A recent study by developer Omnico found that 91% of Japanese and Malaysian theme park and resort visitors want to bypass queues by using a cell phone app to purchase a fast-track pass with specific timeslots. That isn’t really surprising, given that queues are really a waste of time.
The study also shows that advance booking of hotels, tickets, dining, spa and even merchandise is also a clear preference with many visitors. 88% want to pre-book fast-track ride passes, for instance, while 96% of Malaysian and 83% of Japanese visitors want to book hotels in advance. Guests also want to use pre-paid cashless wristbands for convenience, although the figure was much higher in Malaysia (85%), than in Japan (61%).
Visitors also expect new technologies such as Virtual and Augmented Reality or robots to be used in parks. 70% of Malaysians expect to see VR experiences or guides within the next three years, compared with 53% of Japanese respondents. 42% of Malaysians and a quarter of Japanese guests (25%) expect Siri-type personal digital assistants to feature in theme parks of the future.
While all these statistics may be useful and even enlightening, the onus is still upon the management of theme parks and resorts to decide if they’d rather have visitors experience a smoother and more fun time at their premises, or if they’d rather look at long, snaking lines of people queueing up and smile in smug satisfaction.
“Investing in the right technology is now essential for park operators,” said Mel Taylor, CEO, Omnico Group. “Visitors want a single, connected, easy experience covering entry, rides and attractions, shops and restaurants. Operators in Japan and Malaysia can see from our survey how to compete effectively and maximise their returns.”