Theme parks are fun and exciting escapes for people of all ages. But what if your theme park is falling short? Can you think of opportunities to improve? Never stop innovating when it comes to your guests’ experience. You don’t have to go all-in with costly upgrades like adding new rides, renovating or expanding. Minor things can sometimes make a significant difference. Read on to discover eight simple theme park improvement ideas to take visitor satisfaction to new heights.
Why You Should Enhance Your Guests’ Experience
Theme parks that don’t satisfy their guests won’t be very successful. Customer expectations are constantly changing and evolving, and it’s your job to exceed them. While guests come for the thrills, other factors are critical in ensuring they have a positive experience and want to come back again and again.
Guest experience is the foundation for guest satisfaction, repeat visitors and increased revenue. Enhancing this factor can give you a competitive advantage over other parks by driving sales, increasing loyal customers and boosting your park’s reputation.
1. Improve Queues and Wait Times
Long wait times are a typical complaint of theme park visitors. People come to your theme park to pack as much fun as possible into a day or weekend. When they have to spend a long time in a boring line, they get frustrated that the park is wasting their time.
Implement a Virtual Queue
Parks like Disney and Universal use a virtual queuing system to cut down on wait times. These applications allow people to hold a spot in line and show up at a specified time, which is invaluable for popular rides that always have long wait times. People can prioritize their “bucket-list” rides and spend the rest of their time exploring, shopping and eating. This tactic also reduces overcrowding in specific areas.
Display Wait Times
Another way to improve your guest experience is to display wait times at every queue. This information will help people choose where they would like to spend their time and can help balance out the lines. People who don’t want to stand around will join shorter queues. Those who don’t mind waiting will join whichever ride they want to experience. Either way, people will be more satisfied when they know what to expect. However, you may need to use new technology to correctly predict wait times. Nothing will bother your guests more than hearing there is only a 20-minute wait and then waiting for 40 minutes.
Make Queues More Comfortable
Sometimes, queues will stretch around the block, no matter what you do to prevent it. That’s why it’s crucial to make the experience as comfortable as possible. Shield the line formation area from the harsh sun. For high-demand rides, you could add entertainment such as small TVs or speakers that play music to help your guests pass the time more enjoyably.
2. Keep the Park Clean
While not many people will notice all the tiny things you do to keep the park clean, they will spot signs of neglect right away. Trash cans and bathrooms are the primary areas of concern, but walkways must also be clear and well-maintained.
Place Enough Trash Receptacles
There should never be overflowing trash cans or debris on the ground. You’ll need plenty of trash receptacles to prevent this from happening. There are a few things to consider when adding trash bins.
First, you must ensure the receptacles are plentiful and highly visible. When people have trash in their hands and can’t find an appropriate place to dispose of it, they may toss their garbage on the ground. Make sure trash bins are always within reach.
Second, you need to consider their size. Smaller trash cans take up less space, but fill up faster, requiring more maintenance. Large trash cans accommodate more garbage, but can smell unpleasant if left alone too long.
Empty Them Often
No matter how many trash cans you place or how big they are, you will still need to have your maintenance crew check and empty them frequently, before they overflow or start smelling. A dirty, bad-smelling park will detract from the overall guest experience.
Sanitize and Disinfect
Part of maintaining a clean park is keeping your guests and employees healthy. Disinfect high-touch surfaces to prevent the spread of bacteria and illnesses, like COVID-19. These include railings, tables, door handles and anything else your guests frequently come in contact with. You could also add hand sanitizing stations to your park to help your guests stay healthy and protect others.
Maintain Clean Bathrooms
Most people visit a theme park for a whole day or a few days in a row. Every guest will likely need to use a restroom a few times each day. To ensure visiting the bathrooms is a pleasant experience, have employees check rest areas multiple times per day and clean them often.
3. Have Easy-to-Access Rest Areas
A trip to an exciting theme park can be tiring. People will need places to rest, relax and regain their strength. The last thing you want is for guests to leave early because they feel too drained to keep going. Provide highly visible rest areas and signage to help direct people to places they can recharge.
An easy option is to position benches at regular intervals throughout the park. Place benches along paths to allow people to stop and take a break. Benches near rides encourage guests to sit down and wait for their friends or family members to get off rides. Put benches and picnic tables near food courts, so people have a pleasant space to sit and eat. Also, position benches in front of scenic locations where guests can sit and enjoy the scenery or view of the park. Always remember to provide plenty of places where people can get water to drink while they relax and recharge.
Place Other Rest Areas
Your guests would also appreciate other opportunities to rest. You can spread out indoor attractions, like shows, arcade areas, sit-down restaurants and gift shops all around the park. They should be air-conditioned and have some seating for people to relax. These rest areas allow people to rest while still enjoying your park and having fun experiences.
4. Create an App
Designing a user-friendly app is an excellent way to enhance your guest experience. A well-designed app can help eliminate typical problems guests have. Use technology to reduce the strain on customer-facing employees who would otherwise need to walk visitors through various processes. Apps can help guests:
- Buy and view tickets
- Access interactive park maps
- Use mobile payment options
- View deals and specials
- Discover new attractions
- View wait times
- Order food for pickup
- Hold a spot in line
- View a calendar of events
- Plan their day
- Share feedback
Whatever guests need to do at your park, your app should help them with it, helping reduce frustrations and giving them a smooth experience. Does your park typically experience long wait times to get in every day? Let people buy tickets ahead of time on the app. What if they get lost and don’t know where to go? All they have to do is open the app. Provide a user-friendly events calendar or schedule to show each day’s activities.
Apps don’t only benefit your guests. They can provide you with invaluable information about your visitors, park and ways to improve. You can gather data about what information people need to access the most. With apps that allow visitors to create an account and log in, you can collect even more information to use for marketing.
5. Personalize Their Experience
Personalization is a valuable marketing tool. You can use loyalty programs, email lists and your app to create custom offers, tips and recommendations for your guests. Allow guests to create an account, rate rides and activities, check in online and more to gather valuable data about them.
Remind Them of Their Last Visit
If guests got pictures taken at rides and posted them on social media, send them out as a “throwback” reminder. You can also ask previous visitors if they want help making reservations at the same hotel or restaurant they visited before. Whatever you do, you can build a relationship with your guests by connecting them with the exciting experiences they already have had with your park.
Recommend a Ride or Activity
Once you gather some information about guests, you’ll be able to recommend a ride, activity or event they may be interested in. If they have young kids, direct them to the area that has rides suited for children. If they recently gave a roller coaster five stars, suggest a different one they may like just as much. If they recently bought tickets to see a show, recommend another one.
Offer a Deal or Discount
You can also personalize a deal to offer to a returning guest. It could be something simple, like an email with a percentage discount. Or, it could be something more insightful and powerful, such as offering a free food item or beverage from a restaurant they visited the last time. Reward frequent visitors or season pass holders with free merchandise or a complimentary meal to thank them.
Many businesses celebrate their customers’ birthdays by offering a special discount or gift if they visit on their birthday. You can extend the promotion for their whole birthday week or month. Make sure to greet them by name, wish them a happy birthday and give them something that makes them glad to have a connection with your park!
6. Ensure Top-Notch Customer Service
Guests will regularly interact with employees throughout their trip. From entering, boarding rides and shopping to ordering food and asking for help, your guests will constantly rely on the park’s employees. The whole team must prioritize offering outstanding customer service to enhance the guest experience.
Invest in Your Employees
To encourage your employees to provide excellent customer service, you’ll likely need to invest in them by paying them competitively, offering benefits and taking steps to increase their job satisfaction. Your employees are the foundation for everything your park does, and without them, you wouldn’t manage to run a park at all. Taking excellent care of your employees will motivate them to go the extra mile for your guests.
7. Ask for Feedback From Guests
Listening to visitor feedback is one of the best ways to improve your park. After all, the park is supposed to be fun for everyone! When your guests feel heard and valued, they are more likely to return. Using engagement and feedback tools increases brand loyalty and guest satisfaction.
Get Real-Time Feedback
Implement technology to gather real-time feedback from guests, which may consist of physical rating systems throughout the park or prompts from the app as people go about their day. Real-time feedback allows you to resolve any issue while guests are still on the property. Acting quickly may allow you to prevent any negative reviews the guest may have been thinking about leaving.
You can also survey guests after they visit the park, inviting them to give a more detailed and complete recollection of their visit. Well-designed surveys will allow you to find guest pain points, discover the most memorable parts of your park and learn what you need to improve. Don’t underestimate the power of visitor feedback. If you’re having trouble getting enough people to take the survey, try offering incentives like a discount, entry in a raffle or free item.
8. Provide Ample Shade
Theme parks can be uncomfortable in the hot summer weather, and direct sunlight makes it much worse. The sun’s rays can burn skin in as little as 10 minutes when the UV index is high. To keep your guests safe and comfortable, you need to provide enough shade.
Where Do You Need Shade?
Shade is something you may overlook, but your guests will actively seek it out. Nobody likes bright sun beating down on them for a whole day. Guests will need some respite from the hot sun, so provide shaded areas.
- Ride queues: People will be standing in lines for much of the day, and you don’t want them getting sunburned and being miserable. At least part of every line should offer shade to keep people comfortable while waiting, which could increase the amount of time people are willing to wait in line for a ride.
- Benches: While you might not have the resources to add shade structures over every rest area, give people the option by scattering several shaded benches throughout the park. Some may want to sit in the sun for a minute, while others will want to get away from the heat and relax.
- Eating areas: Picnic tables and spaces near the food court need shade and cover in case there is rain or extreme weather.
- Entrances: People often wait near the entrance for the rest of their family or friends to arrive. Anywhere people tend to linger should be comfortable for your guests, including plenty of shade.
- Outdoor shows: If your park has a lot of outdoor shows or events where people are sitting for long periods, provide some shade. If these shows can double as a rest area, your guests will have more time and energy to enjoy other parts of the park.
Besides beautifying your park, trees are a natural source of shade, and can also help improve air quality. If you are fortunate enough to have plenty of large, mature trees on your property, consider planning around them instead of cutting them down. If your park doesn’t have a lot of shaded areas already, you will have to consider commercial shade structures.
Add Commercial Shade Structures
Commercial shade structures are an ideal solution for your theme park. They offer numerous benefits that improve your park and increase guest satisfaction.
- Sun protection: Shade structures are essential in reducing exposure to UV rays. Our most popular fabric provides 95% shade and 97% UV protection, so you can be sure your guests will be more comfortable and safe.
- Air circulation: Porous fabric shade structures, like the ones we offer, are among the best options for shade because air can circulate through them. Solid fabrics and other materials can trap heat and make the space even hotter.
- Weather resistance: Shade structures also provide a barrier against wind, dust and even rain. Our fabrics provide 60 to 70% water runoff, so they aren’t waterproof, but they still offer protection from severe weather.
- Attractive: Shade structures can come in various designs, shapes and colors. You can customize your shade solution to complement and enhance your park’s overall appearance.
- Space-saving: You can install them in virtually any space, making them easy additions to queues, entrances and more. There are even single-post shade structures that take up very little space and can provide plenty of shade.
Start Improving Your Guests’ Experience With USA SHADE
USA SHADE has been the proven leader in the fabric shade structure industry for over 25 years. We offer various shade structures that can fit any space and aesthetic. You can choose from standard modular structures, or we can make something custom for your project. We have the capabilities and technology to help you create the perfect space you’re dreaming of. Improve your park’s value and aesthetics while bolstering guest satisfaction and comfort.
Ready to use our industry-leading processes and expertise to get the shade solutions your theme park needs? Start improving your guests’ experience and contact an expert today. You can also easily request a quote online.