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IT’S ON YOUR WRIST

Happy New Year!

This year, we’re making some changes to our weekly blog that are designed to help you, the reader, to come away with even more value from each issue. During the first three months of 2020, we will be focused on Point-of-Sale Trends and Best Practices. You will find that these articles are specifically designed to equip you with valuable information you can use to improve performance at your facility.

As always, please email me directly at melea.desrochers@operationpineapple.com with any comments or suggestions on these or other issues.

Best Wishes for a prosperous New Year!

Melea Desrochers

IT’S ON YOUR WRIST

How Wearable Technology is Changing the Face of Ticketing

For decades, the thermal ticket printer has been the industry’s ‘go to’ workhorse for processing ticket information. Hardware and ticket stock provider BOCA Systems, located in Boca Raton, Florida, has been the lead supplier for the leisure-service industry. Ticket printers, especially those manufactured by Boca Systems, are sturdy and reliable components. As times have changed, BOCA Systems and other providers have evolved to meet new and ever-changing needs within the industry. Yet, while thermal printer technology continues to adapt, there are some emerging trends that may soon deem them antiquated and irrelevant.

Wearable technology is emerging as a viable alternative to thermal tickets. This technology enables the user to in essence “wear” their ticket on their wrist. This is possible because wearable wristbands store the same information that a thermal ticket does, but digitally. Using a variety of wireless methods from Bluetooth to RFID to NFC, wearable wristband technology transmits the information instantly to a host of integrated systems and devices.

Of course, cellular phones feature much of the same technology found within a wearable wristband–and everyone has a cell phone these days! But wearables have many advantages over cell phones. You need only think to how well a cell phone will function if immersed in a lazy river or if it should slip free from a rider’s pocket as they plummet down a roller coaster’s first drop to agree that wearable technology has a place in the leisure service industry. The fact is that wearable technology is emerging as the new “go-to” solution in a brave, new, and innovative twenty-first century. Here are a few of the more popular ways that wearable technology is being applied today:

Point of Entry/Turnstiles.

Wearable technology is replacing admission tickets at places like Disney World, allowing for quick and easy access to any of its theme parks. Often combined with facial recognition and other biometric identifiers, a wave your wrist gets you through the gate, thus eliminating many of the hassles associated with thermal tickets.

Virtual Queuing.

Most often featured as a complement to the existing stand-by queue, virtual queuing allows the user to reserve their place without physically waiting through the line. Wearables allow guests an effortless experience in reserving and then accessing their place in line. Virtual queuing is a proven revenue generator and wearable technology enhances its value.

Loyalty and Incentive.

Wearables can incentivize use and efficiently spread out demand in real time. At the new water park, Islands H2O Live, guests earn loyalty points each time they access a water ride. Rides with lower wait times afford them more loyalty points than those with longer wait times. Loyalty points can then be redeemed for rewards.

Wristband as Payment.

Nobody enjoys taking out their wallet to pay. Even when we are on vacation, repeatedly taking it out to pay hurts just a little bit more each time we do it. When wearable technology is matched with the right point-of-sale system, paying for things becomes less painful. With a tap of their wrist, guests can easily purchase food and drink, retail items, and even additional tickets. The simpler we can make the process, the better!

Wristband Designates Active Session.

When wearable technology is fitted with an LED component that can brightly display a variety of colors, the result is a wristband that can be interactive. In trampoline parks, skating rinks, and virtually anywhere time-limited sessions are the standard, LED wearables could allow users to buy their session time in new and unique ways. Gone would be the traditional 90-minute skate session in favor of a variety of time-based options. (When the session is active, the wristband is GREEN and when it is inactive, it is RED.) No longer would staff be required to clear the floor between sessions and filter out guests whose time had expired. It may sound a bit futuristic but it’s happening now.

In the right settings, wearable technology is the solution. It allows leisure-service operators the opportunity to create hassle-free experiences, operate more efficiently, improve convenience, simplify processes, and innovate in ways previously unexplored. And if the goal is to enhance the guest experience, then wearable technology may be the single most exciting ticketing solution of this next decade.