It was only eleven years ago that Steve Jobs debuted the iPhone, but digital-natives have grown up in a world of smartphones, social media and the internet that has fundamentally changed expectations for the world they live in. As technology advances at lightning speed, consumers are demanding seamless digital experiences across all aspects of their lives. The reality is that technological developments are resetting customer expectations and forcing all businesses to respond with increasingly innovative digital solutions because consumers of all ages now live in a connected world with content instantly available at the click of a button.
Changing consumer expectations have, in particular, had a significant impact on theme parks and attractions where consumers are demanding more from their digital experiences, bigger and better thrills, and rides that reach the physical limits of possibility. As a result, theme parks and attractions are using innovative imaging technology to capture joyful moments and enhance the visitor experience in a non-intrusive way, encouraging organic sharing, loyalty and brand engagement. Smartphones and wearables are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to technologies that have the potential to be adopted by leisure businesses in the future.
The selfie-capture revolution
Biometric technology is at the forefront of leisure business innovation. Facial recognition enables content created at a theme park or attraction to be identified and organized, seamlessly presenting visitors with their own personalized digital album. If they opt-in to facial recognition for their visit, then advanced association technology can identify them at multiple content creation points throughout, with no physical touchpoints or additional staffing necessary.
Visitors to the world’s leading destinations can then select their image from an existing photo or selfie upload. Content-hungry consumers can be presented with the opportunity to immediately purchase images and videos, along with the option of sharing instantly on social media, or enjoying and sharing content post-visit.
Scalable, secure, cloud-based technology can automatically organize multiple images, which can then be accessed via an integrated interface, app or website. This type of service is compatible with a range of formats including video, photo and sound files, making it even more compelling for visitors to purchase content in-app.
Enhancing the consumer experience
In the future, leisure businesses will increasingly incorporate fully-integrated content capture opportunities within attractions, adding to visitors enjoyment from the moment they join lines to the time they leave the destination. The ambience, energy and excitement of an attraction will be reflected at every touch point, including when viewing and purchasing merchandise. This not only enhances the consumer experience, but offers additional revenue opportunities, capturing one-of-a-kind images consumers wish to save and share. This builds a more emotional, less transactional relationship between visitor and destination.
Currently, innovative digital platforms can facilitate a range of experiences across a destination, linking content created by ride capture, roaming photographers, green screens and more. This allows visitors to enjoy their leisure experience without the pressure of capturing special moments for themselves. This technology also enables any on-site staff at a destination to develop more personal, quality interactions with customers, enhancing engagement and the overall visitor journey.
Wearable technology is evolving significantly to improve consumer experience. In 2016, Accesso Technology’s R&D ploughed millions into wearables, developing its LoQueue Prism technology. This device allows theme parks to schedule ride bookings in advance and reduce lines. Benefits to visitors, including enabling quicker and easier payment, were quickly recognized by Disney, which invested $1 billion in its sensor and tracking accessory MagicBand. Today, just as VR creates immersive experiences, wearable devices facilitate connected ones. Picsolve’s research shows this to be true for 82 per cent of consumers.
Wearable technology remains in its infancy however, and circumstances arise where the consumer experience is not as seamless as hoped. This is where facial recognition can pick up the slack and provide a way to truly delight visitors with instant access to rich, personalized digital content perfect for showing off to whoever they want, wherever they may be.
In conclusion, facial recognition technology is set to revolutionize how global destinations create, collate, distribute and retail photo and video-graphic content. In the coming years, integration and the development of facial recognition and other digital tools will ensure leisure businesses can exceed expectations and improve experiences. We expect to see the wider industry incorporating this technology to forge stronger relationships with their customers. The future holds a truly connected experience for consumers, where immersive reality, AI, intelligent motion control and advances in smart devices will allow destinations to continually surprise and delight visitors. Perhaps the next major development will see drones capturing key moments without interrupting the overall experience.
Ultimately, as leisure businesses continue to invest in technology, consumers will expect to capture and share live experiences with the world even-more quickly. We must ensure this is always possible.