BASINGSTOKE, ENGLAND - 81% of US consumers want interactive maps to help make their theme park visits more convenient, a survey by Omnico has found. Another 76% want smartphone apps to give them updates, notifying them, for example, when their rooms are ready, while two-thirds (66%) want a park app to provide them with a personalised itinerary. 69% said their visits would benefit from being able to pay without cash, while 65% want to pre-pay for food.
The results were in the second Omnico Theme Park Barometer, which explored the expectations of 774 US consumers who have visited parks in the last two years.
"US consumers want technology to make their theme park visits more enjoyable, saving them time and tying the whole experience together," said Mel Taylor, CEO, Omnico Group. "Expectations are rising and visitors want operators to provide technology that helps remove the frustrations so their families can enjoy an entirely snag-free visit."
The survey shows how substantial percentages of US visitors want technology to provide them with greater certainty. 69%, for example, said their visits would be more convenient if they had real-time advice about weather conditions before going to rides or attractions outside. 67% said their preferred method of obtaining real-time information and making ride or restaurant bookings is via a park phone or tablet app, while 44% favour touch-screen kiosks. For more than a third of US visitors (34%), finding a seat in a theme park restaurant is one of the three most frustrating aspects of a visit, while for 46% it is queuing for rides and attractions.
The research also revealed the opportunities for theme park operators and retailers if they are prepared to invest in technology. More than three quarters of US respondents (77%) said they would spend more on merchandise if they could have it delivered to their hotel room or home rather than carry it around. And with the emphasis on convenience, nearly half of US visitors (49%) said they would like to see self-scan kiosks installed in park merchandise stores.