Business Strategies: The Benefits of Digital Signage at Leisure Entertainment Facilities

May 17, 2011 No Comments

May 17, 2011

Owners and operators of leisure entertainment facilities will almost certainly continue to use traditional signage in some way or other at their operations. However, recent years have seen a continued interest and uptick in the deployment of digital signage as well.

Digital signage is a type of electronic display that shows information, advertising and other messages. Digital signage displays are usually controlled by basic personal computers using proprietary software programs, avoiding any large capital outlays for the controller equipment.

Digital signage also offers several benefits: Content can be exchanged more easily, animations can be shown, and the signs can adapt to the context and audience, even interactively. Digital signage can offer a better return on investment than static signs, according to Texas Digital Systems, Inc.  Facilities that install digital signage see increases of up to 35 percent in concession sales, and a 32.28 percent growth in repeat visitors.

For some facilities, digital signage has become an important means of bringing in visitors from outside, most notably by conveying messages about new attractions, special deals, and the like, stated Romney Stewart, vice president of customer services at Texas Digital Systems, Inc. The company recently introduced outdoor light-emitting diode (LED) displays that may be used in a standalone fashion or incorporated into larger static signs. Offered in full-color and monochrome options, the displays can be altered “on-the-fly” and updated in real time with the company’s VitalCAST software. The units can be as large as 45 feet high by 80 feet wide.

However, Stewart said, many centers are going one step farther, taking advantage of new technology advancements to deploy multiple digital signs with multiple purposes, from breaking down admission prices, to promoting menu items in the snack bar, to wayfinding and much more. These technological advancements include the ability to control and alter the content of multiple digital displays from a single computer. They also encompass the option of accessing and showcasing on digital signs content from such locations as the Internet (e.g., weather forecasts at an amusement park), stated a spokesperson for Center Edge Software.

In bowling alleys, sources said, digital screens are also increasingly being used in the front check-in areas to display lane wait lists and related information. Often, one part of the screen is reserved for advertising, both for in-house events and outside marketers.

Some bowling center operators solicit advertisers whose static ads are displayed on the digital screens that display player scores. The ads are spliced in between frames, when no bowling information is being shown. Theme parks, zoos and similar facilities—among them larger facilities like Hersheypark in Hershey, Pa., as well as regional ones such as the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk in Santa Cruz, Calif., employ digital signage to deliver park-wide digital advertising, location information, menu boards, ride wait-time information, sponsor messages and ticketing prices. They also utilize it as a park management tool to quickly inform visitors of changing conditions, such as a reduced menu options during short staff days, ride closure due to inclement weather, or lost children in the park.

Boondocks Fun Center in Kaysville, Utah, ranks among leisure entertainment facilities that are leveraging digital signage in a variety of areas. The center offers miniature golf, bumper boats, two go-cart tracks, laser tag, arcade, 20 lanes of bowling and more. Its digital signage installation features seven 47-inch vertical LCD screens: two at the ticketing area (for pricing and general information), two at the bowling counter (to list lane waits, among other information) and two at the snack bar, as well as one in the bowling vestibule. Additionally, three 47-inch vertical LCDs are in polished aluminum freestanding LCD enclosures; one double-sided unit lies by the entry walkway, and one single-sided unit is next to the restaurant entrance. Four 47-inch horizontal LCDs show entertainment content by the dining area. All the screens run Texas Digital’s VitalCAST software, which allows pricing, imagery and other features on the displays to be updated automatically and simultaneously with a few clicks of the mouse.

Damon Day, Boondocks’ vice president, said the facility deployed the digital signage not only to improve the ability to communicate with guests, but to eliminate the “messy” traditional signs that previously cluttered up the sales counters. “In addition to keeping our offerings up to date,” Day added, “digital signs make it possible to better recognize groups, birthdays and other distinguished guests as they arrive.”

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles, California-based California Science Center, which previously employed digital signage to display showtimes outside the box office of its IMAX theater, has added a wayfinding component to assist visitors in navigating the facility and an emergency messaging feature that dynamically alerts visitors and staff of important safety messages. Even more interestingly, interactive digital signage has been integrated into the center’s exhibits. Visitors can use the digital displays to find out more about the exhibits they are viewing, both viewing packaged content on the screens when they are in passive mode and by touching the appropriate commands when the latter appear.

Industry News

WhiteWater Launched Exciting New Wet and Dry Play Attractions at Trade Exhibition and Conference 2011

WhiteWater, The Waterpark Company, was to showcase exciting projects completed successfully in Australia, including Wet ‘n’ Wild and SeaWorld, at the AALARA Trade Exhibition & Conference 2011 in mid-May. Australia has a very dynamic leisure industry and WhiteWater is proud to be a leading designer and manufacturer of many of the country’s wet and dry family leisure attractions.

Wet ‘n’ Wild Water World is the first waterpark in the world to debut four dueling  AquaLoops, providing the ultimate head-to-head race through the world’s only fully inverted looping waterslides.  Wet ‘n’ Wild also features a pirate-theme  AquaPlay AP1050, WhiteWater’s award-winning multi-level interactive play structure complete with a giant tipping bucket, water guns, net bridges and a variety of interactive spray jets

SeaWorld Gold Coast introduced Prime Play’s premier Family Adventure Park, bringing to life a marine-themed adventure playground and ropes course complex. Prime Play is an industry leader in interactive dry play and continues to create active family attractions that truly engage kids of all ages.

Coast to Coast Entertainment Offers Pearlized Bouncy Balls

Coast to Coast Entertainment, LLC offers new 5-inch diameter bouncy balls. The assorted bright, pearl-like color designs on the ball attract attention and the nice quality of these balls offer a super high perceived value.

The shiny ball mix is packed 150 pieces per box, not inflated. Special introductory priced at $1.25 per ball. Limited stock is available with immediate shipping.

Global Spectrum Names Jennifer Noble General Manager of the Durham Convention Center

Global Spectrum, the newly appointed operators of the Durham Convention Center, has named Jennifer Noble as the General Manager of the 32,000-square-foot Convention Center. Global Spectrum, which manages more than 100 public assembly facilities throughout North America, is a subsidiary of the internationally recognized sports and entertainment leader Comcast-Spectacor.

Noble, a veteran of the convention center sales and marketing industry, was most recently Assistant General Manager and Director of Sales and Marketing of the Global Spectrum-managed Conference Center Niagara Falls. In her new role, Noble will oversee the day-to-day operations of the Convention Center, including hiring and training of a full and part-time staff, all financial aspects of the facility, and scheduling, booking and marketing of the events.

Sesame Place Debuts Two New Attractions in 2011

Sesame Place, the nation’s only theme park based entirely on the award-winning show Sesame Street, opened on April 30 with two new and exciting attractions—the Neighborhood Street Party, a parade that features 11 larger-than-life floats, and Elmo’s Cloud Chaser, a new family swing ride in Elmo’s World. 

The Neighborhood Street Party parade will allow guests to experience an energetic neighborhood block party on iconic Sesame Street with all of their favorite friends, including: Elmo, Count Von Count, Bert, Ernie, Abby Cadabby, Zoe, Cookie Monster, Rosita, Big Bird and Telly. The parade will feature familiar contemporary tunes, as well as Sesame Street favorites that are sure to get everyone joining in the fun. 

The park’s newest mechanical ride, Elmo’s Cloud Chaser, invites families to join Elmo for a spin up into the sky, where the clouds are as close as their imagination.

“This family swing ride is another great addition to Elmo’s World, which currently features Peek-A-Bug, Blast Off and Flyin’ Fish,” said Park President Robert Caruso. “We are always looking for ways to offer our guests a new and exciting experience at Sesame Place, and the Neighborhood Street Party parade and Elmo’s Cloud Chaser will certainly help us do just that in 2011.” 

In 2011, Sesame Place will also bring back the park’s popular free concert lineup. Also returning this year is Sesame Place’s Elmo Any 2-Day ticket, which allows guests to enjoy two days of fun for the price of our single day tickets. In addition, Sesame Place offers three season pass options, which all include exclusive Pass Member events and a 30 percent discount on food and merchandise at the park.

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