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SeaWorld taps on-demand purchasing power via mobile wallet

SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. has enhanced its Discovery Guide app, with plans to incorporate a mobile wallet and empower guests with on-demand, one-touch purchasing.

This summer, the anticipated mobile wallet will allow park guests to instantaneously purchase upgrades to pass long lines with Quick Queue, or buy the All-Day Dining Deal without having to reroute. During visits to SeaWorld, Busch Gardens and Sesame Place, guests who download the enhanced mobile app will be met with a more personalized and interactive experience leveraged by multiple digital technologies.

“Our goal and focus on technology is to ensure we are personalizing everything for our guests. The app essentially eliminates the need for a park guide, and puts everything we have to offer literally in the palm of your hands,” said Darla Morse, chief information officer for SeaWorld parks and entertainment, Orlando.

“Instead of focusing on one thing guests can see what’s offered without feeling overwhelmed,” she said.

“They can be directed to shows, attractions and food, and will be routed to their desired destination by the interactive map feature which tells them their proximity and estimated travel time. This is a unique opportunity to experience the park in a stress free way.”

Putting the park in your pocket
The new mobile apps offer a more personalized and interactive approach using technology that is easy to access from a device guests already use every day.

As part of a greater focus on guest innovation, and a response to the critical role mobile and social play in tourism, SeaWorld designed an all-in-one mobile information and activity center, which navigates guests through the parks using GPS-enabled interactive maps, real-time updates and broadcasts of show times and ride waits, and a new mobile wallet.

SeaWorld’s multi-year focus on digital innovation includes the recent introduction of mobile ticketing and responsive Web design, making it among the first in the theme park industry to adequately leverage these functionalities.

Working with The Experience Engine Inc. as the platform provider, the apps a more personalized digital in-park experience using feedback from park guests and users of previous versions of park apps.

Insights from consumer trends and mobile technology leaders guided the development of new enhancements in three key areas: increased utility, easy purchasing and social gaming.

Beginning next month, visitors who download the app will be sent push notifications on their handheld devices, containing exclusive app specific offers, discounts and culinary specials, which future plans to develop tailored contextual notifications based on historical interests profiled to each guest.

Maintaining engagement in-park
Guests can more deeply engage with SeaWorld parks, its products and its conservation efforts through a digital scavenger hunt game, which will be available in-app later this year.

The 50th Celebration Scavenger Hunt follows a growing trend in gaming and will let guests collect badges as they visit locations throughout the park to earn valuable in-park rewards.

Furthermore, fun photo frames can be used to showcase photos taken in the parks and can be easily shared on social channels.

The aforementioned bundled features will allow the venue to create a rich contextually aware experience with the aim of enhancing overall visitor satisfaction through relevant and personalized features.

The ultimate bandit of poor guest experience is a combination of long lines waits and inadequate guidance to attractions. Mobile technology can not only help alleviate these hindrances, but improve the park experience.

The smartphone is now a personal tour guide, wallet and coupon book.

Although SeaWorld parks will not using beacon technology in the immediate future, it does understand the value BLE presents in conjunction with streamlined apps.

“Presently we do not have plans to incorporate beacons, but what we will do is test new functionalities every six to seven weeks to understand how we can use and leverage new technologies together,” Ms. Morse said.

“From the mobile perspective we are leveraging things we have already had, and adding to them.”

“Mobile is a major thing for every guest and a critical medium by which to communicate stay in touch with them by creating interactivity,” she said.

Final Take:
Michelle is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York