In the midst of the COVID pandemic, thousands of attractions around the world shifted their emphasis to technology-based mobile solutions for admissions and timed reservations, meal ordering, cashless transactions, and virtual queuing. This widespread implementation has shortened the amount of time it takes for the public to accept and anticipate digital solutions to what in the past have been human-based solutions.
Technology also plays a role in pandemic-era hygiene. In Long Beach, Aquarium of the Pacific’s touchscreens were recently transformed to interactive touchless screens that recognize hand movement. At Disney California Adventure, guests can web-sling on an interactive dark ride with Spider-Man. The hand gestures used in the ride’s gameplay also play another key factor: for a ride opened in the midst of a pandemic, there’s no trigger for guest after guest to squeeze.
COVID accelerated deployment, but, in many places, the tech had already been implemented. When I booked a trip to Las Vegas – I did it all on my phone in a single app. I reserved the room, bought show tickets, and made dinner reservations all through the app. When we arrive in Vegas, we’ll check in to our hotel with the app. The app will also act as our room key, and it will bring up QR codes to let us into the shows.
The resort is one of eleven in Vegas that use the same app. As we go through those properties, dine, shop, and visit their attractions, the app will allow us to charge expenses to our room. On the backend, it will also track our spending – an important application for any operator – and algorithms will make suggestions and provide discounts based on our experiences in real time.
Technology, though, is still just a tool. Creatives and dreamers continue to do what they always have – use it to take guests in new and unexpected directions. Where will they take it next?