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Refined Approach

Technology Makes a Splash

In an age when everyone is building an app, some companies are finding success by thinking out of the mobile box.
 
Theme park expert Stephan Zwanzger recently noted that phones are causing the “zombification of the human spirit.” Zwanzger told CNN that amusement parks “should become offline parks where you hand over your phone and you and your family are forced to deal with each other and enjoy the here and now.”
 
That may sound counterintuitive and in some circles downright sacrilegious, however, at Volcano Bay at Universal the removal of the smartphone open up a whole new reality, physical and virtual.
 
Although Volcano Bay doesn’t confiscate the phone, they made it virtually obsolete for the day. Unlike other parks where I had to download an APP to track the rides, Volcano Bay provides the TapuTapu™ to all its visitors, a waterproof wristband that serves as your compass to the park.
 
The wristband does it all. A credit card linkup allows you to ditch your wallet. Even food is linked to the wrist band, so there’s no need to unfold those soggy dollar bills when trying to grab fries for the kids or an adult beverage for yourself. It even checks you into the rides in advance, and buzzes when it’s your turn.
 
Every person must use the wristband to access the park – yes, 100% participation. The wristband not only provides you with conveniences, but it also gives the park access to real-time data to help guide business decisions and modify the customer experience. It has the ability to track your every movement, allowing the park to monitor everything from its best-selling item at any given time, to the usual traffic patterns of the 40+-year-old dad. What’s more, this data monitoring allows Volcano Bay to self-monitor – giving them information for example on how to improve food line times and determine better flow of visitors throughout the day.
 
The biggest insight? Volcano Bay discovered a practical way to remove their biggest potential distraction throughout the day – the smartphone. In doing so, Volcano Bay also delivers on an experience where families become radically present, and they can once again focus on the conversations with their kids instead of having them post every second of the experience on Instagram, Snapchat or Facebook. To all my followers who didn’t have to see me in a bathing suit – you’re welcome.

Jon Hendl / EVP, Client Services
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