This month we took a trip to Berlin to join 12,400 visitors at the European Attraction Show (EAS) to discuss the hot topics within the attractions industry. This year there was one clear topic that theme park operators from around the world talked about: digitisation.
We all know a theme park visit is really about the physical experience but how digital tools can enhance the visitor experience came up repeatedly in seminars, panels and conversations on the trade show floor. Here are some of the highlights from those discussions...
Before the visit
Disney talked at length about the creation of their new MagicBand system and how, with their accompanying My Disney Experience app, this has transformed both guest and team member experience.
Estimated to have cost more than $1bn to develop, the app and MagicBand combination have proved to be a phenomenal success, allowing visitors to pre-book high demand experiences such as character meet-and-greets, parade viewing, dining, as well as providing pre-booking for FastPass+ tickets and allowing early hotel check-in.
Tip: think about how you can take a customer or staff process and digitise it to make it easier - it could be as simple as a team WhatsApp group for creating a staff rota, or targeted opt-in emails with customer offers.
During the visit
The visit itself is mainly about two key things - experience and process. Immersive experience was identified as sensorial experience - it relates to all our senses. Processes such as ticketing, queue times and restaurant waits have all been targeted for digital improvements, with a multitude of vendors offering queue-line technologies that help to manage both capacity and visitor expectations.
The recently launched "Theme Park of the Future" report from Picsolve found that 97% of theme park visitors stated they wanted more entertainment within the queue-line of the most popular rides. Apps, dedicated selfie points and hologram videos were all identified as popular solutions to alleviating queue-line boredom.
Tip: identify one physical customer interaction and write it out as a script, with all the stage directions. This will help you see in black and white the areas you could make improvements.
After the visit
Keeping customers interacting with your brand is essential for developing repeat business. This is where creating great content and really specific offers for your customers will continue to drive engagement. Technologies such as augmented reality enabled souvenirs were discussed alongside standard communication technologies such as e-mail marketing.
Katapult has recently been working with major entertainment brands to integrate augmented reality experiences into their popular merchandise at major attractions. To learn how augmented reality can be integrated in to your attraction, speak to the Katapult Growth Team.
Tip: physically walk through your customer experience, what does it feel like when it’s finished? What would you like to happen next? What digital tools could you use to create that next step?