More Phone-Based Virtual Queue Solutions

Tuesday, November 27, 2007 10:13 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar http://www.cellq.com/

Interesting, being as we've been hearing that Disney has been toying with the same basic idea.

Here's the article that led me to that site. ($35 bucks an hour!? Nice...and further proof that the virtual queue thing extends far beyond amusement parks :) )

(Credit is due to Scott for posting a link that led me to the article that led to the CellQ site. :) )

I don't expect the conversation to take any direction other than the one it has countless other times, but it's good to keep up with where things are headed.


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Tuesday, November 27, 2007 10:58 PM
I can't wait for the first lawsuit. "I had to carry my cell phone on the ride to take advantage of the virtual queue system at the park. Since I lost my phone on the ride, the park is responsible."

By the way, yes, I hate the idea. :)

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007 11:18 PM
More information would be helpful. They promise these benefits for the parks, and those benefits for the customers, but I found myself thinking "yeah but how?" after just about every paragraph.

Things like how much is this going to cost (both the customers and the parks)? How do people take part in this without a secondary queue being formed? How does them knowing my ride preferences improve my park experience?

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007 11:24 PM
sws's avatar "There are line-waiting services in Washington DC that charge $35 an hour; some college punk stands in line, swapping out at the last minute with whatever busy Congressmen ponied up the cash."

I hadn't realized that the queue lines for the stalls in the men's rooms in DC had gotten that long. :)

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007 11:33 PM
Am I the only person who wants to use their cell phones strictly as phones? (ok I text too but its the same idea)

2017 Trips: WDW, Dollywood, Cedar Point, KI, SDC, BGW, BGT, SWO, Universal Orlando

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007 11:51 PM
Carrie M.'s avatar Conceptually I see nothing new or different about this with the exception of the technological twist of using cell phones instead of "taking a number" or as the article references using those hand held buzzer things at restaurants.

As long as they don't hold up the dispatching of rides in order to wait for folks to get there once notified, I don't even see how it could impact those who are not participating in the system. (well, except when you've spent your energy trying to line up riders in a group to be on the same train and then someone comes along up the back and throws that off. Of course that is a minor issue, but I want to say "come on dude, we had it all worked out! :) )

The only negative impact I could see to the park experience in general would be depending on the number of folks who participate in the system there could be greater congestion in the park itself. Those who would have normally been off the midways waiting in the queues will instead be roaming around like sheep.

And as a side note, I don't particularly advocate for anything that further fosters America's general lack of patience and growing inability to sit still for more than 10 minutes at a time. There, I said it. ;)


"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007 12:14 AM

Carrie M. said:
Conceptually I see nothing new or different about this with the exception of the technological twist of using cell phones instead of "taking a number" or as the article references using those hand held buzzer things at restaurants.

Agreed. And I'm the guy who goes to the deli counter, takes his number, checks the "now serving" sign, and if I determine that I have enough time run through the rest of the store getting whatever else I needed and making it back to the deli counter in time to place my order. (In all the years I've been doing that, I've NEVER come back to find my number gone, either... Which means of course that it'll happen this weekend.)


--Greg
"You seem healthy. So much for voodoo."

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007 12:38 AM
The difference is, there's ONLY a virtual queue at the restaurant and deli counter. There's no physical "line" of people waiting for their smoked turkey.

Why don't theme parks just abandon the physical queue altogether? It'd definitely save space.

I'm still a huge fan of running your rides so efficiently that there's no reason for a virtual queue.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007 12:52 AM
Carrie M.'s avatar I definitely understand what you are saying, Tim, but I still don't think there is a difference at least not when it comes to the comparison to restaurants. When you walk in a restaurant (that hasn't gone smoke-free) where there is a line you are asked for your preference: smoking only, non-smoking only, or first available. So when a table opens up who gets called, those with a smoking preference or those without one?

The system's not perfect, but in the end everyone gets to eat.

And I imagine they wouldn't get rid of live queues altogether for a couple of reasons: 1) as I mentioned, if folks are not in line they are cramming the midways and there could be capacity issues and 2) this provides another opportunity to make money from a convenience fee.


"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007 1:59 AM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

halltd said:
I'm still a huge fan of running your rides so efficiently that there's no reason for a virtual queue.

I think that's oversimplifying the solution.

These big parks that get 1 hour+ waits for their most popular rides aren't always to blame for inefficient operations - much of the time it's the sheer popularity of the ride combined with the number of people in the park.

So open more rides and run them efficiently, right?

I suspect that expanding the park would only expand the crowd as well in most cases and the problem would just continue on a larger scale.

Seems like the two answers I keep going back to are the two answers no one wants to hear - either reduce the crowds or find new ways to manage them. In both cases it appears to result in the customer paying more.


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Wednesday, November 28, 2007 5:01 AM
coasterqueenTRN's avatar I use my cell phone enough just to locate my friends at the park, and I don't need anymore text messages than I already get. ;)

I am intrigued, though. I am curious to see how well it goes over here in the US.

-Tina

*** Edited 11/28/2007 10:09:46 AM UTC by coasterqueenTRN***

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007 5:16 AM
So you will basically pay to give away more privacy in form of consumer data, that will be sold on to whatever agency that wants to cover all your movements and habits 24/7.
Clever!
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Wednesday, November 28, 2007 8:00 AM

halltd said:
The difference is, there's ONLY a virtual queue at the restaurant and deli counter. There's no physical "line" of people waiting for their smoked turkey.

Ok, that's a good point, BUT even then there are frequently two "classes" of patrons. For instance, at a restaurant there are the people with reservations (virtual queue) and the walk-ins. At a really popular place, you may find you CAN'T walk in.

My local supermarkets experimented for a while with a system where if you didn't want to wait "in line", you could go to a touchscreen, place your order, and it would spit out a ticket with a time to come back and claim your order, freeing you to to go through the rest of the store at your own leisure. I thought it was brilliant, but they DID discontinue the system (I'm not sure why, although I can think of a few reasons -- it required extra equipment, a dedicated staffer at busy times slowing down the "general" line, etc.)

My point being, the "virtual queue" concept appears everywhere these days. Whether we like it or not is another story, of course.


--Greg
"You seem healthy. So much for voodoo."

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007 8:02 AM

halltd said:
Why don't theme parks just abandon the physical queue altogether? It'd definitely save space.

Something similar to this has been tried. It was called Ticket To Ride at Cedar Point. Most people think that it was a very bad decision.

One problem with the virtual que system is that you have to plan your entire day in advance. You can't just say, hey I want to go ride that ride. That was one problem with Ticket To Ride. If you didn't plan to get your ticket, you couldn't ride Millennium Force.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007 8:15 AM
matt.'s avatar

Touchdown said:
Am I the only person who wants to use their cell phones strictly as phones? (ok I text too but its the same idea)

Yes and no. No because there's actually a lot of people who go into a cellphone seller who don't want gadgets, gizmos, internets, cameras, email, fancy ringtones and everything else. They go into the store, and they make that very clear, and then express frustration that it can be relatively difficult to walk into a store and buy a paired-down phone at a reasaonable price.

Yes, because really, that group of people is a very vocal minority. Cell phone companies know that many people would like to have simpler, less gadget-y phones, but the second they take the camera off, or the internet capabilities off, or whatever else, they're suddenly lopping off huge groups of potential buyers left and right. It's somewhat inevitable that mainstream cellphones are going to become more like handheld computers and it will simply be the consumer's choice as to whether they use the features or not. Actually, that's not inevitable, it's already happened.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007 8:54 AM
eightdotthree's avatar I am in the group that like to have all of my contacts, my calendar etc, digital, and syncing back and fourth between my computer, phone and the web. All that information goes with me where ever I go so I can send post cards, get in touch with clients etc and not have to carry around a large address book and day planner. YMMV.

That said, I rarely ever bring my phone into a park, if I am at my local park Kennywood, I sometimes will, but if I am out of town, on vacation, my phone does not come with me. *** Edited 11/28/2007 1:55:19 PM UTC by eightdotthree***


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Wednesday, November 28, 2007 10:31 AM
Jeff's avatar

halltd said:
I'm still a huge fan of running your rides so efficiently that there's no reason for a virtual queue.
Disney runs most of their rides at a level of efficiency no one else can touch. Would I want to go without FastPass? Hell no.

Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007 12:00 PM
Disney also receives a level of guests that no other regional park can touch. One could argue that the number of "e-ticket" attractions at their parks are far less than that of a local amusement park such as Cedar Point. So, a few of their rides have "excessive" lines.

I went to all the Disney parks for years without FastPass and always had an amazing time. Although FastPass creates the illusion of waiting in line less, in reality it makes that line longer. So, if FastPass didn't exist (like it didn't on most rides they have), the rides wouldn't have the standby times they do today.

Cedar Point is one of the highest attended parks in the US and they don't have a virtual queue system. I think that shows you can run a park successfully without one. I also applaud them for not having one. I've been to CP on Fridays and Saturdays in July and August and still been able to ride every coaster (some more than once) and multiple flats in one day. So, you don't NEED a virtual queue system.

PS: What was "Ticket to Ride"? I've been to CP every single year and have never heard of this. I'm familiar with "FreeWay", but not Ticket to Ride.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007 12:24 PM
Go to CP on a Saturday in October and try to get on more than 5 coasters.

I think the virtual queue solutions have a long way to go still and Disney is the only one who really figured it out so far.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007 12:28 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Although FastPass creates the illusion of waiting in line less, in reality it makes that line longer. So, if FastPass didn't exist (like it didn't on most rides they have), the rides wouldn't have the standby times they do today.

True and true. (to a degree)

But it still doesn't mean you get less rides in a day if you use the system.

Those people who use the system and double-up on lines get more rides in a day than they would have if the system wasn't in play. The only way they wouldn't is if the wait times for the entire park more than doubled because of the system - and that's theoretically impossible.

It's been said countless times, but any given park has a set capacity (all of the attractions combined hourly throughput x the number of hours of operation = daily rider capacity) - all these systems do is redistribute the priority of who gets to ride and/or offer the convenience of not physically standing in line to receive that priority.

It's a system for managing crowds (and generating revenue and customer data in the process), not a system for increasing capacity.


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