Most of what makes a trip to a theme park memorable involves the sights, sounds and- depending on your tolerance for spinning tea cups and such-sicknesses experienced.
But recollections inevitably fade, which is why one theme park company has been aggressively investing in digital technology. Exploiting emerging technologies to improve, and extend, the customer’s visit boosts the chances of that customer making a return visit, not to mention taking a dip in any new and appealing revenue streams.
Such digital extensions of the physical experience will be shaped by consumer insights. The business, as one executive puts it, “needs to consider optimizing the social media experience while at the park”. In addition, it can analyze the data to find “ways to generate revenue from mobile devices, apps, and more”, says the executive. Previously, the company segmented visitors by geography; now it has started categorizing them by motivation, making it easier to target messages more precisely.
The company also plans to use digital technology to improve the customer experience, enabling visitors to bypass the most crowded roller-coasters, for instance, and maximize their time spent in the park. The operator also benefits by gathering such customer information, putting it to use by managing the property more efficiently. Gaining any slight edge over rivals is crucial.
Before the last two years, the executive describes the company as “way behind the curve” in terms of using mobile technology. An influx of new talent “helped send a wake-up call to management that they were falling behind their competitors.” The ROI on digital investments may not be easy to account for, but there’s little question as to their value. “At the end of the day the opportunity costs of not engaging in digital initiatives is a primary factor,” says the executive, noting that the competition “is doing it aggressively.”
There will be no disembarking from this strategic thrill ride anytime soon. In time, the company also plans to find ways to make it more compelling for visitors to post about their visit on Facebook, Twitter, and the like while they are still on-site. The company, as the executive put it, “has to ensure that the mobile future is more than a shiny new thing.”