Summer is the season for trips - whether it’s a holiday abroad or a day out to a local museum, theater or sports ground.
Digital solutions, including digital signage offer entertainment centers and travel hubs a crucial way to better communicate with the public – from wayfinding to queue management, event promotion and creating a way for businesses to generate incremental additional revenue. In addition, when combined with analytic technology, digital solutions also give brands key insights that can be used to optimize their offering, deepening visitor interactions to create a better experience for visitors and strengthen business operations.
Scala has provided digital screens and software to a variety of leisure and entertainment centers such as sports stadiums, museums, cinemasand theme parks as well as travel hubs including train stations and airports. Using Scala software and hardware solutions across their premises, businesses have been able to introduce key efficiencies to offset the threats of labor and supply shortages as well as offering a more welcoming experience for guests. Digital solutions can be used across a variety of premises. A few applications are explored below.
Bright exterior digital signage can attract attention and inform passersby of the offering inside a premises such as special events, menu items, upcoming exhibitions and showing times.
Digital signage placed on the exterior of an entertainment space has an important role to play in promoting the venue and its upcoming events. Large high brightness screens provide an advertising channel for venues to showcase their own exhibitions, concerts or sports games while smaller format external screens can be used as additional points of promotion. Smaller screens can also be used as a way for visitors to find out more about an upcoming event, share the information with friends or book tickets.
In addition to promoting events taking place at the location itself, these larger exterior screens can also serve as a way to reinforce brand values of a space, displaying messages of celebration or sympathies in accordance to current events or sharing select social posts. The digital screens also present a DOOH opportunity for other brands providing a revenue opportunity for the venue such as in Taipei Arena.
Digital signage and connected solutions offer a crucial role once guests enter an entertainment center or travel hub. Visitors can learn more about what is happening within a venue and, as with the stylish Scala-powered digital ticketing video wall in the prestigious Victoria and Albert (V&A) Museum in London, also book, pay for and print tickets.
Ticket purchases can alo be made on more traditionally configured touchscreen tablets in the venue, relieving staff for other duties. Through digital, service can be delivered in a variety of languages – a key offering in international tourist attractions. Promotional content can also be triggered automatically depending on variables such as weather or queue times. When thunderstorms are on the horizon, plastic ponchos and indoor attractions could be featured more prominently on ticket kiosks as suggested add-ons to a purchase while, on hot days, drinks and reservations in the on-site cafe(s) could be shown. These ticketing screens can also inform guests of average wait times across a space such as theme park or museum as well as any broken attractions or unavailable facilities in an effort to minimize guest frustrations. When not being used for ticket purchases, these ticketing screens can be used to showcase upcoming events or for partner promotions to generate an incremental income.
As courier company FedEx once declared “Waiting is frustrating, demoralizing, agonizing, aggravating, annoying, time consuming and incredibly expensive.”
With digital solutions, queuing systems can be effectively managed with wait times clearly communicated to guests. Wait times for theme park rides or tours can be shown at the entrance to the ride, on central larger-format wayfinding signage or on a guest’s personal device. A queue management CMS can show those waiting in a lobby area, restaurant or departure gate the order in which they will be attended to while also showing relevant promotional or safety information.
In addition to providing the CMS to communicate wait times and manage queues, a good digital solution can go a long way in making a guest feel better about the wait that they are experiencing. Research shows that unexplained and uncertain waits feel longer than those with a reason or a known duration. Digital screens can explain the reasons for the delay as well as the expected wait times. Depending on the length of the line, digital signs at different points in the queue can let guests know how much longer to go. In addition to sharing this information, promotional or entertaining messaging, even interactive gaming content, can be displayed as part of the queuing system to entertain visitors in line.
As well as wait times, other data that might be of interest to guests such as current capacity, allocated seats or predicted occupancy or anticipated future wait times could be shared on digital signage or on a brand app. This data can be determined using integrated sensors and analytic tools such as Walkbase TREQ and shared on digital displays or via a personal device.
Digital solutions and tools such as Walkbase TREQ can also provide key insight into the ways the queuing at a venue forms and grows, revealing useful insights into how to minimize wait times and queue lengths to create a safer and better experience for guests and staff alike.
Getting people where they need to be is no easy task across a large entertainment center, gallery or theme park. Interactive digital signage offers powerful solutions to relegate the awkwardly folded, printed map to the pages of history.
A digital wayfinding solution can instantly improve the visitor experience with clear routes to the destination they require. Visitors can interact with a digital map in a variety of ways including touch, text search or, as with Scala’s Pick and Play solution, their own mobile device via a QR code. A well-implemented wayfinding solution can dramatically reduce the time a staffer needs to spend on giving visitors directions, freeing them up for other tasks. In tourist attractions a digital wayfinding solution can be accessed in a variety of languages and operate at various levels of personalization and sophistication. For example, a family at a large museum could use a wayfinding digital solution to discover particular rooms or exhibits based on their age, interests or what they saw on previous visits. At a theme park, visitors could be directed to particular rides based on type or projected wait times. Digital wayfinding solutions can also offer more than just directions, displaying information such as public transport timetables as well the weather forecast so that visitors can better plan their visit. This level of personalization and appreciation of what visitors need to have a most enjoyable experience will serve brands well to encourage repeat visits and welcome new guests.
Digital wayfinding tools offer another way for entertainment brands to make incremental income by offering promotional space on signage. Restaurants near a stadium can pay to be promoted on the stadium’s screens as could brands or licenses being sold within a gift shop. Safety messages can also be shown as needed. With one digital screen, a multitude of needs, both brand and visitor, can be served.
With the right digital solutions, decades or millennia can be crossed in an instant, stories shared and answers uncovered. Digital has a great deal to offer when it comes to creating more meaningful experiences for visitors. In a museum setting, digital timelines can bring context to exhibits, an experience that can be cultivated further with digital enhancements such as augmented or virtual reality. As digital screens provide an endless aisle solution to retail brands, they can provide an endless archive for museum settings where images and videos can be accessed by visitors that want to find out more than the footprint of an exhibition space would allow.
A powerful and reliable CMS is required to drive these opportunities. The Fortuna Sittard Museum uses Scala to power their space with exhibits and touchpoints that mix text, photographs, archive film and objects from the history of the illustrious football club to create a compelling and interactive experience for visitors.
Interactive experiences are possible beyond the museum hall. A concert venue could offer trivia quizzes or the music videos of the artist playing that evening, something that could also work for a cinema to elevate the experience for visitors. A travel hub such as a train station or airport could show attractions of the destination which the travelers are visiting or equip them with common local-language phrases they may want to use while they are there.
32% of retail brands say they’ll be establishing or expanding their use of pop-up and in-person experiences in the next year. This is a trend that will permeate into leisure spaces offering not only a deeper connection with visitors but also the potential to host third party promotional experiential activations for additional income. Leisure brands should look for a good technology partner able to work with their brand to determine how best to help them reach their goals when it comes to creating meaningful, memorable and even magic visitor experiences.
Extending the Interaction
As well as deepening the on-site experience for guests, digital solutions can also help brands extend a visitor’s experience and offer an opportunity for brands to continue the relationship with the visitor beyond their initial visit.
With appropriate permissions granted, digital provides an easy way to add visitors to mailing lists. QR codes displayed on digital screens can provide visitors not only with additional information to be absorbed on site but also resources that can be accessed at a later date such as coloring sheets, educational resources, timetables or coupons. When visitors show specific interest in a museum or gallery exhibit or a particular travel destination or artist by interacting with a digital solution, that information can then be used, where appropriate, to inform that visitor of upcoming events that might be of interest. Visitors can be informed of new shows or holiday packages. The storytelling of an exhibit can be extended by alerting the visitor via email or app of relevant anniversary dates or news items as they occur.
As previously detailed, digital experiences can go a long way in streamlining processes and minimizing frustrations that can be felt by visitors in a busy space.
In addition to the ways that digital solutions can create convenience while waiting to buy tickets, wayfinding and waiting for admission or attention, digital can also help in physical areas such as the washrooms, cafe or gift shop. A digital screen can help visitors determine which washrooms or cubicles are occupied. In a cafe setting, digital menu boards can show items based on stimulus such as time of day, the weather or, in case of employee shortages, the ease to prepare. With digital solutions, meals can be ordered via a brand app or touchscreen and picked up at a dedicated pick up location with the order number displayed on a shelf edge display or locker. In the gift shop, digital signage can promote items most relevant to customers while an endless aisle solution means that more products can be offered than available on the physical shelf. Sales can be made at a self service kiosk or via the customers phone with home delivery or perhaps a convenient pick up locker offered as the customer exits the leisure complex.
Ingress, Egress and Emergencies
With digital signage and integrated solutions, event space entry and exit can be streamlined with visitor pain points minimized. Upon approaching a venue, visitors can be directed via digital signage or a personal device to the most appropriate entryway. Waiting times at and distances to certain entrances can be shared and security procedures such as bag checks explained. Upon exiting visitors can be shown the easiest way to leave as well as the outside weather and perhaps public transport timetables and distances to train stations or bus stops.
In times of emergency, an integrated digital signage network means that messaging can be shown across every available screen, interrupting scheduled content. Depending on the scale and severity of the incident, messages can also be shown as part of a sequence of scheduled messages, on screens in a certain area only or as a ‘picture in picture’ display.
With digital, entertainment and cultural spaces have an easy way to gauge how their visitors have enjoyed their experience. Exit surveys, delivered by touchscreen, can gather a snapshot of reported data while sensors and analytic tools such as Walkbase TREQ can deliver accurate observed information. Dwell time and pathing by visitors across a space can be tracked to reveal popular exhibits or destinations or show places of bottlenecks. This data helps brands determine the most effective deployment of staff, how best to organize a queue or where to place pieces of infrastructure. New business operations can be trialed with the reaction of visitors tracked in real time allowing brands to respond accordingly.
A/B testing is also made easier with digital solutions. Marketing messages shown across digital signage can be alternated and edited swiftly meaning that multiple messages can be tried and their impact tracked in order to create the most effective promotional and communication campaigns.
Digital offers a wealth of opportunities for leisure and entertainment brands as well as travel hubs. In these spaces, driven by expertise and creativity, digital signage and solutions can assist brands in not only creating an incomparable experience for visitors but also gain crucial information to run operations more effectively.
Scala has extensive experience working across a variety of brands of all types including leisure, entertainment, hospitality, travel and retail. Talk to the Scala team about how digital can provide better experiences for your guests and build your business.
 Fortune, 28 July 1980, p. 10
 THE SERVICE ENCOUNTER edited by John a Czepiel, Michael R. Solomon and Carol Suprenant, © 1985 by D.C. Heath and Company, Lexington Books
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