Ways to Reduce Friction and Elevate the Guest Experience

When your guests arrive at your park, they want to get moving, to get the fun started. What could possibly come between them and a glorious day of happy memories?

Guest friction. (Cue the collective “Boo!”) Things that stop guests in their tracks as they try to enjoy their break from the everyday.

It doesn’t have to be this way. There are ways to reduce guest friction and put smiles on faces.

Here are some familiar points of friction for guests, the source of the issues, and how you, as a park owner or operator, can resolve them.

Guest friction: “We’ve been waiting in line for an hour and a half to process our season passes and we’re still not there.”

Problem: The process is manual and involves paper forms and physical cards.

Frictionless solution: Automated ticketing and season pass processing.

Commonly, when guests purchase a season pass online, they are actually buying a voucher to be processed manually in person at the park, which could be hours of queuing at the beginning of the season. With automated season pass processing, guests can buy the pass at home, enter their profile information, upload a headshot, and have the pass on their phones within minutes. That way, when they arrive at the park, nothing is getting in the way of them and a day of fun.

(Guest) Friction Definition

Guest friction: “I don’t understand this map. How do we get to that ride?”

Problem: Some people have a hard time reading maps and get frustrated walking around in circles trying to find attractions, shows, food, etc.

Frictionless solution: Digital wayfinding.

With RFID wristbands, Bluetooth, sensors, and a mobile app, technology can walk your guests smoothly from Point A to Point B with live location signals, right on their phone, so they can make the most of their time at the park.

Guest friction: (Gasp!) “Where did the kids go?!”

Problem: Children dash about into the crowds and guests spend time looking for them in a panic.

Frictionless solution: Location-sharing.

The same technology that brings you digital wayfinding can let guests know their children’s whereabouts in the park, sparing the stress and tears that would put a damper on their day.

Guest friction: “Oh boy, look at that huge line for (fill in the blank—attraction, food, bathroom)!”

Problem: You do not know where the crowds are in real time or how they are moving. Or it might seem like you are short-staffed.

Frictionless solution: Real-time location and historical attendance data.

Real-time location can tell your guests where the attractions with shorter lines are and incentivize them to go there with higher points offers. They can also be notified when the line for their favorite attraction has shortened. This function can also help you with delegating staff. It can tell you how many guests are in which areas as well as how they are moving so you can, for example, send employees from quieter areas to work in the busier F&B outlets to reduce the queues.

In addition, historical attendance data analyzed by day of the week, month, holidays, events, weather, and more can help you predict your staffing needs more accurately. This way, you’ll reduce the likelihood of being short-staffed—or overstaffed—for that matter.

Guest friction: “Forget it, I’m not walking all the way back to the locker to get my wallet.”

Problem: No cashless, cardless payment.

Frictionless solution: Cashless system with unique guest identifier.

With each RFID identifier, such as a wristband linked to a user profile, a guest can save their credit card to the profile and pay with the wristband. This cashless system will make guest spending easier without the need to fetch their wallet from their locker, especially if you run a water park.

Guest friction: “I want to speak to the manager.”

Problem: Your front-line employees do not have the authority to make it right.

Frictionless solution: Loyalty points system.

A loyalty points system not only allows your guests to collect points to redeem for great prizes, it can also be used as a tool to empower your junior staff to make guests happy. So, if a guest had an unfortunate experience, your front-line employees could give them points immediately to compensate for the situation. This way, your guests can merrily carry on with their day at your park instead of having to wait and escalate to a manager. After all, you don’t want to read about the incident on Tripadvisor later.

Reducing guest friction in your park allows guests to better enjoy their time, and in turn encourages positive online reviews and return visits. Those who overlook friction reduction strategies risk falling behind in the competitive landscape. If you recognize these guest points of friction in your park, maybe it’s time to look into a digital transformation.  Contact the Vantage team to see how to make your guest experience as seamless possible.

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