New features include interactive park maps, one-touch purchasing, contextual messaging and games
SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE: SEAS) today announces new enhancements to its popular park mobile apps, available for iPhone and Android devices. The SeaWorld, Busch Gardens and Sesame Place Discovery Guide mobile apps offer new features for a more personalized and interactive experience during a park visit, and can be downloaded free from the Apple or Google Play app stores.
Each park’s Discovery Guide app will save guests time and increase their enjoyment as they navigate through the park using GPS-enabled interactive maps, access real-time updates of show schedules and events and receive broadcast park notifications. These combined features are unique to the theme park industry and address the desires of today’s connected customer.
“This announcement is part of our larger focus on guest innovation and the important role that mobile and social media plays in the travel planning process,” said Jim Atchison, President and Chief Executive Officer for SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. “We designed these apps based on consumer insights and mobile best practices to give our guests a premier user experience while still allowing us to invest our dollars efficiently.”
The multi-year focus on digital innovation includes the recent introduction of mobile ticketing and responsive Web design, among the first in the theme park industry. The investments go beyond new technology, but also extend to park operations for a guest experience that is more interactive and connected.
SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. worked with TE2 (The Experience Engine Inc.) as the platform provider to power the apps for a personalized digital in-park experience using feedback from park guests and users of previous versions of park apps. Insights from consumer trends and mobile technology leaders guided the development of new enhancements in three key areas: increased utility, easy purchasing and social gaming.
— Planning: Up-to-the-minute ride wait times and show times, ride-height filters, car finder function and insider park tips help make the most out of a visit. The interactive map provides a walking path showing clear starting and ending points with estimated walking time.
— Easy purchasing and upgrades: This summer, a mobile wallet will be added with one-touch purchasing. This allows guests to make spur-of-the-moment upgrades to skip lines with Quick Queue or add the All-Day Dining Deal. Later this year, new functionality will even allow guests to pre-order meals on the go for easy pick up at select locations.
— Push notifications: Starting next month, guests inside the park will be alerted automatically on their mobile device with offers and discounts only for app users, such as tours or culinary specials. In future releases, guests will receive contextual notifications, based on interests particular to each guest.
— Gaming: The 50th Celebration Scavenger Hunt follows a growing trend in gaming and is available at all three SeaWorld parks. Guests collect badges as they visit locations throughout the park to earn valuable in-park rewards. New games for additional parks will be added in 2014.
— Sharing: Fun photo frames used to showcase photos taken in the parks can be easily shared on social channels.
The new mobile apps offer a more personalized and interactive approach using technology that’s easy to access from a device guests already use every day.
“Guests are interacting with their smartphone throughout the day,” said Darla Morse, Chief Information Officer. “Our goal was to ‘put the park in your pocket,’ using a device they are already familiar with and comfortable using. These new apps are powered by the TE2 platform that scales across our 11 parks and is tied into our existing operational systems which ensures the guest will get a seamless experience.”
Mobile app users will be automatically notified to upgrade to the new Discovery Guide when more new features are launched throughout the year. For more information about the new Discovery Guide mobile apps, check out the video at SeaWorldParks.com /mobile.
The app has been deployed on TE2’s leading edge Experience-as-a-Service (XaaS) platform, which allows each park operations group to create and manage experiences at a local level to ensure the optimal experience for each park. The platform also provides the ability to test new services and roll out added functionality throughout the year.
“SeaWorld Entertainment truly took the point of view of their guests, investing in technology to improve guest engagement with their brand in a more personal way,” said Scott Sahadi, CEO of TE2. “Our company was founded to take the guest experience to new levels and we look forward to driving this new innovation with them.”