Park Bloggin’

Omni present Having a smooth and easy

payment system throughout your park makes guests feel relaxed about spending money, which only benefits

your business, argues Steve Thomas, chief technology officer at Omnico

Disneys MagicBand offers an all in one solution


aximising revenues in resorts with multiple theme parks, rides, shops, restaurants and hotels now depends on providing guests with a single, unified

experience when it comes to ordering and paying. Innovative omni-channel technology, which has grown

rapidly within the retail sector over the past decade and has since expanded into entertainment and hospitality, has the power to transform and enhance the guest experience, and in turn drive better commercial performance.

Great expectations With great technology come growing expectations. Consumers have shifted an enormous amount of their transactions online, and with new e-commerce and mobile technology providing them with more convenience and options each year, their expectations have risen accordingly. When it comes to booking a holiday at a resort or a day out at a theme park, guests expect a smooth ride at every point in the experience. The average consumer assumes they will be able to order everything in advance, from meals to hotel rooms, car parking and merchandise. While in the customers’ eyes this may seem like a simple request, operators of resorts and theme parks know that several barriers must be crossed before omni-channel success can be achieved. The largest obstacle for many will be overcoming the bolted-on solutions currently in place, which fail to overcome the legacy of compartmentalisation. Many operators will have multiple, unsynchronised views of their guests, spread across their many hotels, shops, restaurants and theme parks. These disparate views create friction for the guests, who will often feel as if they are shopping or booking tickets with a different company in each case.

The single life Making the transformation into a successful omni-channel operator requires a seamless and agile connection between digital and physical channels, across the entire resort and connecting hotels and restaurants. By providing a single view of the guest across these channels, operators can access a number of key business benefits, and open up a wider array of convenient and efficient experience options for guests. This includes allowing guests to book and pay for meals, rides, souvenirs and other goods online, either before their stay or while at the resort. A single basket solution allows them to do so from a single account and through whichever method they find most convenient, whether that be a smartphone, wristband or other device. They can also redeem


Why an omni-channel payment solution helps both park and guests alike

personalised offers they have received on their devices or loyalty points they have accrued online through multiple visits. The MagicBand, used in Disney’s theme parks and resorts, is a prime example of what omni-channel technology can deliver. Embedded with an RFID chip, the small wristband allows guests to schedule rides, character meet-and-greets, order meals and much more in advance. Food or souvenir purchases can be handled through the MagicBand and are then added to the guest’s bill, which can be paid when they check-out of the resort.

The tech-savvy guests of today are keen to utilise the most

convenient methods during a resort stay; particularly when families want to spend time on the attractions and not waiting for food. Many resorts have over the years focused on reducing line-time for rides and not focused on restaurants, however more recently this has changed. SeaWorld Orlando allows guests to use an app to purchase menu items ahead of time, and Disney’s Be Our Guest restaurant allows reservations 30 days in advance. By extending this to pre- booking tables ahead of even leaving home for your holiday, it can ensure waits are reduced at busy restaurant times. When paying, guests can also do so through their phones without having to leave the table or use an external point-of- dale device. With all resort channels unified into one system, operators

have the opportunity to create rewards programmes that track guest activity and reward their loyalty with discounts or other exclusive deals, extending loyalty far beyond normal theme park hours and physical boundaries. Companies that have achieved omni-channel excellence have found their guests form an emotional attachment and trust in their brand. Therefore when it comes time to book the next holiday, that guest is more likely to choose the brand they have formed a connection with.

The right stuff In order for these benefits to be achieved, operators must do away with the disparate solutions that have been bolted on over the years and opt to create a single resort experience. The epitome of an integrated theme park will come to fruition with the opening of Dubai Parks and Resorts later this year. They have openly talked about the use of technology to help improve the guest experience; “from booking tickets, to finding parking spaces, to choosing rides with lower wait times or deciding on the right cuisine to eat…” said Raed Kajoor Al Nuaimi, CEO of Dubai Parks and Resorts. Taking a leaf out of Dubai’s book, omni-channel technology

allows guests visiting theme parks and resorts a smooth ride at every point in their stay, while also providing a number of key business benefits in terms of loyalty and sales.

Steve Thomas is chief technology officer at Omnico, which offers solutions for destinations from single theme parks, water parks and heritage sites, to large-scale resorts that include attractions, hotels, spas, food and beverage and retail outlets, even golf courses and beaches.

APRIL 2017

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