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The trends shaping attractions in 2022

by Keith Dunphy

While attractions were hard hit during the pandemic and projections estimate another $1.9 billion decline in 2022 – nearly 70% of consumers say they can’t wait to get back into their favorite theme park. But with their excitement comes new expectations and new demands, promising another rollercoaster of a year. 

With attractions looking to appeal to safety conscious visitors and capacity limits driving up ticket prices, consumers are looking to get greater value from every visit. But what does this look like, and how can your venue stay ahead of demand? In this blog, Keith Dunphy, CRO & US GM shares three tips to help you drive footfall, spending, and loyalty in 2022.

Trend 1: Upgrade the food ordering experience

Waiting in line for refreshments is so 2019. It’s not only an inconvenience: it could result in revenue loss, with 1 in 2 of US attractions admitting they would order more if they could skip the line. So how can attractions tap into this revenue potential? Simple: with contactless technology. Contactless has been a game-changer for attractions since the start of the pandemic, allowing guests to enter venues through smart ticketing, access VIP areas, and shop for souvenirs.

The switch has accelerated demand for contactless in F&B too. At forward-thinking theme parks, guests can use apps to link their payment of choice, view virtual venues, reserve tables, order food ahead of time (or as they’re seated), and pay quickly all through their smartphones. With revenue via mobile apps expected to reach $935 billion by 2023, all attractions need to get a jumpstart on developing their own app to reap in the rewards.

Trend 2: Manage capacity with real-time data

According to our research, nearly 74% of attraction goers are still wary of visiting busy places and don’t feel safe returning to venues due to large crowds. But, with visitors carrying their smartphones everywhere with them, there’s an opportunity for attractions to provide GPS-backed navigation to keep guests safe and comfortable. Venues like Disney World, for instance, are allowing guests to navigate around crowds with their Genie App, which offers faster convenience and shorter waits.

By implementing a similar capacity management solution, you can enable guests to plan their F&B experiences based on line size, avoid busier areas with a hotspot map, and get real-time updates with personalized recommendations. Using data strategically will go a long way in giving guests the safety they need and the experience they want.

By using real-time data to manage capacity, you give visitors peace of mind while increasing spending potential by directing guests to where they’ll have the most fun. In this post-COVID world, winning over your customer’s loyalty is key to recovery in 2022. Yet, the pandemic has changed the rules of engagement.

Trend 3: Create more memorable experiences through augmented reality

Like for many other sectors, augmented reality (AR) is set to become the attractions industry’s latest craze. While not a new concept – virtual reality broke onto the scene in 2015, but failed to take off due to motion sickness complaints – AR is set to take over. Now, consumers want immersive experiences that remove them from reality. Although there are several applications for the technology,the three most common are smartphones, transparent headsets, and large screens that amplify rides and park experiences through digital content.

With the latter enabling guests to experience dinosaur interactions, like in Universal’s Jurassic Park, or to race alongside Super Mario in Japan. While this all sounds like fun for guests, what do attractions get out of it? First off, AR is clearly a good investment for parks, with the sector projected to grow from $43 billion to $333 billion in 2025. Strong return on investment (ROI). Although a new technology, AR is relatively inexpensive to maintain, and can easily breathe new life into old rides and experiences. Plus, 83.1 million US consumers engaged with AR on a monthly basis, and usership is expected to grow another 17% this year. Now is the time to move quickly to meet demand and capitalize on this growing trend.

Ride into the future

2022 will be a pivotal year for attractions, making it all the more important to stay ahead of emerging trends, and that means creating fully immersive experiences that keep your guests loyal.It’s a difficult path, but you don’t have to go it alone.

Get in touch with Omnico to find out how we can help you connect your customer journey; from ticketing to mobile apps, to enhancing the guest experience.

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