When Designing Intuitive Venue Entrances: Look Outside the Attractions Space
Updated: July 22, 2019 | Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn
by Matthew Hoenstine and Greg Banecker
Many visitors to our attractions across the world are not accustomed to the process of entering a venue. While this may sound ludicrous, the entrance process has become wildly complex. Tickets that are only valid on certain days, at a certain place, or require pre-printing and exchanging for another ticket, at a kiosk or a counter. Paper tickets, wristbands, memberships cards, scan your phone, early entrance, special entrance, VIP entrance. Not to mention the various members of staff with various responsibilities present to help “simplify” the process. For a guest that doesn’t spend every day dealing with ticketing, these differences create friction.
Designing an intuitive entrance is key to eliminating this friction. And it’s critical to ensure that the technology solutions you deploy make entering your venue as easy as possible. You need to leverage concepts, experiences and technology that your guests are already familiar with so they can quickly understand how to interact with the access control point and enter efficiently.
For example, we can leverage the experience of using a credit card payment terminal that our guests use at, say, a grocery store, to help design an unattended access control point. A single, inviting device with very clear, short and simple directions, potentially accompanied by recognizable light and audio prompts, is a surefire way to focus guest attention and smoothly move them through the entrance process. But if you put a screen in one place, a barcode reader somewhere else, then the credit card swipe in a third location, you immediately create a customer jam and longer line as your guests try to figure out how to interact with your device.
Your guests have likely used a self-service kiosk to order a Happy Meal at McDonalds or a custom-made sandwich at a convenience store. They’re familiar with using a touchscreen to choose from a limited number of options, moving swiftly through the order process. These same concepts of simplicity in number of product offering, ordering logic and graphics should be applied at your front-gate kiosks. If you don’t currently deploy kiosks at your venue, check out this article first about the questions you should be asking yourself before you do.
But as I look to the future of access control for attractions, I obviously see much more technological potential than just touchscreen kiosks and swipe payment terminals. I believe the technology we see utilized today in the public transportation industry is creating acceptance for the technology we need to introduce at our attractions.
The various subway systems that have embraced contactless payments at their turnstiles are paving the way for consumers to simply pay for expedited attraction access with the tap of a phone or card, skipping a standard queue line. The increasing use of facial recognition at airports across the world is introducing to your guests that their personal information and entitlements can be accessible without needing to juggle a handful of tickets or remember to bring their pass/membership card to the attraction.
In fact, you need only look as far as the smartphone in your pocket, and the pockets of your guests, to know what consumers have already accepted or demanded as reality. Apple Pay and Google Wallet are Near Field Communication in the palm of your hand. If it takes a split second to tap your iPhone to a payment terminal and buy your groceries at Wholefoods, why can’t the same apply to getting into your favorite zoo? If your guests unlock their Android with their fingerprint, or their iPhone using Apple Face ID, why do they still need to carry around a photo ID membership card to enter an attraction? Imagine the frictionless experience of admitting a season pass holder and their family just by scanning their face.
Of course, we don’t all have the time, money or resources to implement every latest technological trend. So one place to start in designing an intuitive entrance is putting the ticket into the hand of your guest before they arrive and allowing them to head directly to the access control point. On a side note, if you’re selling through distributors, you can do this by eliminating vouchers through Galaxy Connect.
Regardless of what technology you adopt, you need to focus on making every purchaser a hero. Through every sales channel you operate, you need to map the process from purchase to turnstile entry and remove every speed bump and obstacle in the way. Too often, we cause our purchaser to look like a fool and regret their purchase when they run into the unexpected pitfalls of their chosen path (e.g. queuing at the ticket booths to retrieve tickets that they have already paid for). First and foremost, this improves the guest experience, which encourages repeat purchasing through that successful sales channel. But of course, we all also want our guests who have done all the right things and shelled out their hard-earned cash to be able to enter our park and continue to spend money with us without delay.