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For attraction operators, social-distancing must be addressed

Posted by Omnico on May 7, 2020 10:00:08 AM

As societies emerge from Covid-19 lockdown, parks and casinos must adapt to new rules about physical contact. In China for instance, cities are busy again, but consumers are experiencing a new normality involving masks, gloves and social-distancing. Switzerland, Austria, Germany and Denmark and some states in the US may also ease lockdown, but with varying rules in each case.

For attraction operators, the social-distancing aspect is the one they must address. Failure to do so could be extremely damaging.

Digital ordering and purchasing via smartphones or swiped RFID wristbands or fobs are at hand to help, however. Retail has been ahead of the attractions market on this. In 2016, for example, Omnico implemented full self-scan and pay technology for Coop Denmark, which requires no cards, cash or contact with staff.

These technologies will alleviate many of the anxieties felt by consumers when they return to a park, casino or leisure complex. Guests need not come into close proximity with other visitors or employees, they don’t handle cash and if they use their own devices, they avoid touching potential sources of infection.

Avoidance of physical contact is likely to be a very significant factor in the immediate aftermath of Covid-19 restrictions. It’s why Alipay, the China-based mobile payments giant is using “zero contact” as a key driver to advance adoption of its phone-based e-commerce solutions.

Digital ticketing, is definitely low-touch. Linked to an online account, it requires no cash for any purchase at any stage in the customer journey. Guests use the payment method of their choice. Recognition of the guest’s ticket is by swiping over an RFID sensor or through simple push-button QR technology.

Order ahead technology for food and beverage (and merchandise) is also free from physical contact with cash or with devices used by staff or other consumers.  Linked to kitchen management and restaurant booking systems, Omnico’s solution which is part of its Omnico Commerce platform, enables guests to order food, beverages and book a table, simply by using the destination app on their smartphones.  

Alternatively, if they use disposable gloves, they can exercise the same level of low-touch choice using a kiosk. And in each case, if they want to avoid entering a restaurant, they can have their order brought to them wherever they are, and at a time of their choosing. The same goes for merchandise sales. It means that guests need not leave their slot machine, cabana, or place in line for a ride or attraction if they want to eat a quick bacon pretzel or buy a T-shirt. They don’t need to the fuss of observing social-distancing rules in stores or at food outlets.   

Guests who opt to enjoy their meal in a restaurant, however, having ordered via a phone or kiosk, can pay using a mobile device, using Omnico’s pay at table solution, with the freedom to add or subtract from their original order.

Order ahead technology is not just about lockdown. It increases revenue in the long-term by meeting customer expectations. Omnico’s Theme Park Mobile Barometer found 95% of respondents are likely to spend more if they use a destination’s app. They’re also less likely to walk away from a line. Omnico’s partner Preoday estimates order ahead reduces wait times by 60%, which is significant because our own Omnico Theme Park ROI Barometer found long lines deter 80% of US and UK visitors from buying food and drink. Preoday also has evidence that with order ahead, average transaction values increase by 25% to 30%.

In the post-Covid-19 recovery, technology to reassure guests about social-distancing and physical contact will be vital. Alipay’s advice to merchants is they “repackage” what they do. Parks and destinations operators are well-advised to heed that advice. Ordering ahead and paying digitally using Omnico’s Commerce platform is exactly the right response as consumers tentatively resume fun-seeking.  And as we look further ahead, consumers are certain to insist on a frictionless experience.

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