In the 21st century, software solutions are vital to the operation of any theme park, large or small. In recent years, so many new technologies have been released to the industry that helps solve problems, reduce friction, lower costs, increase revenue, minimize administrative work, optimize labor, and improve the guest experience.
In this article, you will find a list of various software solutions, broken into two categories: mission-critical and valuable additions. The mission-critical list is necessary for survival, while the valuable additions can boost your efforts and enable you to thrive.
These programs are vital to the lifeblood of a theme park. Without them, the park cannot open for the day. While the list is thorough, it is not exhaustive, yet it is presented as your starting point when reviewing software you need to function. Each of these must be firing on all cylinders to survive.
Point of sale/ticketing. If you can’t sell tickets, you can’t have paying guests in your park. Gone are the days of a simple cash register and till. Nowadays, this function must be powerful to track transactions, revenue, and data associated with each purchase.
E-commerce. More and more guests are buying tickets in advance, and fewer are walking up to the ticket window when they arrive. That said, your point of sale must include a robust online ticket sales channel that secures commitment ahead of their visit.
Annual/season pass management. How are you serving your most loyal guests? Whether you offer an annual pass, season, or monthly membership, your ticketing software but be able to differentiate day guests from passholders and members, which have different entitlements to the product they buy.
Access control & capacity management. Knowing how many guests are in the park at any given time is important when looking to manage labor, inventory, staffing, security, and much more. Your ticketing system should be connected to your access control system to gain this intelligence.
Timeclock. On the employee side, managing labor requires a robust timeclock system, so make sure that every minute is accounted for. Even the smallest discrepancies can add up quickly, leading to underpaid or overpaid employees, or unnecessary overtime.
Duty of care. The safety of your employees and guests is paramount, and should always be treated as the number of priority. Maintenance programs that manage checklists enforce your duty of care responsibility while at the same time reducing administrative paperwork.
Inventory management. Food, beverage, retail, plush, and prizes all need to be accounted for on a regular basis. Reduce shrinkage, theft, and manual tabulation by managing your inventory digitally.
Even though a theme park can open its gates without the following software solutions, they should not be dismissed. Once the core functions are set and running, take a look at the valuable programs that can help you better connect with your guests, learn about them, and use the data to drive revenue up and drive down costs.
Guest surveys. Receiving feedback from your guests on a regular basis helps to identify trends and friction points in your guest experience. This allows you to build better relationships with your guests and learn about the top priorities that need to be addressed.
CRM. Customer relationship management allows you to begin the conversation with guests prior to their arrival and continue engagement long after departure. This is the best way to promote future events, suggest upgrading to an annual or season pass, and transition a first-time visitor to a loyal advocate.
Visitor management. Understanding guest flow, areas of congestion, and other passive behaviors give you the knowledge you need to optimize your staff, strategically relocate mobile carts, and understand where future attractions, kiosks, or restrooms should be placed.
Reputation management. The offsite component of the guest experience is critical to marketing. A reputation management software scours the internet for where people are talking about you, both good and bad, which enables you to respond quickly when a figurative fire needs to be put out online.
Self-Service Kiosks. While online ticketing is mission-critical, self-service kiosks should be considered to enhance your onsite ticket sales. Positioning self-service kiosks adjacent to your staffed ticket windows can reduce wait time and decrease labor expenses, allowing you to effectively do more with less.
Mobile app. Does your park have an app? Even though most theme park professionals would agree that they don’t want guests walking around the park and staring at their phones all day, a mobile app can help guests with wayfinding, hours of operations, length of queues, and other information that they may need to search for or ask a staff member. Ultimately, an app can actually help them be more present during their visit.
As you review this list, what else comes to mind? What do you consider to be mission-critical and what do you find to be a valuable addition to ensuring the most successful operation of a theme park?