Nowadays summer vacations can be planned, booked and customized without ever picking up the phone or even logging into a laptop. Hundreds of apps exist solely to create the ideal vacation experience. Smartphones can be used to pay for things while on vacation, but with the advent of wearables, even that may someday seem cumbersome. Some theme parks and resorts are already looking to design a more seamless experience with radio frequency identification (RFID) in the form of a wearable, a technology that promises to streamline everything from reservations and tickets to keeping track of children. But, can hospitality businesses and event organizers increase adoption and comfort level of this technology? How can you make it a competitive differentiator to draw people to your resort or event?
Disney uses Magic Band technology: a wristband with RFID that stores park tickets, room access (goodbye room keys!), dining reservations, ride tickets, in-park photography and credit card information. The good-old-days of lugging around a camera, cash, credit cards, miscellaneous pieces of paper with reservations - even souvenirs - all over the park, are a distant memory. The wearable is integrated with a mobile app that allows access to park maps, wait times, reservations and fast passes. This leap forward in the theme park experience will soon be typical throughout vacation and event experiences everywhere.
Music festivals are already applying RFID technology. For example, the Chicago festival Lollapalooza mails guests wristbands for admittance. If activated online prior to the concert, credit cards can be linked. At Lollapalooza, festival-goers can simply scan their personal wristband to purchase food and drinks.
RFID also has important safety implications. Gone will be the days of missing children in a crowded theme park, zoo, sporting event or cruise ship; simply scan a wristband to access emergency contact information.
This technology is a great opportunity for brands to build loyalty and differentiate from competitors. The wearable’s user experience (UX) from set-up to use should be carefully designed and integrated into the vacation or event. If the following tips are considered, users will be more likely to setup, activate and interact with the technology throughout their stay and have a more consistent, engaging experience as the design intended:
The opportunities available for you to connect to your guests through wearables are limitless. At theme parks, vacation resorts, sporting events and music festivals, personalizing and streamlining the experience with integration between apps and wearables will soon be a convenient, commonplace occurrence. Designing the device, packaging and instructions with the audience in mind will ensure your users will embrace the technology and offer a differentiating edge.
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