Mobile Phone Tracking Boosts Amusement Park Experience And Revenue

Sensors Insights by Christian Bugislaus Carstens

When visiting amusement parks, visitors are never too happy about the amount of time they spend waiting in line for rides and at concession stands. Therefore, precise wait time and visitor flow information is crucial in order to provide a first-class customer experience, improve capacity planning and increase revenue.

Today many amusement parks base their wait times on judgement of each attraction’s team members, their feel for the location of the queues, and perceived current throughput of the ride. This information is often both inaccurate and inconsistent, which leads to dissatisfied guests. In addition, unpredictable events, such as downtimes and variable load ratios between regular and express lanes increase the difficulty of manually maintaining queue times.

Visitor queue pattern.
Visitor queue pattern.

In recent years, more and more amusement parks have turned to an automated queue management technology that works by detecting Wi-Fi or Bluetooth signal of guest's mobile devices. The technology is able to accurately measure and predict wait times, while simultaneously provide managers with data about how visitors move and use the park.

Illustration of a typical amusement park with queue times.
Illustration of a typical amusement park with queue times.

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Queues lines are the pet peeve of visitors. The time spent waiting invariably comes at the top of the list of customer complaints. Queue management technologies, such as the BlipTrack solution, enable amusements parks to put lines in perspective. With real-time wait times at on screens at ride entrances and via mobile applications, the solution eliminates guesswork about how long the process will take. It reduces frustration and enables guests to maximize their time in the park by choosing alternative rides with shorter queues.

The data can also provide early warning if rides become congested. It allows managers to take proactive actions, such as opening additional lines, or give suggestions on messaging boards and apps about rides with shorter wait times. The distribution of guests ultimately helps reduce bottlenecks, and significantly increases the opportunity for a positive visitor experience, with more satisfied and recurring visitors as a result.

In addition, people standing in line are not spending money. A reduction of overall waiting times will therefore automatically increase revenues in retail areas and food courts.

To understand and improve individual areas of operations, it is important that the visitor's journey be seen as a single process, rather than as a string of isolated events. The understanding that all individual events influence each other is key to unlocking potential gains. The collected data enable managers to review the flow of visitors to retrieve information about specific patterns, such as entrance and exit usage, re-visits, and time spent in retail areas, food courts, rides, restrooms and more.

A visit to an amusement park is a singular process.
A visit to an amusement park is a singular process.

With this information, amusements parks are able to improve business development analytics, such as park capacity planning. It also enables the parks to add value of existing facilities and/or new investments, optimize operations, and improve the visitor flow.

Considering that the smartphone penetration nears 80% of the mobile market, data collection from mobile devices provides hard numbers of a significant percentage of visitors. Consequentially, the method provides amusement parks with the full picture of visitor experiences —from the moment they arrive, to exiting, and everywhere in between.

The technology works by placing sensors at strategic points in the park and at amusement ride lines. The sensors detect anonymous device ID’s from mobile devices, such as mobile phones. By re-identifying device ID’s from multiple sensors, the wait times and movement patterns become available. The sensors are able to work 24/7, in all weather conditions and require no maintenance once mounted. The solution is passive, non-intrusive and do not require any interaction from guests.

Passive and non-intrusive tracking sensor easily installs on a post.
Passive and non-intrusive tracking sensor easily installs on a post.

BlipTrack delivers reporting capabilities to managers with live and historical information in a web-based, intuitive user interface with graphs and dashboard views. The platform enables data extraction in any combination, allowing quick and efficient integration with existing management systems.

The solution is successfully implemented in major amusement parks in Denmark and the UK.

About the Author

Christian Bugislaus Carstens is the Marketing Manager at BLIP Systems. He has an extensive background in all modern forms of marketing and brand building activities – both offline and online. BLIP Systems is a privately-held information technology company with headquarters Aalborg, Denmark. The company is a provider of data analytic tools to transform traveler flow into value, and creating easy-to interpret decision-making tools of end-users. The BlipTrack solution is successfully employed in optimization efforts in more than 30 international airports, including Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, JFK Airport in New York and El-Prat Airport in Barcelona. The solution is also implemented in road traffic in Switzerland, New Zealand, USA, UK, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Canada and Ireland. In recent years, the solution has also been rolled out in ports in Denmark and the UK.

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