Saudi Arabia has a unique opportunity to create the most advanced water parks in the world. – Jeremy Gray, VP of Business Development at WhiteWater
Riyadh: Not wanting to be left out in the era of digitization when intelligent automation rules the roost, the water parks sector has been exploring new technologies to improve its operations.
Organizations all over the world are looking to create touchless experiences to streamline operations to reduce costs and pain points, which makes countries like Saudi Arabia double the size of its economy to $1.6 trillion, adding an additional $293 billion by 2030, according to a new study by Automation Anywhere.
WhiteWater, the world’s largest supplier of water parks and services, has expanded beyond the world of attractions with a software arm called Vantage, which was awarded the 2022 International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) Impact Award for its ability to simplify the entrance process for guests and operators. Vantage enables guests to obtain their water park passes from the comfort of their homes, eliminating long entrance lines at the turnstile.
Jeremy Gray, VP of Business Development at WhiteWater, said: “The implementation of technology in the entertainment space not only helps create a safer experience for guests but gives park operators more insight into the overall guest experience, enabling them to leverage that to make more money.”
He added: “Knowledge is power. With technology comes access to data points that can provide suggestions on how best guests can enjoy the park by helping to improve services and their overall experience. At times, it could be just about putting an additional ice cream cart during a month of higher demand or deploying more staff to an area that is overloaded and lagging in its orders during the lunch rush.”
Miral, a UAE-based creator of immersive destinations and experiences, began to integrate the facial recognition technology on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi with FacePass, enabling guests to access the park and process transactions through digital identification. This has not only saved time, but has also enhanced guests’ safety and well-being, thanks to the touchless interaction.
Digital Transformation is a key pillar of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 and will continue to be an area of growth within the country. According to the International Trade Administration, the Saudi information and communications technology (ICT) market is valued at over $32.1 billion and is the largest in the Middle East and North Africa region. With access to international connectivity through the Red Sea and the Gulf, and with the potential to serve the European, Asian, and African markets, the country is well positioned for rapid economic growth.
A recent YouGov survey showed that for 96 percent of businesses in Saudi Arabia, customer experience is a top priority. This is because a great customer experience breeds loyalty and boosts happiness. Technology can assist this by creating an added layer of personalization to pleasantly surprise and wow visitors. At WhiteWater water parks, for example, by using Vantage’s technology, guests are able to play their favorite songs while enjoying their preferred rides at the venue.
It can also be implemented to help prevent more than one guest from being at an attraction at the same time with its “tap in” feature, which is used to get the stoplight to change color and get the go-ahead to ride.
Jeremy added: “Saudi Arabia has a unique opportunity to create the most advanced water parks in the world. Because the country is working to build these projects from scratch, there is an opportunity to build technology from the very beginning to make the water parks easier and safer to run.”
As the Miral example illustrated, ticketing is only a small part of the picture. Versatile technologies have triggered a deluge of creative and operational advancements in water parks, offering operators and designers new options for improving guest experiences as well as safety. With Vantage, parents can use the technology to their benefit and work to put parameters on which rides their children can use, ultimately limiting access to scary rides that might not be appropriate for young children.