Maintaining the Mystery & Magic
Imagine this. You've planned an afternoon of fun and enjoyment for you and your family. You're at the local arcade where you've loaded up an hour's worth of game play credits. Lock and load baby 'cause it's time to save the world. You walk over to your first game, slide your game card through the reader, and prepare...and nothing happens. The game must need a reset. 'No big deal', you say to yourself as you walk on to your next game. Time to shoot some hoops, you think, as you slide your card...but no basketballs are dispensed from the machine. You move over to the next machine but there are no balls loaded in this one. As you move through the arcade, you and your children experience more and more trouble: games are broken, credits need to be refunded, and this afternoon is not playing out the way you had planned. It's never good when guests leave our attraction having had a poor experience and in today's world, social media makes it easier than ever for a negative experience to spread like wildfire. Quality matters...and when we fail to present our best operation to our guests, it just might be Game Over.
For any facility that wants to win with every guest, every day, maintaining a consistent level of quality is MISSION CRITICAL. I learned this first hand during my tenure with Luxor Hotel & Casino. Through the use of complex special effects, movie magic, lighting and sound, Luxor's attractions transported guests into magical and fantastic places on a daily basis. There were two key elements that ensured our continued ability to provide these experiences with consistency - people and systems.
Our technicians were skilled, passionate individuals who cared about the quality of presentation more than anybody and it showed. That said, it wasn't only our technical team who was responsible for ensuring quality-at Luxor, everyone was accountable. We used a system of checklists, processes, and computer software designed to report, keep track of, and resolve quality issues as they occurred. Here's a brief summary of each of the key components of our quality formula:
Opening/Closing Quality Checklists. We created opening and closing checklists designed to include every minute technical and visual element that our guests would see as they experienced the attraction. The opening Operations Lead would perform a detailed walkthrough of the venue, starting at the façade entrance and ending in the exit corridor. Slowly, they would walk through the entire venue, checking every light, audio speaker, and other elements. The Lead would log any quality issue and then call it in to our central dispatcher (Operations Base). From time to time, a supervisor or manager might also perform the same quality walk to ensure that nothing was missed.
Attraction/Element Downtime Logs. It didn't matter at what time of day a quality issue was identified or who reported it-quality items were always logged for the record. The person doing the logging was our Operations Base clerk-an individual whose job it was to record these items and to call them out to our technical team. Whenever someone reported a quality issue, the Ops Base Clerk recorded the issue on a downtime worksheet and called out over the radio to a member of our technical team for immediate review. The Ops Base clerk would record the time at which the quality issue was received, called out to the technician, and specifically which technician responded to the call. But it didn't end there. The Ops Base clerk would follow up with the technician 15 minutes to a half hour after the initial notification. This held the technician accountable while still giving them the opportunity to resolve the issue during an attraction's operating hours. (Sometimes, more simple issues could be resolved between shows or ride dispatches.) Unresolved quality issues were logged into a customized downtime tracking system where managers could track recurring issues, order parts, and allocate additional labor.
Morning Meetings. Daily, as part of our Morning preshift meetings, the Opening Duty Manager would review the Attraction Downtime report, line by line, asking questions, and getting updates on parts that were on order, work that was scheduled, etc. Everyone was in the loop and aware of any outstanding quality issues. We held our technical team accountable for every single show element in our area-and they held themselves accountable too.
Keeping everything up and running was a matter of pride for our team. As a part of our culture, it was never a good thing for simple repairs to be left unresolved. In fact, for our entire team, it was a matter of personal pride that our attractions always be functioning at their highest levels. Everyone on our team wanted Luxor to be the best and in order to do that, we had to be fanatical about quality. With the right system in place and a team of caring people to make it happen, we presented excellence every day, and won the game, year after year.
"Quality is never an accident. It is always the result of intelligent effort."
- John Ruskin