A Theme Park in Your Pocket: Consumers Trends in Mobile Technology Integration in Theme Parks

Thinkwell’s findings of their nationwide survey analyzing behavioral patterns as they relate to existing and potential mobile integration into the theme park experience is illustrated in the infographic below. This survey marks the launch of Thinkwell’s Guest Experience Trend Report, which provides market research insights to the themed entertainment industry. The annual report measures and distills consumer interests in varying topics related to guest experiences.

Thinkwell's 2013 Guest Experience Trend Report Infographic

The survey, conducted among more than one thousand theme park goers, found that 67 percent of the respondents are interested in seeing increased mobile integration at theme parks, because it would improve the overall guest experience.

Of those surveyed, 80 percent took a mobile device (a smartphone and/or tablet) on their last theme park visit. Among the respondents who took a mobile device, a full 72 percent spent “a few minutes on and off throughout the day” engaging with it. Fifteen percent revealed that they did not use their mobile device during their theme park visit, although they did take it with them.

“Mobile technology is ubiquitous and theme parks have to embrace this ‘distraction’,” says Craig Hanna, CCO, Thinkwell. “We are continually looking for ways to keep guests engaged in the ways that they want to be engaged, utilizing these devices to improve the guest experience or interact with visitors in new ways that enhance the parkwide milieu.”

The survey participants were asked to rank a series of mobile features and enhancements from most to least desirable. The most popular features were more customer service-oriented, helping visitors save time, including front-of-line access to rides, shows and attractions. The respondents also highly ranked having the ability to check queue wait times from anywhere in the park, using GPS to locate friends or family members and using a mobile device to plan an itinerary.

Predictably, as mobile devices have replaced traditional cameras, 78 percent of participants took photos with their smartphones and tablets. Forty-four percent shared their photos on social media. Reluctant to cut-off communication with the outside world, 43 percent talked to or texted someone, 43 percent checked their e-mail and 29 percent kept up on social media.

Qualifying participants were United States residents over the age of 18, who had visited a theme park in the past 2 years and owned a mobile device. Of the 1,034 respondents, 48 percent are male and 52 percent are female. Thirty percent are between the ages of 18-29; 32 percent between the ages of 30-44; 24 percent between the ages of 45-60; and 13 percent are 60 and above. The survey found very little correlation, if any, between age or location and current mobile behavior or interest in increased mobile integration.

Download a printable form of the survey infographic here.

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