Theme parks likely to keep mobile tech put to the test by the pandemic
Share Now on:
Many U.S. theme parks, including Disney, Universal Studios and SeaWorld are once again open to eager patrons.
During the pandemic, operators made changes to follow public health rules, including the usual: plastic barriers, reduced capacity, social distancing. But theme parks also saw the use of more touchless technology, mobile transactions or advanced ride sign-ups.
That’s something that University of Central Florida hospitality professor Carissa Baker noticed on her research trips to 16 theme parks since they’ve re-opened. “You have to take out your cell phone and you have to click really, really fast and hope you can get a boarding group for that day,” Baker said.
Not all visitors are used to the new systems, according to Baker. “It has been a little jarring to some people to realize, ‘Oh, I’m now interacting with my cell phone to do things that maybe in the past, I interacted with a live person,'” she said.
Face-to-face service isn’t completely gone, however, especially for smaller parks that didn’t have the tech infrastructure before the pandemic.
“If they weren’t already at some level of adoption, it would have been difficult for theme parks to make the investment,” theme park consultant John Gerner said.
Parks were attracting record numbers of visitors just before the pandemic, Gerner said, and they likely won’t get back there until 2023.
We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.
Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.
In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.
Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.