Are You Selling the Juice?

April 30, 2012 No Comments

Blog Editor Allen F. Weitzel has been a trailblazer in the recreation field for 45 seasons, most recently leading the safety and training department at a California amusement park for 25 seasons.

 

By Allen F. Weitzel

 

Recently, an industry friend from a notable amusement facility asked me to comment on the subject of providing electrical recharging services to park guests. I answered his question and then realized that this subject might be of interest to our TAP readers. Feel free to join in with your comments.

The Juice Suckers

In our technology-based world, everyone is trying to do more in less time. Cell phones are here to stay, and now there is a flurry of personal mobility devices to help folks move around, Segways being one of the most popular. With such a variety of electronically assisted tools to use, there is an opportunity to provide a recharging service to your guests. Please understand that there are three types of devices to address: small hand-held products (laptops, smart phones, Ipads, etc.), wheeled personal mobility devices and electric automobiles (EVs).

 

The Big Picture

 

It is safe to assume that most guests that visit your facility have cell phones. Airports, community colleges and shopping malls are already providing charging stations for all types of electronic devices. No doubt that people-on-the-go often forget to charge their electronic devices, and are willing to pay for the convenience of charging their equipment away from home. Your facility needs to decide if providing the recharging of electronic devices is a wise investment. Currently, you may not lose too many customers if your facility does not offer charging stations. However, within the very near future, customers may become disenchanted with recreational facilities that fail to offer recharging services. Short stay venues like restaurants and grocery stores may escape the customer requirement of providing a recharging service, but venues that offer a lengthy stay may be expected to provide for recharging.

 

The Second Part

 

The next consideration is space. If you do provide recharging services, be sure you have a sufficient number charging stations, and room to grow if the service increases in popularity. Profitable recreational facilities try to increase the guest’s length of stay. Recharging services could assist with that goal. Provide for areas near the charging stations where guests can sit and keep an eye on their cell phone or laptop while it is charging; a lounge environment so-to-speak. You could provide entertainment for those who are waiting. Cell phone charging stations are compact, but laptop charging locations will need to be larger in both charging and waiting space. Also, consider the visitors who drive their EV to your facility and return to the parking lot at the end of the day to realize that their EV lacks enough charge to get them home. You will need to have sufficient charging stations and car-size waiting areas for multiple cars to be recharged in your parking lots.

 

More Expense

 

Be sure to budget for the cost of additional staff to maintain the charging units in tip-top condition, oversee the charging stations, and referee guest behavior. At the end of the day, you will need employees stationed nearby, while those EVs in the parking lot suck up enough juice to get your patrons home.

 

Help Yourself

 

What happens if you ignore the recharging issue? At a park where I worked, guests would use one of the many plugs we had throughout the facility for charging their electronic devices. There are downsides to this unauthorized activity: guests using your electricity for free, complaints that dirty power from your outlet damaged their laptop, or guests using circuits that are unknowingly already overloaded – possibly causing tripped breaker switches. There is goodwill created, however, if you allow for recharging and do not charge a fee, whether you look the other way to unauthorized recharging, or provide the proper equipment. If you do offer recharging services, be sure you provide ample, clean, proper energy sources.

 

What Others Are Doing

 

Recreational facilities are beginning to understand that recharging is an issue for their guests. Many facilities are merely allowing guests to use existing outlets and not assess a fee, and in the background making plans to create a more permanent solution.

 

Sources

 

There are plenty of recharging station sources out there to access. Smart Carte and Siemens are two. I am sure you can locate suppliers that can fill you needs.

 

Choice

 

The choice is yours. You need to think before you take action, and then exercise your power. It is a growing guest need.

 

Links:

 

Smart Carte: http://www.smartecarte.com
Siemens: http://www.sea.siemens.com
Dirty Power: http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/09/dirty.html
or http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/dirty+power

Back

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Sponsors

Art Attack

Theming, miniature golf, parade floats, 3D props, air-brushed murals, signage and art panels.

Subway

Fresh food and sandwich options.

Master Pitching Machine

Batting cages and pitching machines.

Hamilton Manufacturing Corp.

Manufacturer of unattended entry systems and change machines.

Qubica

Sells capital equipment to bowling centers.

Precision Dynamics (PDC)

Wristbands with no hidden costs, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Wristband System.

S&S Worldwide

Large Park amusement rides.

Soft Play

Leader in designing, manufacturing and installing soft contained playground equipment.

Safari Ltd.

Leading manufacturer of innovative educational toys.

Store on Wheels

Importer and distributor of quality toys, lighting and novelties. Cater to the amusement, retail and entertainment industries.

Nieco Corp

Nieco automatic broilers.

Wapello Fabrications

Inflatables and portable amusements.

Flagship Carpet

Custom carpets and rugs.

Adventure Glass

Unique paddleboats.

Laser Star

Laser shooting galleries, laser tag, dark ride target systems, overhead target ranges.

See Coast Manufacturing Co., Inc.

Coin-operated binoculars and telescopes.

Comstock - Castle Stove

Commercial cooking equipment.

Castle Golf, Inc.

Planning, design and construction of miniature golf courses and family fun parks.

Center Edge Software

Facility Management Software Solutions

Playsmart

Patented soft play design, soft playgrounds.

Look Solutions

Fog machines.

Tokens Direct

A wide variety of tokens.

European Body Arts

Airbrushed temporary tattoo products and systems.

National Rock & Sculpture

Dedicated to the conceptual design and development of themed environments.

Zebec Water Sports

Large variety of waterpark needs

Brunswick Bowling

Entertainment bowling center developer and manufacturer of bowling equipment and entertainment products.

Sacoa

Designed and manufactures PlayCard, the rechargeable debit card system.

Gerber Manufacturing, Ltd.

Outdoor furniture, benches, picnic tables and grills.

Formula K Raceways

Go-karts, kiddie cars and bumper boats, go-kart parts and tires.

Chestnut Identity Apparel

Uniform supply, embroidered apparel and flag manufacturing.

Poly Products

Tables, benches and related products. Green products for a green world.

Belson Manufacturing Co.

Park and recreation outdoor furniture and equipment.

Berk Paper & Supply

Concession supplies.

Quik N' Crispy (QNC)

Quik n’ Crispy greaseless fryer.

Fast Corp Vending

Frozen food vending machines

Weldon, Williams & Lick

Admission systems and wristband ticketing.

Friedman Group Ins.

Insurance for amusement devices.

R&R Creative Amusement Design

Designers of unique themed parks, attractions and environments for the entertainment business.

Wells Fargo

Commercial insurance for inflatables and event planners.

Funovation

Laser maze challenge

Davis & Davis, Inc.

Planning consultants for wet/dry attractions, mini-golf, go-kart tracks and laser arenas.

Coast to Coast

Coin-operated entertainment, crane machines.

Adventure Golf

Miniature golf courses, consultants, architecture and design.

Ride Development Corp.

Electric floor, gas and battery-powered bumper cars.

Midway Concepts (Circus Tops)

Premier designers of stainless steel food service equipment.

Birthday University

Concept development, training and birthday party touring seminars.

Lil Orbits Inc.

Food equipment, donut machines and vendor carts.

Extreme Engineering

Industry leader in zip lines, climbing walls, jumper systems and adventure products.

Johnny Rockets
LMap Powered by Silvercrest
Premier Polysteel
Spectrum Sports
Cannonball Blaster
Funovation
Empex Water Toys