Ever since Apple introduced iBeacon technology in the summer of 2013, there has been a lot of excitement over the opportunities of being able to reach out to customers long before they make their way to the retail store, restaurant, malls or event. And now that almost any device, running on Android 4.3+ or iOS 7.1+, that is compatible with Bluetooth Smart is capable of receiving and displaying information transmitted by beacons, these new proximity detection devices have captivated the imagination of officials at zoos, aquariums and theme parks too.
To get started in that direction, the first thing that the theme park or zoo needs the most, is a functional mobile app that allows visitors to take advantage of iBeacon technology. We’ve discussed seven steps every brand should take prior to launching their beacon strategy in our earlier blog post.
This new proximity-detection technology lets theme parks, aquariums and zoos offer their visitors a more seamless and personalized experience. Additionally, it also helps them enhance personal interactions by triggering location-specific content and alerts to the smartphones of their visitors.
If you are just beginning to learn about beacons in general, our Beacon 101 ebook is a good place to start out with. In this post, we will discuss in detail about how beacons can transform visitor experience at zoos, aquariums and theme parks, as a whole.
How Theme Parks, Zoos and Aquariums can put beacons to use:
1. Enhance multimedia experience
Most theme parks and zoos have voice guides to offer relevant content to visitors. However, most of these devices are quite expensive to maintain and often require staff at theme parks to manually check-in/checkout the devices, thus making it all the more difficult to frequently update content. This is where beacons come into the picture.
Integrating beacons into your mobile strategy, lets you offer your visitors with an enhanced multimedia experience that allows them to easily access details about a specific exhibit they are currently looking at, without having to fight through crowds. You could also direct them to a video on the origins of the animal and how it lives in the wild. In this case, beacons are particularly interesting as it allows them to trigger contextual content based on the location of the device.
For example, Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens, drawing 1.6 million visitors each year, recently deployed beacons to revolutionize the way visitors interact and learn about animals in their natural habitat. They leveraged their mobile app named ‘Rainforest of the Americas’ to unlock interactive content in a diverse range of formats, including detailed animal and habitat information, audio, and high-resolution images as the visitors move through the zoo. Moreover, the app also allows visitors to take the content home with them, thus creating a strong customer relationship with the Zoo that extends beyond their visit to the park.
When it comes to theme parks and zoos, visitors often feel overwhelmed and lost by the sheer number of rides, shows and exhibits. This is where beacons come into play. These new proximity-detection devices, are equipped to easily identify the direction in which your visitors are heading and tell them where exactly they are on the virtual map of the park or zoo. Moreover, by choosing the exhibit or ride, which they would like to see beacons can plan the route and direct them to their desired locations within the venue.
For example, you can allow users to monitor wait times at some of the most popular rides up-to-the-minute or trigger notifications when a show that they have favorited is about to commence. This is a great way to foster engagement while making sure that your visitors get the maximum out of a particular visit to the park. You could also use an interactive map to provide your visitors with a walking path that clearly shows both the starting and ending points along with estimated walking time.
Moreover, with access to real-time statistics, you can even use beacons to recognize hotspots and alerts security staff about locations that are overcrowded and more prone to security breaches.
For example, Fluwel’s Tulpenland (Tulip Land), a theme park that specializes in displaying Dutch tulips, recently adopted iBeacon technology to helps visitors navigate through the park by directing them to other interactive locations.
To learn more about different ways in which theme parks, zoos and aquariums can integrate beacons with their mobile strategy to offer their visitors enhanced features such as:
– Improved parking facilities
– Easy purchase and upgrades
– Digital Scavenger hunts
– Support for the differently-abled
– Locate family members with ease
and more read our post on ‘How Beacons can help Transform Visitor Experience at Zoos and Theme Parks‘. You will also find ideas on how to leverage beacons to gain insights on better ways to manage your staff.
If you are planning a beacon pilot, take a look at Beaconstac, that includes everything you need to get started. Using Beaconstac you can set up your own campaign, without a developer’s help!