More Phone-Based Virtual Queue Solutions

Friday, November 30, 2007 5:48 PM
Gonch - I thought you said you wanted to text things to the system and get information back on a regular basis? Like, "what's the wait time on MF"...wait..."wait time for MF is 60 minutes". Ok, let's reserve that. Now, what was the code for MF?

That's why I thought your plan seemed overly complex. But, if the system knows when I'm done with Raptop and asks me for the next coaster number (and gives me a list), I'm a little better with that.

The wristbands are necessary to prevent cheating. How else is the park going to know you're the ones allowed on the ride and how many people are in your group? This prevents people from abusing the system.


RGB said:
But I thought cellQ said as long as you showed up after being notified, they'd let you in. In other words, there's no time frame in which you're required to show up or lose your place.

To my understanding, that's not how Flamingoland's system works. When your time arrives, you get a message that says something to the effect of "It is time to ride Millennium Force. Please proceed to the queue. Your reservation expires at 2:15pm. Enjoy your ride."

That's really the only efficient way to keep the entire park working smoothly. Otherwise, you could bulk up your reservations and "power-ride". That destroys capacity.

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Friday, November 30, 2007 5:49 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

RatherGoodBear said:
Sounds like this is almost liked what someone posted a few pages ago-- like a high-tech glorified supermarket deli. You walk up and take your number, then wander about until your number is called. Except here you'll be notified by cell phone instead of having some lady in a hair net bellowing out your number.

That's all any of these systems are. When you reserve your ride you essentially take a number.

At the deli, the lady yells.
CellQ sends a text to your phone.
Q-bot vibrates at you.
FastPass gives a slip of paper with your time on it.

(the gold bot gives you a number and divides it by 4 though)


The only wildcards seem to be that with only certain attractions included, you could be in some other long line when you're number's called.

Again, that applies to all the systems. I suppose that's the risk you take in trying to 'double-up' on rides. (and for the record, all of them also only include a certain selection of attractions as well)


But I thought cellQ said as long as you showed up after being notified, they'd let you in. In other words, there's no time frame in which you're required to show up or lose your place.

Not sure.

In comparison, I know some people have said Disney will let you on any time after your FastPass, but I do believe that you lose your Q-bot reservation if you don't make the 'reservation time window' though.


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Friday, November 30, 2007 5:57 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

halltd said:
Gonch - I thought you said you wanted to text things to the system and get information back on a regular basis? Like, "what's the wait time on MF"...wait..."wait time for MF is 60 minutes". Ok, let's reserve that. Now, what was the code for MF?

That's why I thought your plan seemed overly complex.


Oooohhhh. No, man. I was getting into all kinds of weird theoretically stuff about the park passing along the ride wait info to guests. That stuff was all outside the realm of a reservation system. (Rob A. was following me :) )


The wristbands are necessary to prevent cheating. How else is the park going to know you're the ones allowed on the ride and how many people are in your group? This prevents people from abusing the system.

Why can't a the number of riders be incorporated into the system - like Q-bot. It doesn't matter who is using, just how many.

In fact ,that's another thing I really like about Q-bot. I can buy into it and put just two people on the device. Then when I reserve a ride - any two people in the party can ride. Works really well with a child too small for the big rides.


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Friday, November 30, 2007 6:31 PM
Vater's avatar

Lord Gonchar said:
Q-bot vibrates at you.
FastPass gives a slip of paper with your time on it.

Hmm...then let me correct my post above--I apparently had a Q-bot.

The system as halltd described sounds even simpler (to me) than you laid it out, Gonch. And I was pretty much sold then. :) Provided, of course, I'm not getting texts telling me to shop at Six Flags' online store while I'm in a corporate meeting the next day.

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Friday, November 30, 2007 6:48 PM
This is from the cellQ website.
"Guests using CellQ are free to explore a venue and visit shops while their cell phones ‘stand in line’ for them. When it’s their turn CellQ automatically contacts them and they can go to the attraction whenever they want."

I interpreted that as not having a defined time frame. I'm not sure what it does to scheduling (I would assume the system is able to keep tabs on who hasn't taken their rides yet), but what if you're in one of these quieter restaurants when you phone goes off? It wouldn't be a fun experience to have to decide whether to leave your dinner or lose your ride.

Here's another tab from their website that describes a theoretical park experience. It might answer a lot of the questions people raised.
http://www.cellq.com/guests.html

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Friday, November 30, 2007 7:24 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

RatherGoodBear said:
Here's another tab from their website that describes a theoretical park experience.
http://www.cellq.com/guests.html

Well, that flat out says that the reservation doesn't time out.

It also makes it look as if you can reserve your spot for a ride more than once per day.

Looks near flawless to me. I'm not real fond of the wristbands as a cheat deterrent, but as described on that page RGB linked to, it makes sense in that riders don't need to be carrying the device to ride. Then again, you have to specify who will be using it due to the wristbands and that's a minus.

And for the record it really is essentially the same thing as Q-bot in the way the whole thing works except in the past with Q-bot you have to physically walk to the ride to reserve a ride. But I believe the newer Q-bot system also lets you reserve from other spots as well.

Still, can't beat the convenience of the cell phone as the reservation device.

It's a wash in my eyes.

When there's a system that combines the best of both (cell phone delivery, reserve from anywhere, no wristband) this will pretty much be a perfected concept.

I believe both SF and Dollywood are locked in with LoQ through the 2009 seasons. I wonder if an American park will pick up on CellQ or if LoQ will remain dominant in the states.

I also wonder what advances will be made to both systems in the next few years.

And as I've said so many times in the past - like it or not, this sort of thing is here to stay.


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Friday, November 30, 2007 8:56 PM
eightdotthree's avatar My point about the qbot is that it seems like they are letting way more people on the ride then they should be. For instance, the ride's wait time is estimated at 1 hour, but qbot times are only 15 minutes. Thats just my impression, I have no hard facts to back that up.
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Friday, November 30, 2007 9:22 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar That'd be exactly correct if the user had a Gold Bot - which is entirely possible.

Gold-bot cuts the wait by 75%. Someone with Gold-bot could ride a given ride four times for every one that they'd get by using regular bot or by standing in the queue.

It could also just be that that many people reserved their spot in line before you got there - which is also entrely possible.

Probably a combo of both in reality. :)


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Friday, November 30, 2007 10:16 PM
Carrie M.'s avatar Regarding the concern about privacy and receiving unwanted marketing messages after taking advantage of this service, the following link may be of interest:

http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts/canspam.html

Looks like we can eliminate the concern of having your number sold to third parties. Now whether the park you used CellQ with would be able to send you marketing messages really depends on whether 1) they get you to provide consent upon participating or 2) your utilization of this service means you have an "established business relationship" with the park.

Thoughts?


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

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Friday, November 30, 2007 11:30 PM
From the FCC page Carrie linked to...

"The FCC’s ban does not cover 'transactional or relationship' messages, or notices to facilitate a transaction you have already agreed to."

I'm not an expert, but I would think that by participating in the cellQ service (or whatever a similar system might be called), you're automatically agreeing to a transaction that includes follow up phone calls, text messages, etc. Not to mention the "we're going to share your information with our partners" clause.

It will probably be contained in a paragraph at the bottom of the instruction pamphlet that nobody will bother to read because they'll be too busy signing up for their first ride. Kind of like the privacy notices and terms and conditions we're all supposed to read and agree to before downloading software on the internet.

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Saturday, December 1, 2007 2:11 AM
Carrie M.'s avatar Well, I'm not convinced the transactional relationship the regulation refers to wouldn't only pertain to the text messages you agree to receive during the day of service regarding cellQ services only.

But with regard to sharing your number with other partners, according to the regs there would be no point. Their partners would have no business relationship with you and thus would be prohibited to send you messages. And even if that wasn't the case, why would a park share your information with competitors in the first place?

Now it is possible that they could get cellQ customers to release their rights somehow so they can market for themselves in the future. But I question if that would even be worth it to them.

Does the hassle of receiving spam marketing messages outweigh the benefit of the cellQ service? I hear folks in this thread saying yes. If so, it will be a deterrant that would negatively impact the profitability of the service. Why do it then?


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

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Saturday, December 1, 2007 2:15 AM
Gonch - If you don't have a wristband, how is the ride op to know you actually paid to use the cellQ service? You could easily create a text message on your phone that looks like you are allowed to ride coaster #1 at 3:15pm. Since you're not carrying around the proprietary device (aka qbot), where's the control? How do they know you've paid? How do they know how many people paid? And, how do they know you didn't just invent the text message? I guess you could register the EMEI number of the phone and have the user remove the battery and scan that barcode at each ride! :)

cellQ's website may say that you can reserve rides more than once and your reservation time never expires, but that's not how they implemented the system at Flamingoland. Maybe after the trial period this year they changed those features? Personally, I like that you have to ride within a set time parameter. Although, I'd be ok with them not expiring as long as you couldn't queue for another ride until you completed your current "reservation". I'm also cool with queuing up for the same coaster multiple times, just not more than one at a time. I'd rather queue for MF five times than queue for Disaster Transport any day.

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Saturday, December 1, 2007 3:18 AM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

halltd said:
Gonch - If you don't have a wristband, how is the ride op to know you actually paid to use the cellQ service?

Because your text message would say you did.


You could easily create a text message on your phone that looks like you are allowed to ride coaster #1 at 3:15pm.

Verify the callback number.

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I understand what you're saying and even agree for the most part, but the wristband is the achilles heel in all of this. If feels like such an unnecessary extra step in an otherwise ridiculously streamlined system.

I mean, the wristband is essentially the propietary device - all the cell phone does is notify you. They've taken the single unit of Lo-Q's Q-bot system and split it into two pieces - the wristband that the park supplies and your cell phone for the communications half of things. In that sense they've made it more complicated.

I still say there has to be a way to reduce the system to just the need for the cell phone.

Remember this article? (linked from this CB thread)

Granted, there's a lot of speculation there, but...

Disney is working up a little sumpin sumpin - quite possibly using cell phones as well - to manage and track quests in the park. Is Disney going to slap wristbands on everyone? I doubt it.

My guess is the answer could be something as simple as a bar code image sent to the phone that gets scanned at the entrance. Who knows?

Now that I've talked my way through this, I suppose that the scan HAS to be part of the deal. Maybe the cell phone approach isn't the best?

If I'm going to be forced to receive a proprietary device, it might as well be an all-in-one unit like Q-bot. The only thing CellQ has over Q-bot is the flexibility and info available. All Lo-Q has to do in the future is upgrade the Q-bots to work wirelessly (like your phone - no biggie) for flexibility and deliver the same info/choices on the device and they win hands down. (Plus, you get the bonus of not specifying which individuals are using the system, but rather how many spots you want in the system - that flexibility is most of the reason we ever get a Q-bot)


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Saturday, December 1, 2007 1:03 PM
It's interesting you think the wristband is the Achilles heel. If I had to pick one of the systems for my imaginary park, it would be the cellQ system. Why? Well, first and foremost (and I'm surprised you don't see this), the consumer is paying for the technological device they have to carry around the park. If they lose it, not my problem. If they break it, not my problem. If it wears out in a year, not my problem.

Both systems require back-end systems to monitor ride queues and run the system. That's a given. So, let's remove that from the equation since it's the constant.

The variable in the cellQ and the Qbot system, is the "hand held computer" which the guest has to carry around with them. In the Qbot system, the park (or vendor) is responsible for maintaining that technology and upgrading (or replacing) it when it gets lost/damaged/outdated/etc... With cellQ, you have a cheapy wristband that can pretty much be abused to death over the course of a day and still work. Let the consumer provide the $200-$300 tech item because I (as imaginary park operator) don't want to.

Also, the other big plus for me in the cellQ system is the ease to distribute the wristbands. How are Qbots distributed? Some big building at the front of the park you have to wait in a queue for, resgister, put down a deposit, watch a video and get a device you have to carry around the park WITH your cell phone. Lets not forget before you leave the park, you have to RETURN the Qbot to get your money back. Again, waiting in another queue that the system is designed to replace. How does Lord Gonch, the king of efficiency, prefer this system?

Doesn't almost everyone complain the registration for the Qbot is the biggest hassle of the system? Ok. So replace that. A wristband can easily be registered for, printed and distributed though a kiosk. Said kiosk could be anywhere and everywhere in a park. Hell, you could even put them in your resort lobbies or the parking lot.

If I'm walking around and see people using the cellQ system with wristbands and ask one of these people while eating at The Roundup in Frontiertown what it is, I'm going to want to sign up. But, am I going to want to trek to the front of the park to sign up? Nope. But wait, there's more. There's a kiosk right over there. Let me go feed my credit card (or $10 bill) into the machine and get my wristbands right here and be queued up for Maverick in about 2 minutes - VIRTUALLY!

Come on. That hardly seems like an Achilles heal. Sounds pretty darn perfect to me. (In an evil line jumping park greed let's detroy the laid back atmosphere of a theme park day sorta capitalist society sorta way!) :)

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Saturday, December 1, 2007 1:33 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar Some good points. :)

Still not entirely convinced though. The kiosk idea is a great one, but that's not how it goes down, is it? (honest question - you didn't make it sound like that in your explanation of how Flamingo Land does it)

Right now, I think both have their pros and cons. The kiosk thing would be a step in the right direction.

I still can't get over the idea that youre taking one device (a Q-bot unit) and breaking it down into two devices (your phone and a wristband).

I guess the person who figures out how to do it securely with just the phone wins. Then there's no investment beyond the back-end system - no devices, no kiosks, no staff to register people, nothing except for what they all have in place anyway in the back-end. Guests register everything from their phone (it could be as simple as CellQ's reservations are - send a text and follow the menus) and could even do it on the way to the park or the night before or whatever.

That's what I thought this CellQ thing was until we dug in and fleshed it out.

Is it a good system? Sure. Could it be better? Absolutely. The same could be said for all of the systems in use.


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Saturday, December 1, 2007 2:00 PM
CellQ could work without the wristbands if you didn't charge for the service. But, you still have to suck the money from the consumer. In order to do that, you have to "register" them somehow. If you're just texting, where does the park get their money? Or, are you actually suggesting this system be "free" to the consumer?

I also think if you just use a phone, you open up the system for abuse or just inefficiency. If you're scanning barcodes on the phone, or trying to verify originating phone numbers, it seems to just add a bigger layer of complexity that you want to avoid. Scanning a cheapo wristband sounds easier, cheaper more stable and secure to me.

I didn't ask how they distribute the wristbands in Flamingoland, but I will. In my head though, there's no reason why it couldn't all be done with a kiosk. All they need is your group size and money. The introduction video and distribution of the wristband can all easily be done through the machine since there's no need to get a deposit for a Qbot.

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Saturday, December 1, 2007 2:28 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar I imagine you could input a CC number as part of the registration process. But that's another good point.

Again, I'm not saying any of these systems suck. Just that this one doesn't really seem any better or worse than what's out there now that we seem to have an understanding of how CellQ works.

Your kiosk example is good, but with payment, introduction and distribution all handled there, you've just moved any potential lines to a kiosk rather than a manned booth or counter.

Either way it sounds like you still have to line-up and register as it stands. In that sense, it's still no different than Q-bot. In both systems it takes time to get yourself into the system - either at the park or by pre-purchasing online and then picking up the park supplied device once you arrive.

If I can print tickets at home and just stroll straight to the gate and enter with that (and the potential for abuse there should be no less or more than with a cell phone or any user-supplied credentials) - then it just feels like I should be able to get into the VQ systems the same way.

Yeah, it's a little nitpicky. With what we know at this point, CellQ doesn't feel like a step forward as much as a step sideways - not better or worse than other systems, just different.


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Saturday, December 1, 2007 2:42 PM
rollergator's avatar

Lord Gonchar said:Is it a good system? Sure. Could it be better? Absolutely. The same could be said for all of the systems in use.

Never let the search for "the perfect solution" deter your organization from improving the current system incrementally. Keep improving, while continuously keeping an eye TOWARD your ideal ending. That way you can prevent "painting yourself into a corner".

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Saturday, December 1, 2007 2:57 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar So you're saying this 'step sideways' may actually be the first step towards a better solution down the road?

I agree entirely.


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Saturday, December 1, 2007 4:49 PM
See, I'm actually more inclined to use the cellQ system than the Qbot system because of the wristband if the registration process is simple and effective.

Since I just used an airline example in another thread, I'll use it again here - since people are familiar with air travel and it has to move a bunch of people effectively.

Back in the day (and even still with some international flights) there were HUGE queues to check in when you waited for a real person. With the invent of the kiosk, lines went down considerably and in some cases went away entirely. Anyone remembering having to withdraw money from the back at a teller? Remember the queue? Where's that queue now? The same could be said about registering for the cellQ system.

As far as I know, every park that uses Qbot has ONE building to register. It's usually near the front of the park. With a kiosk, you can put loads of these things in a row at the front of the park, put some in the parking lot, put some at your resorts, put some in the back of the park, put some at your secondary gates, put some in local hotels for all I care. The point is, with a kiosk distribution system, your lines are basically nil and your staff requirements are way down. You only need one or two staff members to "man" the kiosk banks. Stand alone kiosks could get away with no one manning them.

So, you not only eliminate the queue for the device, you probably boost your sales of the system because the convenience factor is now there. I see a 3 hour queue for Maverick in the back of the park and think, "Man, I should have gotten the cellQ thingy." If it were a Qbot system, I'd have to trek to the front of the park and possibly wait in line to sign up. Then I'd have to trek back to Maverick, swipe my Qbot and wait three hours to get on. Convenient? Not so much. With cellQ, there's a kiosk within sight, no line, I pop in my $40, get wristbands, send a text and BOOM, I'm in line for Maverick in about three minutes.

Seriously, you can't get much easier than that.

There still has to be some park-administered control system in place to prevent abuse and fraud. Print at home tickets can be copied, or lost. It's way more effective to just control the product at the park. *** Edited 12/1/2007 9:52:05 PM UTC by halltd***

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