As an industry we often remember the big changes and improvements that parks make and shine the spotlight on them in order to show industry progress. But, the little things, creature comforts that extend length of stay and increase guest satisfaction, are just as critical, but often overlooked. During a visit to Silver Dollar City this year I noticed an amenity that was both well-themed and a great guest amenity- chargers. While technology has impacted our industry as a whole over the last decade, nothing has ushered in change quite like the cell phone. It does so much that it has (obviously) become a staple of life, but many places have been slow to adapt. While some airports have included charging stations in their upgrades, it is still common to see no outlets available or the hastily-installed “charging trees” with passengers hovering around them as their phones charge.
Silver Dollar City saw a need and responded to it in the best way possible. When they revamped an existing section of their park and re-themed it Fireman’s Landing, the park added charging stations around the area. But, they did not just toss together a bunch of power strips. The park and the Herschend Design Studio created a charging area that fit the area’s throwback firefighting theme. To do his, they purchased several antique fireman’s boxes and converted them into places for guests to charge.
Brad Thomas, the President of Silver Dollar City Attractions, told me that, “One of our core values we always remember as we plan and operate: adapt ‘to our guests’ changing expectations’. We realize that our guests use their mobile devices constantly through their Silver Dollar City day including countless photos and videos. The usage means our guests need to charge their mobile devices. With assistance from Herschend Family Entertainment’s Design Studio, our construction team built themed charging stations that fit the 1880’s look of Fireman’s Landing. The complimentary stations have become an instant hit with our guests.”
When it comes to meeting the needs of guests some parks offer the service, some offer the theming, but it takes a unique property like Silver Dollar City to fulfill a critical need for their guests while doing it in a way that fits their track record of offering immersive environments. Of course, another great thing about this installation is that it is free. The park realized that in today’s world their customers can be their best advocates and want to facilitate them charging their phone to share pictures and videos. Herschend’s motto is “Creating memories worth repeating.” It is great that the Herschend team understands that the only cost to this great word-of-mouth marketing is a slightly higher power bill.
Photos courtesy of Silver Dollar City.