Technology has fast become an integral part of our everyday lives. While innovation and new applications will often spark controversy, businesses that don’t adapt often lose out. For amusement and entertainment venues, this incorporation of new technology often involves the rides, shows, and experiences offered to guests. But it shouldn’t stop there! This blog will explore how venues can leverage technology to improve the guest experience at every touchpoint.
Why is the guest experience so important?
Before learning how to improve the guest experience, it’s important to understand its impact.
Of course, guest satisfaction should be a high priority for any venue. Those who don’t have good experiences probably won’t come back. But technology has made it so that a single bad experience can be detrimental to a venue’s reputation. Smartphone cameras, social media, and online review platforms have enabled any one person to reach hundreds or even thousands of potential guests. Inc. reports that 84% of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
Brand reputation is just one reason to prioritize the guest experience. Guests who aren’t having a good experience may not wait until after they’ve left to react. Long lines and wait times can cause stress and frustration that may trigger security incidents and crowd control issues. These types of situations can expose venues to lawsuits and other liabilities. Guest experience should be front and center for a variety of reasons, and technology can play a valuable role.
Creative crowd management strategies relieve stress for guests
When considering how best to use technology to improve guest experience, crowd management may be the most impactful—especially post-pandemic. Technology can help exponentially by eliminating bottlenecks and addressing one of the most common guest complaints—long lines. According to Omnico, 33% of theme park visitors find queuing for rides to be the most frustrating aspect of visiting amusement and entertainment venues.
RFID technology uses tags and readers to determine guests’ location, making it possible to predict ride wait times. This info can be displayed at the ride entrance, or in a mobile app that can help guests better plan their day and avoid lines at peak times. Some parks are even using virtual line queues that notify a rider when it’s their turn—no waiting involved. A mobile app can not only be used to manage ride lines, but it can also help eliminate lines in concession and retail areas.
How technology can improve the concession and retail guest experience
Beyond line reduction, RFID can also streamline the operations of concession and retail areas for a better guest experience. Contactless, wearable RFID bracelets contain ticketing and payment information that eliminates the need for repeatedly pulling out a wallet. Mobile apps are another great way to provide a convenient method of contactless payment and the ability to pre-order concessions and souvenirs. In the same Omnico report, 71% of theme park visitors said they would like a mobile app to make their experience more convenient. And 62% expect to be able to prepay for meal packages at food outlets.
A mobile app for concession ordering also gives the guest more control over their experience. They can customize orders and coordinate the timing based on wait times and other attractions. Utilizing location-based GPS services, it’s even possible to have items delivered to the guest’s location by a team member… or a robot! This type of customization is a huge benefit of mobile apps, and it’s creating a demand among consumers for more personalized and interactive experiences.
Using technology for personalized, interactive guest experiences
Venues can get creative with technology to create unique experiences for guests—for example, a mobile app in which guests can play games and trigger special events. Disney does a great job with the Play Disney Parks app. The app includes games, music, trivia challenges, and achievements and integrates with some rides to unlock special features. With a custom app, venues can create their own challenges such as scavenger hunts or let users earn badges and points that can be translated to coupons or special offers.
Mobile apps also put the power into the hands of the guest to map out their day. They can maximize every moment, from using an interactive map for wayfinding to ordering lunch as they exit a ride. These experiences are priceless for many families, and that satisfaction will keep them coming back for years to come.
Insurance coverage helps you prioritize your guests
Determining how to improve the guest experience with technology will depend on the capabilities and resources of each venue. But with the widening availability of new applications and innovations, the possibilities are endless. As a starting point, consider using technology in concession and retail areas to better manage lines and crowd flow. To take the guest experience to the next level, leverage technology to create personalized, memorable interactions.
While technology can make the guest experience better than ever, it doesn’t come without challenges. Starting any new program or initiative is a great time to review insurance coverages and assess what gaps may exist. Having a partner with deep experience in the amusement and entertainment space like McGowan Allied Specialty Insurance can be invaluable during this process. Adequate insurance coverage gives you the peace of mind you need to focus on creating rich experiences for your guests. Reach out to learn more about coverage options designed specifically for this unique space.