How to know if your access control processes are providing your guests with the best possible experience.

If you operate a seasonal amusement or waterpark, you’re no doubt preparing for the upcoming season, testing attractions and reviewing processes to be sure you start the season with a splash. With a new season coming, though, it’s a good idea for all types of entertainment facilities to take time to review what’s working and what needs work.

One process that can make or break your guest experience is the check-in process. Your check-in should be an efficient, friendly experience for guests and easy for your staff to manage. Whether you use dedicated access control at admissions or at each attraction, access control is a critical piece of any family entertainment venue’s guest experience puzzle. Here are four types of access control available for your park or attractions and how to decide the one that’s right for your facility.

No. 1: RFID (Radio Frequency Identification)  

RFID technology can be used in conjunction with lower-cost, single-use wristbands or magstripe cards and with more durable media for guests to keep and bring back throughout a season or duration of a membership. This is especially attractive in waterparks because guests can load money or link credit card access using tokenization. This allows them to enjoy all the pools and other wet attractions, purchase merchandise or pay for food and beverages without needing to carry around cards or cash. RFID chips are common in wristbands and cards, but can be used with many other media types, allowing you to use items like silicone bracelets, keyfobs, etc., for guests to use to identify themselves in your park.

No. 2: Color and/or Barcoded Wristbands

Single-use wristbands provide a great low-cost option to grant your guests access to your park for daily admission or entrance to unique class offerings. Many trampoline parks use this option for their timed capacity tickets. Admission to scheduled sessions such as classes or shows can be set to print on separate printers with different colored wristbands so your staff members have a visual cue that alerts them as to when guests’ allotted time at the attraction is about to begin, or has ended.

These bands can also be barcoded, which allows them to be scanned at a turnstile, point of sale (POS) station or handheld scanner. Entrance to other attractions and monetary value can be associated with the wristbands, however if you would like to offer a media that is more ‘reusable,’ then you may want to consider magstripe cards or more durable, multi-use wristbands instead.

No. 3: Player/Membership Cards

If your amusement facility sells gift cards, memberships or multi-use or season passes, cards continue to be a good solution for access control. Cards can easily be loaded with monetary value, privileges to attractions and gameplay points, which make them a media that guests can save and reuse.

Pass sessions or season length can be set when the cards are purchased and generated, and cards can be printed with guest pictures to reduce misuse of passes. For entrance to attractions or when using games, these cards can be scanned (with an associated device or turnstile) or swiped at a cashless debit card system at the time of use. While slightly more expensive than single-use wristbands, cards can be purchased by facility owners in bulk and often have discounts based on volume.

In addition to access control, like when employing RFID technology, these cashless cards enable you to monitor how guests are engaging with your facility, what activities they are interacting with and per capita spending. Revenue allocation can be realized when cards are purchased or when used. This helps you with staffing at peak times and with analyzing attraction use or spending patterns.

No. 4: New Guest-Facing Access Control

When thinking of your throughput, every second counts. To speed up the check-in process, consider using any of the previous media types with guest-facing technology. Scanners at admissions or turnstiles can make checking in members or season pass holders a breeze. Members or season pass holders approach the desk or turnstile and scan their own wristband or card and an attendant confirms the user’s identity by checking it against the profile picture on file. This not only gives you more security at check-in, but also offers the team member another way to engage with your pass holder, by welcoming the guest by name back to your park. And just like with any other media, guests are still able to use their wristband or card to pay for items anywhere in your facility.

Whichever access control solution you prefer, it makes sense from time to time to assess how it is working for you, your current throughput and your future needs.

To learn more about the newest options for your facility, contact us and we’ll help you figure it out!

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