Staff Shortages and the Demand for Self-Service Options and More Convenience
Published: May 25, 2021 | Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn
Ongoing concerns related to COVID, pandemic era unemployment compensation benefits, and the slow reinstatement of the State Department’s J-1 visa exchange program have led to a severe labor shortage in our industry. And the shortage is not going unnoticed by our guests, who are taking to social media and standard media to complain about long lines, closed rides and a sub-par guest experience.
To compensate, attractions are being forced to close their gates on certain days during the peak summer season because they can’t staff up. Others are significantly raising their hourly wage to lure more employees. All of this means higher expenses and less revenue.
COVID accelerated the demand for, and development of, more convenient self-service options in our industry. Self-service operations reduce the need for more staff, improve the guest experience, and reduce your expenses in the long run. We’re in a service industry. We will always need real people to deliver the best guest experience at our attractions. But these are some of the self-service options we’ve built into Galaxy that you should be considering at your attraction.
Kiosks at Your Front Gate
You can run Galaxy Ticketing POS on kiosks at your front gate. Kiosks are a self-service option that allows your guests to purchase and pick up tickets. Kiosks can sell event, pass-required and package tickets too, they’ll offer upsell prompts, accept stored value and guests can select their own language. The addition of self-service kiosks enhance the guest experience by decreasing ticket lines while also reducing the number of employees required to manage your admissions. If staffing up is a challenge, kiosks can serve as your staff at the gates, while admissions employees can be reallocated to other parts of the venue (like opening a ride).
Kiosks are nothing new, but we’ve seen an increased interest since COVID began – not only do they help with staffing, but they also reduce touch interaction between your guests and your staff. When we move forward with any discussions about installing kiosks at a venue, we always ask our customers these 14 questions.
F&B Kiosks at Your Restaurant, Cafes and Food Trucks
The Galaxy Food & Beverage Kiosk is a fast, convenient way for guests to place their food and beverage order that allows you to easily scale your F&B operation without the need to onboard additional order takers. Your facility can take many orders at once with little oversight from a team member. Guests can order their desired meals, make free or paid modifications based on suggestion, buy upsell items, add on extras and make credit card or stored value payments with little to no need to wait for staff to intervene. They get their food and get back to having fun.
The F&B Kiosk is another product that has seen increased demand since COVID started. Michael Marks, one of our Business Solutions Engineers, recorded a demo last year of the functionality. Check it out here.
Online Member Portal
The Online Member Portal, a solution offered through the eGalaxy Web Store, allows members/passholders to self-manage most aspects of their account.
Your members/passholders can redeem entitlements, like meal vouchers or event tickets, and add new entitlements. They can retrieve and display their pass from their phone for admission, or download their pass to their Apple Wallet. They can claim deferred pass benefits that they don’t initially purchase, update their pass information, purchase additional passes or renew their pass.
On the flip side, each page of the Portal can display custom HTML and content, so your attraction can create personalized, on-brand pages for your passholders with info, content or special offers. For each pass kind, venues can specify which information is shown to the passholder. Venues can also control which information is editable. Finally, rather than issuing a pass benefit at the time of the pass purchase and including it in the price of the pass, you may choose to make it deferred and have passholders purchase it later. This approach reduces pass prices and lets passholders obtain guest tickets and other benefits when they want to use them via the Portal.
The Online Member Portal allows you to have less staff at your membership office performing manual functions for your members. Additionally, deferred benefits previously had to be issued at Guest Services, but passholders can now access these benefits through the Online Member Portal.
SMS Delivery for the eGalaxy Web Store
While not a self-service option, we wanted to mention a new feature that increases guest/staff convenience, and consequently, could help with staff shortages and guest dissatisfaction.
SMS Delivery for the eGalaxy Web Store expands Galaxy’s digital delivery ecosystem by adding the ability to send a digital ticket retrieval link via SMS for an advanced order placed via the eGalaxy Web Store. Your guests get the convenience of having tickets available on their mobile phone, and the peace of mind that comes with minimizing physical contact with operators and transaction related hardware. Sites gain operational efficiency by reducing the cost of physical tickets and receipts as well as operational slowdowns associated with paper tickets.
We recently spoke with Dave Carey, the Gateway Product Manager who spearheaded this development, about SMS Delivery. Here’s what he had to say.