Parks Joanna

This is how Rebel and Bird maximizes Sweden’s amusement parks

Skriven av Matilda Johansson

Parks and Resorts want to extend the customer experience in their theme parks through digital solutions. The enhanced and simplified digital solutions will give three million visitors more time to experience the parks and the hotels.

Rebel and Bird’s work with some of Sweden’s largest amusement parks — Kolmården, Gröna Lund, Skara Sommarland, Furuvik, and many more — is in full swing. We interviewed the Parks and Resort's digital manager Johanna Kjellser, about the project.

Did you miss Rebel and Bird's and Parks and Resort’s joint presentation at Webbdagarna Stockholm 2019? Here you can see the entire presentation.

Why do Parks and Resorts do this big project now? 

- All parks have previously had their different websites with links to the same business system. It has been challenging to understand, costly and ineffective. In the end, we had to ask ourselves the question, should we continue to update these systems? Or should we start over from scratch and build something new, customized for our business? It was time to come together and start over. Now we want to create a common platform for all amusement parks, where they can benefit from each other’s features as we develop. If we find a suitable solution for something, it goes without saying that all parks should be able to use it.

What are the challenges for you? 

- For Parks and Resorts, the experience and solutions in the amusement parks must work for everyone. Some things that you thought could be the right solution turned out to have other challenges when you start testing the idea in reality.

For example, we have tested if we can digitize the queues in the parks. Among other things, we discovered that people are willing to queue much longer digitally than in a regular standing queue since they can do so much else in the meantime. But one challenge when visitors queue digitally is that the crowds move around more in the parks — which then can feel to be more crowded. Another problem is when visitors arrive a few hours before closing. Then there may not be as many rides left. If all digital queues are filled, then guests may not get the chance to do what they want.

What lessons have you learned so far? 

- 85% of our visitors to Kolmården’s website are mobile users. It means that we should not make ‘a website customized for mobile,’ but a ‘website for mobile.’ All other devices are secondary in this case. If you do not know how the visitors use the websites, you do not understand how the material will fit in best.

We have been too careful to say what our best products are, especially on Kolmården’s website. We have many animals to visit and shows to see every day. In the past, we have chosen to show them as equals. But we have realized that we need to focus on a few parts and lift them properly. Our most satisfied customers are those who have seen our shows; they have had a ‘wow experience.’ We have learned that we need to help our visitors by highlighting what activities we recommend.

Another thing is that we have always written our content for the target group ‘families with children.’ But that target group doesn’t exist. There is a target group of children (who want to read about and meet the animals and see what attractions they can experience). Then there are the target group of parents (who want to know practical things, such as price, accommodation, and opening hours.) We have to talk differently to these target groups to convince them to spend their precious time with us.

Do you have any tips for others who will do a similar project? 

- Yes, now that we have come a little way, it is easier to look back and know what we are could have done a bit better. Before we started the project with Rebel & Bird, we, as an organization, should have taken more time to do some research of our own on what we wanted to do. Find out more facts, have some ideas about design and flows. Mostly for our own sake, so we know what it is that we want to achieve. We didn’t have that much data to look back on, in any case. We are going to have that for future improvements.

What is your next step? 

- We plan to launch all of the parks’ websites in small, brutally tight versions, with only the highest priority features. Then we learn with the help of the data that comes in and continues to develop the websites with more features. Next in line to launch is Kolmården’s website.

What are the digital solutions of the future for amusement parks in your dreams? 

- A visit to our parks is about entertainment and experiences. Visitors should not have to queue for tedious administration in our parks. Everything from buying food and tickets to queues for attractions — all of this we can simplify in our digital systems. I want us to be able to influence foot traffic in the parks. We can do this by streamlining the experience and sending offers to visitors in our parks that make them move to different areas. I also want you to avoid having to carry your wallet when you are at Skara Summerland. So that you can run around in the park with only a swimsuit on and still be able to buy an ice cream smoothly!