Connectivity. It is a buzzword so overused that it now is probably as useless on some levels as corporate terms like synergy. The flip side of that is because it is no longer a novelty that we live in a connected manner, it is an expectation. A staple of good airports is now considered to be wife access and power plugs, the ones where you have to sit on filthy carpet propping up a loose cord as it falls out of a wall outlet are just considered embarrassing.
So, when I hear about amusement parks stepping up their game and recognizing that the level of expectations have changed I get excited. One of the best tech applications I have seen in 2016 is Cedar Point’s addition of Wi-Fi on the property and a great app for the park. I recently spoke with Tony Clark, the Director of Communications at Cedar Point. He told me that from their perspective things have definitely changed and while there was no specific tipping point, the Cedar Fair team recognized that there has been a shift in the way people enjoy their park. “As we’d walk through the park and see our guests on their mobile devices, it really told us something. Everywhere we looked, guests were taking selfies, posting on social media, playing games or using our mobile app in the park. I think this has been an ongoing evaluation process over the past few years, but we felt now was the time to jump on it. And with the new technology comes opportunity – how do we use it to not only make the guest experience better, but to also grow the business,” he noted.
So now guests not only visit the Point, they use their phone as a way to enhance the business. Obviously sharing coaster pics and videos across social media platforms is essentially free advertising for Cedar Point. The park added 200 access points over 364 acres so the goal is that everyone on property can easily get online. Overall the addition was a process that took around two months. In 2015 the chain used Kings Island in Cincinnati as the “test park” for both the Wi-Fi and the app, which Cedar Point rolled out this year. Tony said that the app release coincided with the premier of Valravn, the company’s new-for-2016 B&M dive coaster. “It include new features like ride wait times, embedded Season Pass ability so you can simply use your phone at our entrances, in-app purchases, the new FunPix photo program and more,” he told me.
Like sporting events and other activities that require a full-day commitment for families, amusement parks need to continue to create ways to enhance guests’ stay while on property. The process that Cedar Fair has taken at Cedar Point and other properties is certainly a huge step in the right direction. Be sure to check out the park’s app and wifi next time you visit and use them to get into line on two thrilling Ride Entertainment attractions- the Skycoaster® and Slingshot.