Have you ever gotten lost at an amusement park wandering around trying to find those funnel cakes whose smell has been driving you crazy? Maybe you've wanted to know how fast that roller coaster goes before you decide if you want to get on it or wished there were a way to see the menu while waiting in line outside a park restaurant. All these things and more may soon be available at a venue near you. New beacon technology is changing the way we experience our favorite recreational places.
Put down that guide, it's time to go interactive! Beacons will tell you where you are, where to find fun attractions and all kinds of other useful information by sending content directly to your phone when you are near.
Here are some of the ways beacons are creating fun, interactive experiences for visitors-
Today's theme parks and zoos can be pretty big and are easy to get lost in. Map signs are helpful but they can't be everywhere and aren't much good once you walk away from them. Beacons create a solution by transmitting a map notification to nearby mobile users. With map in hand, navigation is easy and visitors can find their favorite attractions faster. A notification as visitors enter new sections of the park or zoo with a 'You Are Here' icon keeps them informed and on track. Linking notifications to pages about nearby attractions helps visitors get the most out of their visit and minimizes missed opportunities.
2. Enhanced Multimedia Experience
Kiosks and interactive displays are a popular means of communicating information about animal enclosures and rides but they can be expensive to maintain and upgrade. Kiosks and displays also make people wait in line for interaction. Beacons are a much cheaper alternative which provide a more personalized experience. Beacons send information out to whole crowds at once. Information about Trudy the Gorilla or the Sky Screamer roller coaster is easily accessed from notifications received when visitors near the areas. Visitors have the information right there in their hands and may bookmark the page or share the info with their friends. In this way beacons have a lasting effect which kiosks can't deliver. Visitors walk away from kiosks but with beacons, visitors often carry the information with them when they leave.
Many theme parks, aquariums and zoos hold special events for their patrons such as concerts or holiday festivities. Beacons not only link visitors to event schedules, they can be updated in real time during events to keep attendees up to date throughout.
A good example of this beacon creativity can be found at the Little Rock Zoo's annual Boo at the Zoo event leading up to Halloween. Beacons connect attendees to zoo maps, trick-or-treat locations, activities, attractions and rides, concert and costume contest schedules and even an interactive light show using beacons to control the lighted trees of the enchanted forest with their phones.
4. Generating Revenue and Non-Profit Donations
Sports arenas and stadiums have realized the potential of beacons and put them to use with great success. In a recent report by MediaPost, some teams have seen as much as a 40% ROI using beacons with an astounding 233% increase in Fast Break Pass sales. Beacon notifications linking to event schedules prompt captive audiences to purchase tickets to the next event during their visit.
Theme parks, aquariums and zoos are tapping into the technology as well to drive ticket sales for attractions on site. Notifications linking to park information and games keep visitors engaged while waiting in lines at attractions and provide a convenient way to purchase tickets.
At zoos and wildlife refuges, animal care is the single most costly expense. Often there is no funding for the animals except for revenue generated in house and from donations. Beacons at animal enclosures direct visitors to sponsorship pages where they can make donations to support their favorite animals. Sponsorship programs and donations help offset the costs of feeding, medical care and habitat maintenance.
Ever since beacons were introduced in 2013, there has been a flurry of activity as new ways are found to leverage the technology in different industries. Retail giants quickly saw the advantage of location-based content and have reaped the benefits with up to 24% increases in sales at brick and mortar locations where beacons are deployed. Other industries quickly followed suite. Although they are now the low hanging fruit for retail, their primary function is to transmit location-specific content. This makes them very useful for attractions like parks, zoos and aquariums.
One of the most beautiful botanical gardens in the world, Garvan Woodland Gardens, will soon be deploying beacons throughout the property to provide information for visitors. Garvan has 210 acres of meticulously manicured landscape and is home to the world famous Anthony Chapel. With so much ground to cover and so many magnificent gardens and architectural structures, beacons will educate and inform visitors about the wonderful things they see there.
Beacons have proven to be very versatile and their applications are still being discovered...