–Key Contributors: Amanda Yates, April Neal, Jim Dee, John Kasman, Sara Tetley, Sarah Cooper, Teague Peak, Tiffany Rawson
As destinations reopen, social distancing measures and new safety protocols require a retooling of the guest experience. Right now, many of you are installing the ubiquitous acrylic barriers for your welcome desk or retail counter, and that’s a great first step. But what else can we do to create a unique stamp on the experience? We’ve identified transaction points as an area in need of some design love, so we took these questions to our brainstorm team: What are the opportunities beyond the common solutions? How can we rethink a check-in or purchase experience, to be used now and in the future? How can we balance safety and experience?
Check-In: Lots and Lots and Lots
Reducing time in queues helps with social distancing. For those of you with parking lots, can you allow guests to remain in their cars until check-in, sending a text when it’s time to enter? Or perhaps dispatch a new squad of staffers to your parking lot, all with mobile devices offering ways for guests to purchase tickets and plan their day straight from the safety of their cars? Not only is this safe and straightforward, it adds a hospitable feel that addresses all guest needs immediately.
Self-Serve Kiosk: Sanitation Elevation
Self-serve kiosks have been the buzz in transaction point design for a while, but consider something one of our germ-sensitive team members noted: I never go to self-serve kiosks due to sanitation concerns. I’d rather go to a human-operated desk with proper social distancing shields. Also, I don’t trust the sanitation practices of the person before me; let me sanitize it myself. If you have self-serve kiosks, attach a tub of wipes so guests don’t have to ask and wrap a clever graphic around the tub for levity and looks, like Holiday World did for their hand “Santatizer.” Even if your staff is cleaning regularly, providing guests with safety tools is a hospitable touch.
Foregoing kiosks completely is an option. Consider pushing guests to the ticket windows again, supplementing this dedicated queue line with “Line busters” – staff with handheld devices to facilitate check-in or process guests who have fewer questions.
Queues: Beyond the Looking (Acrylic) Glass
So, you’ve bought some acrylic partitions . . . now what? Our team sees a missed opportunity, a blank canvas perfect for storytelling. Why not have some fun with them and create graphic decals that put your guests in the story. Instant photo op!
For your ticket windows and other point-of-sale locations, consider peel-and-stick graphics for a quick win. Thought bubbles could be personalized to the employee’s favorite part of the experience or act as a fun introduction to the guest.
Retail Point-of-Sale: A Mobile, Material World
In addition to reducing queue lines, shortening time at retail points-of-sale is helpful. Can we bring retail to the guest inside the experience? With our mobile-powered world, anything can be a retail shop. Consider placing display vitrines next to actual exhibits and allowing guests to scan a QR code for price, size availability, and delivery options. The app could also make suggestions for other items if a selected item is sold out, as well as inform guests where the merchandise was made or info on the makers. Items could then be picked up at the attraction exit, shipped straight home or delivered to a guest’s hotel accommodations.
If you’re short on space (or vitrines), a wall-based option might work better. Create a wall graphic that keeps to the theme and story of your attraction, and feature pictures of retail items with their corresponding QR codes.
Navigation Apps: Your New Travel Guide
And now for a big one, something we are throwing out there for the industry at large – how can we use apps and technology to improve the transaction experience? Past research indicates a low number of guests download unique destination apps. Disney Parks & Resorts has made their app so integral to the experience of planning your trip that you have to use it. But, what about everyone else with a smaller platform? Now is the time to make your app truly useful and engaging, perhaps beyond the bounds of your location. This makes us wonder why there isn’t an app platform that can connect all sorts of destinations around the globe, eliminating the need for hundreds of individually downloaded apps.
What if you could download one single app that would give you the planning keys to any destination you find yourself visiting? Could this industry create a “See the States!” app, where location services alert you to nearby attractions, as well as direct access to maps and ticket purchases? Wait times for rides or shows can be published to help plan between competing attractions, allowing travelers to see more in one day. And, when the guest goes back home, they still have access through the app to unique podcasts or audio tours provided by the destination. Perhaps this also holds a “road trip playlist” by connecting to music apps, or catalogs the trip photos into a shared album. Seriously, someone get on that! We would download it right now!
We won’t see things return to normal any time soon. Yet reimagining transaction experiences may help you devise long-term solutions in these seemingly simple safety investments. When planning a virus mitigation solution, ask yourself whether this transaction point had pre-existing issues to fix. Could it be more hospitable and accessible? Could it be more informative and engaging?
For the latest industry research and recovery solutions from PGAV Destinations, visit Destinations Dispatch.