Optimising Theme Parks:
How to Use Crowd Analytics Software to Enhance Guest Experiences, Safety and Bottom Line
4 min read
Published 05 OCT 2023
Did you know, a retail queue will most likely be abandoned after 6 mins, however 62% of people queuing for theme park rides feel that waiting for 1 hour is acceptable
Managing crowds and ensuring a smooth guest experience can be a significant challenge for park operators. For example queue lines have become an inescapable reality within modern theme parks. Whether it's waiting to purchase an entrance ticket, grabbing an ice cream, or lining up for a ride, park visitors have grown accustomed to anticipating queues. However, advancements in technology and evolving trends are gradually eroding the patience for waiting.
The Australian Theme Park Industry Today
The sector witnessed impressive growth followed by a dip during the coronavirus pandemic, 2023 is shaping up to be more in line with pre-covid growth rates. Within Australia alone, theme parks employ approximately 10,000 park staff, servicing millions of customers spending over $2bn per year.
In this blog, we will explore challenges theme and water parks face today, along with how leveraging advanced data-driven insights can help deliver a better visitor experience. Challenges we’ll address are grouped into two categories:
Summary: Challenges Theme and Water Parks Face Today
Queue and Wait Times
One of the most common frustrations for theme park visitors are long queues. Unlike supermarkets where customers typically pass through quickly, in a theme park visitors are on-site for the duration of their stay and are more adaptable, often adjusting their plans to avoid queues to maximise their time.
The most obvious problem with queues is that they consume time, which can be frustrating for guests and diminish their perception of the overall experience's value. Waiting times may also make customers abandon the service and decide not to return.
What measures can theme and water parks have in place to assist in preventing negative experiences? Crowd analytics software enables park operators to optimise queue management by analysing queue lengths, wait times, and guest flow trajectories. By defining how each queue behaves, Crowd Analytics Software can then predict critical density points and suggest solutions such as:
Redirect visitors to alternative rides, food, beverage and retail outlets thus occupying their time while increasing the overall spend per visitor.
Is ride management efficient? Using chairlifts as an example, by comparing real time queue length vs ride count per minute (People detected on the chair lift), parks can identify significant inefficiencies in loading visitors onto rides such as empty chairs/seats or safety demonstrations taking too long to get through.
Staffing levels play a massive role in the operation of rides. Understaffing will increase length and time in the queue, while overstaffing directly impacts the bottom line of the park. AI can assist in managing staffing levels by recommending the ideal number based on live queue counts.
Complementary tactics to help prevent long queues and bottlenecks include:
Displaying queue times can help visitors make an informed decision on whether they wait or move to another attraction, potentially preventing buyer regret.
Dynamic pricing brings a more balanced distribution of crowds throughout the year, while still ensuring the theme park generates sufficient revenue during peak periods. This is done by charging a higher ticket price during peak periods, while offering discounted pricing during off peak. This approach enhances the guest experience, leading to increased visitor satisfaction, longer stays in the park, and higher spending by guests. While this trend hasn’t taken over the industry in Australia just yet, Internationally Disney has pioneered this strategy.
Privacy & Ethics: Is Your Solution Anonymous by Design?
It’s also important to note a key difference between Crowd Analytics Software when it comes to facial recognition and being anonymous. Nola is an anonymous-by-design system that delivers aggregated insights to enhance operational efficiency, customer journeys, interactions and safety.
Nola does not use facial recognition or individual identification technology of any kind.
Nola does not produce or store any information about individuals.
We believe in the power of Crowd Video Analytics. Ethically we wouldn’t want our faces captured and analysed, therefore do not offer this nor have we trained our AI models to do this.
- Nola works by processing video footage from cameras installed on customer premises and generates anonymised numerical statistics as output. Under no circumstances are they stored in the cloud.
Safety and Security
Ensuring guests are able to enjoy their experience while feeling safe is paramount to the success of any park. The way accidents at amusement parks are covered by the media can exert a substantial influence on both public perception and attendance rates. The magnitude of this influence can fluctuate based on a range of factors, including the gravity of the accident, the nature of media coverage, and the public's perception of safety.
Theme park incidents range in severity and are not uncommon. August 2023 a six-year-old boy was left severely injured after falling from a roller coaster in an American theme park. Having technology work hand in hand with park operators will help mitigate some risks and allow theme park enthusiasts to focus on enjoying their visit.
Crowd analytics software plays a vital role in identifying potential safety risks and managing emergency situations efficiently. By monitoring crowd density and movement patterns in real-time, park operators can detect:
Overcrowding and the potential of a crowd collapse.
Proactively manage evacuation procedures, and
Mitigate safety hazards.
A key tactic employed to help manage the safety of customers are virtual trip wires (A virtual line drawn in frame that provides smart detection of events when crossed) . In the case of chair lifts, Crowd Analytics Software can detect once someone has crossed into a “No Go Zone”, and send an alert off to security for further investigation.
Theme park visitors having a positive experience is more important than ever due to the ever-evolving landscape of theme park operations with crowd analytics software. By harnessing the power of real-time data and advanced analytics, theme parks can transform their operations, reduce wait times, enhance safety, and create personalised experiences keeping theme park guests safe, screaming and coming back for more.
Rule of 6: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-38990535
62% of people: https://www.themeparkinsider.com/flume/201807/6177/
Waiting times may (Zhou and Soman, 2003; Nip, 2014)
Decide not to return (Dickson, Ford and Laval, 2005; Lutz, 2008)