If you’re looking for ways to demonstrate your Attractions’ commitment to sustainability, re-evaluating the format of your park map is a great place to start. With tens of thousands of maps printed per venue annually (plus one-off print runs to cater to seasonal events), paper maps aren’t exactly glowing evidence of our sectors’ environmental credentials.
Digital maps offer a great alternative. Accessed from a web browser or mobile app, digital maps eliminate printing, saving you £££ and the environment plenty more than that – plus they never end up in the bin!
Looking at recent data, we know that 65% of people trust a business less when its digital offerings aren't up to scratch. Maps are no exception. When a digital park map is inaccurate, doesn’t adapt to guest needs or fails to show the kind of information guests expect, it can quickly ruin an otherwise excellent experience.
To effectively banish the paper for good, your digital map can’t leave guests hankering after a physical copy. In other words, whacking a JPEG of your printed map on a webpage won't cut it for today’s tech-savvy guests. You’ve got to level up your wayfinding and introduce a solution that makes their lives (and yours) easier.
To guarantee you choose a digital mapping solution that ticks all the boxes, we’ve compiled the five essential questions you need to ask suppliers when evaluating a digital park map for your attraction.
Thanks to mobile mapping applications like Google Maps and Apple Maps, the vast majority of people have some experience using digital maps. And according to user experience research, most people use digital maps for much more than just getting from point A to point B. In fact, over 60% of people's time on them is exploratory.
This means, as well as navigation; people use digital maps to figure out what there is to see in a particular area. They want the maps they use to give them up-to-date information on the places they might like to go to, like opening times, wait times, etc.
Digital park apps need to meet this same desire. More than that, they need to be easy to use. For guests trying to figure out where to go next, nothing is more frustrating than a digital park map that stacks multiple points of interest on top of each other. Not only is this confusing, but because they can’t easily click on a specific point of interest, it also stops visitors from learning more about it.
The best digital maps should feature interactive, content-rich points of interest that guests can zoom in and out of to see where attractions and facilities are in your park, why they need to visit them, and what they need to know before they do so.
Attractions that want to impress their guests should also look for a mapping solution that allows them to send real-time updates to guests’ maps. That way, attractions can keep guests in the loop of everything happening on-site. For example, when a ride is under maintenance, the best map tech lets you hide it instantly to avoid guests’ heading that way.
Almost 1 in 7 people live with a disability, and everyone can find themselves experiencing temporary impairment. Situations like having young children who need a stroller or suffering from an injury can completely change how a person experiences your attraction.
To help guests with accessibility needs, digital maps should allow them to highlight accessible route options and facilities. Denoting what rides or experiences are wheelchair or stroller friendly can vastly improve the guest experience for wheelchair users and their companions. On the other hand, features like audio read-outs and clearly legible text allow guests with cognitive impairments to make the most of their visit.
As part of an accessible attraction offering, guest-focused digital park maps can help foster an inclusive culture.
Inaccurate guest maps can end up placing guests several metres from their actual location. Especially in parks with lots of different attractions, consistently poor map accuracy can ruin the guest experience.
To solve this problem, park maps need to show guests exactly where they are within an attraction. Because not all guests might have WiFi on their phones, park maps must use GPS navigation features on guest devices and work when internet connectivity is not available.
Accuracy is not just about location. It also has a lot to do with navigation. When guests use a digital map to find their way around a park, they expect to be directed to where they want to be. Not an arbitrary point close to their destination.
This means that someone who uses a map to find out how to get to a rollercoaster needs to be directed to the ride's entry point and not to the rollercoaster itself.
To do this, park maps need to plot each attraction’s exact entrance and provide real-time directions and estimated walking times to ensure guests are not late to rides, shows, or exhibits they want to visit.
Research into how people use non-digital maps shows that our brains are programmed to navigate through a process known as spatial navigation. As we look at a map, we compare what we see on it to the real-world landmarks near us. To do this, we move maps to match our surroundings, building a complex mental picture of where we are and what's nearby.
The same holds true for digital maps. Guests want to be able to turn a map around, zoom in and out and explore boundaries. For many guests, this kind of interactivity is essential for orienting themselves.
Being able to rotate and interact with a digital map helps this process go smoothly and is an essential feature of a successful park map.
As with any guest-facing technology, ensuring your digital park map helps guests make the most of their experience should always be your number one priority – but that doesn’t mean your maps can’t help out a little too.
If your digital map forms part of your connected guest experience platform, you’ll be able to access heatmaps that track how guests move around your attraction. By comparing footfall across multiple days or seasons, you can identify the most popular routes on-site and make data-driven operational enhancements to take advantage of visitor hotspots. This might mean placing advertisements in strategic on-site locations or even choosing the best spot for a new ride based. Conversely, heatmaps can also pinpoint low footfall areas which might be in need of rejuvenation.
“We want to move away from printed maps and towards a digital experience. It’s better for the environment, better for our guests – as it allows for a seamless experience – and better for us because we can use behavioural data from the app to improve our decision making.” – Katie Stoner, Marketing Manager at ROARR! Dinosaur Adventure
We believe that digital navigation is one of the most potent assets an attraction can have.
Humans have made and used maps for thousands of years. Truly great maps have even transformed our world. When it comes to a guests experience of your attraction, a great digital park map can be a transformative experience too.
That’s why at Attractions.io, we continually build on customer feedback and the latest research to ensure we offer our customers world-class wayfinding solutions, both within our guest experience platform and as a standalone capability.
To find out more and see our digital maps in action, visit us at the IAAPA Europe Expo in London on September 13th-15th.