March 11, 2002

Please take a number(ed beeper)
It often seems some of the best ideas are simple ones. Six Flags amusement parks recently announced they'd be offering visitors the option of paying $10 a day for a fancy pager that allows them to reserve a place in line for rides. When it's their time to ride it pages them.

"Instead of having to wait in long lines, park visitors can pay extra for the luxury of registering at a special kiosk for each ride. The devices will then notify them when they can return and get on the ride without having to wait"

"In Atlanta, guests "loved it" despite the fees, because the devices allowed them to eat meals, visit shops, watch entertainment shows and more without having to wait for hours at many rides...And the company likes them because if customers aren't in ride lines, they are often spending money in other parts of the park.

Popular restaurants that don't take reservations have been using pagers for quite some time to notify people waiting that their table is ready. Six Flags is just applying the same concept in a different business. Of course if customers aren't waiting in line like cattle, they can be shopping in a gift shop, getting a drink at the bar, or doing something else more enjoyable -- hopefully generating some revenue. It's the old concept of service order numbers used at so many grocery store deli counters over the years, but with more mobility.

I expect that businesses that regularly have long wait lines will eventually move to something similar. And in cases like Six Flags' where freeing customers from waiting in lines opens the opportunity for more revenue, I would expect that the paging service will ultimately be free.

No comments: