Experience Engine (TE2)—run across several of Village Roadshow Theme Parks’ properties.
“By assembling a toolkit of technologies that customers like Village Roadshow Theme Parks might want, we can make them work together in a way that appears seamless to the consumer,” says Brown. accesso is a one-stop shop, allowing operators of all sizes to leverage the right tools for their needs. The company serves more than 1,000 leisure, entertainment, and cultural venues worldwide.
Transforming the Guest Experience
At Village Roadshow Theme Parks, a multifaceted mobile app powered by accesso’s TE2 technology unifies the guest experience. “The experience platform is the glue between all the different components and systems,” says Brown.
The TE2 app acts as a virtual assistant, streamlining the customer journey, from previsit planning, ticket purchasing, and storing season passes to facilitating contactless entry, virtual queuing, in-park information, and post-visit engagement.
“Everything in the app has a purpose,” says Mark Robertson, head of business development and strategy at Village Roadshow Theme Parks. Ease of use, functionality, and flexibility are key to its effectiveness.
With the TE2 platform, Village Roadshow Theme Parks can provide a personalized customer experience, better anticipate guest needs, and encourage spending through targeted, real-time interactions.
“It’s a big point of difference for us versus our competitors,” says Randhawa. “The personalization piece, in terms of the data we collect, is exceptional. The technology allows us to understand the consumers and maximize their value perception at every interaction.”
accesso will soon add mobile food ordering to Village Roadshow Theme Parks’ app to further increase revenue and enhance the guest experience. Brown believes the service promotes social distancing, reduces staffing needs, and improves guest satisfaction by removing the need to wait in line and enabling customized food orders. The wallet function, which stores a person’s payment card details, will make purchasing effortless.
“The easier a guest’s journey gets, the better time they’re going to have, and they may spend extra along the way,” says Brown.
Staging a COVID-19-Safe Comeback
When the pandemic hit, Village Roadshow Theme Parks and accesso adapted the TE2 platform to meet the Queensland Government’s COVID-19-safe requirements.
“Village Roadshow Theme Parks already had the infrastructure in place, so we could quickly turn on the different features they needed to help them through this process,” says Brown.
Visitors must download the free app, load their tickets, and complete a contact-tracing form and health questionnaire before entry.
Implementing these steps as manual processes would have become labor-intensive, costly, and time-consuming.
“This app has made our lives easy. It wasn’t designed for COVID, but it ticked all the boxes and was critical for us. I’m not sure we would have been able to open our parks in line with Queensland Health’s requirements without it,” says Randhawa.
Brown has always wrapped service around accesso’s solutions to ensure that customers get full value from their investments.
“We’re really a service company that happens to use technology. We look at what our clients are trying to solve and adapt the technology to achieve that,” he says. “We don’t just sell a solution and provide a user manual because then the solution ends up being underutilized. We work with our customers to make sure they’re getting their money’s worth. Our entire principle is to help drive revenue growth.”
Achieving the Right Results
Village Roadshow Theme Parks’ results speak for themselves, according to Randhawa. “Direct sales are critical. We were at a point where we were getting 30% direct sales and 70% through third parties. That’s now flipped around. We’ve hit a pause with COVID, but as things normalize, I see that improving every day.”
Leveraging accesso ticketing—and making the solution available via mobile app access—has produced significant savings. It has also cut wait times in queues, an outcome that has taken on a whole new importance during the pandemic. “Australians don’t have an appetite for queuing, so processing large volumes of people in an efficient and fast manner is of huge value to us,” says Randhawa. “Where it would take us 40 minutes to get 3,000 people into the park, that’s dropped to 15 minutes.”
“That half an hour spent waiting in line is half an hour that people can ride a ride or buy an ice cream. It turns into valuable experience time,” says Brown. All Village Roadshow Theme Parks visitors can now make the most of their day with accesso’s virtual queuing. Customer satisfaction levels have risen across the parks. Randhawa reports an increased Net Promoter Score (NPS) and positive guest feedback.
accesso’s adaptable and scalable technologies are helping the theme park group manage change at an incredibly challenging time. Village Roadshow Theme Parks’ improved operating performance, high-yield ticketing strategy, continued focus on customer experience, and careful cost management are supported by “everything that Steve and his team have done for us,” says Randhawa. “We are where we are today because accesso has delivered above and beyond everything they had promised.”
While the pandemic forced attraction operators like Village Roadshow Theme Parks to take a hiatus, it also gave them time to reevaluate everything. “The biggest thing I’ve taken away from this difficult year is the importance of a good team and terrific partners,” says Randhawa.
As companies prepare for the future, Brown sees “an accelerating adoption of technology” to meet evolving commercial needs and consumer expectations.
“When technology delivers the right outcomes, we are happy to spread the word,” says Randhawa. “If service, quality, and consistency flow throughout the theme parks industry, that’s good for all of us.”
This story was made possible by IAAPA partner accesso. It does not necessarily reflect the views of Funworld writers and editors. IAAPA does not endorse any service, company, or product mentioned within.
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