Smartphones are an essential part of our everyday lives and are often used to stay connected to others and get information and emails on the go. In the UK, theme parks are now making use of smartphones' popularity to enhance the visitor experience, allowing them to possibly replace queues. At Blackpool Pleasure Beach, consumers don’t have to queue up to get on rides as their smartphones can do it for them instead; a new software called Lo-Q replaces physical queues, allowing consumers to queue virtually through their phones. Attractions in theme parks can have queues waiting up to 90 minutes to get onto a ride on a busy day, but with the new technology, consumers can queue virtually and instead spend their wait time on other rides or in restaurants and gift shops (Reuters).
Blackpool as a destination is already using another similar technology to reduce the hassle of queuing; a Q-Bot, which is a wireless device which uses technology similar to that used by the smartphone web browser. Consumers can use the device to check on the availability of seats on rides and reserve empty spots by pressing a button. Straightaway, the device tells the consumer if he can ride right immediately or not. In the future, theme parks will take advantage of such technologies to improve customer satisfaction and decrease physical queues at rides that might waste time and cause dissatisfaction.
POSITIVE IMPACTS ON ATTRACTIONS
The longer consumers spend in queues waiting to get onto a ride, the less time they have available to do other things in a theme park or attraction. Therefore, the fewer the queues and the more people using virtual queuing, the more time that can be spent in restaurants and gift shop. This could in turn impact positively on the money spend in theme parks and attractions. So far, there are over 40 theme parks worldwide with virtual queues, mainly in Europe and North America. As attractions and theme parks grow, virtual queuing might be increasingly interesting for all kinds of attractions to increase general sales and customer satisfaction by decreasing physical queues.
Lo-Q estimates that by using the virtual queuing technology, consumers have saved over four billion minutes queuing since its launch. This is a lot of time saved, which can instead be spent on other sections within the parks. Looking beyond theme parks and into the consumer's everyday lives, they face queues in many other places such as banks and restaurants. The technology could thus be expanded to other such businesses in the future. For destinations and tourism organisations, it is certainly interesting to see whether the introduction of virtual queuing could be relevant for the businesses and whether consumers would make use of their smartphones to be in a virtual queue rather than physical ones. Additionally, while the technology is still new, it would be interesting to see if its use motivates visitors to specifically go to those theme parks with virtual queuing enabled.
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