by InPark editors
Dealing with outdated technology is frustrating. Disconnected systems, outdated functionality and limited data can lead to headaches, high staff turnover, guest experience issues and ultimately lost revenue potential. Connect&GO believes there is a better way – that attraction operators deserve a platform that is flexible, easy to deploy and use. They’re dedicated to helping operators increase revenue, simplify operations and maximize guest engagement with their next-generation attraction management platform, aptly named Konnect.
Connect&GO has focused on growth this year by more than increasing $17 million in Series A funding as well as expanding into the US attractions market with clients such as WaTiki indoor water park in South Dakota and Wahooz Family Fun Zone and Roaring Springs in Idaho. Their team is growing, having doubled in size in the last year, and they have a thorough understanding of the vulnerabilities of legacy technologies – because they’ve worked with them.
We sat down with two of the company’s newcomers, Ted Molter (former San Diego Zoo CMO) and Megan Fulbright (previously Operations Manager at Six Flags Hurricane Harbor), who have seen the impact of outdated technology on the operator side. Ted and Megan walk us through the importance of alignment, real-time data and how a truly integrated platform can benefit both operators and guests.
Ted, you’re from marketing and Megan, you’re from operations. Tell us about Marketing Operations synergies related to the Connect&GO All-in-One Management Platform.
Ted Molter: I like to say that silos are for grain, not brains. At many attractions, it’s difficult for staff to access the information they need to provide a seamless experience, causing disruptions between different departments and even in the guest experience. Our all-in-one management platform is a fully integrated system that enables parks to address this problem. It gives operators instant access to guest and transaction data, all in real-time. This brings all employees to one table where they can work together to maximize parking profits and the guest experience.
What advantages does this offer for operators?
Megan Fulbright: A truly integrated system can help resolve many pain points and frustrations. For example, if your ecommerce platform doesn’t talk to your point-of-sale software, there can be a lot of confusion in your ticketing and reporting. A platform like Konnect is a game changer. It’s a one-stop shop for optimizing revenue, simplifying ticketing, processing refunds, managing frontgate operations, assisting with guest satisfaction, and much more. This can help you create more efficient processes for selling and processing transactions throughout your facility, resulting in less employee frustration, shorter queues, etc. Ultimately, you’ll spend less time on tedious processes, which allows you to spend more time on areas of your business that are creatively more valuable. I like to say that it’s “tear-free” – giving the operator and guests the opportunity not to shed tears!
mother: There are many ways to gain efficiencies with the Connect&GO platform. For example, guests can sign waivers online before their visit and top up their virtual wallet without cash in advance. We also integrate many self-service technologies like Alvarado turnstiles and Olea kiosks, which can really help reduce the burden on staff.
What does that look like from the guest’s point of view?
mother: With Konnect, the guest-side component is customized for your customers. What they buy and what they do is stored in a digital wallet. It’s a very intuitive system. The fewer problems of this kind there are, the fewer hurdles an operator has with the guests.
Fulbright: A guest will never find out about Connect&GO. Their experience is that they are on the website of this park. On the operator’s side, you can see where guests spend money, not just in one park, but also in several parks. Guests experience a consistent shopping experience. Konnect’s e-commerce capabilities allow guests to pre-book everything they need for their park visit before they arrive, reducing entrance queues.
Can you give some examples of customers using the Connect&GO solution?
molter: WaTiki is an indoor water park within a four-hotel complex in South Dakota. Guests of the hotels will receive an RFID wristband with access to the park. A lot of people used to just walk onto the property; Access can now be controlled and monitored with the tapes. That alone has helped increase sales significantly. There is also an arcade attached to the water park where parents can send their kids upstairs with their wristbands to play arcade games. RFID can be read by a number of portals, including plastic and paper wristbands and smartphones.
Granby Zoo is also another great example of a client who has enhanced their program with our technology. Guests can access their digital wallets and interact with kiosks, not only for purchases but also for interpretive experiences at the exhibits, which can include games and videos. These activities can be modified over time to provide repeatability. The zoo collects this data and it becomes part of the CRM.
When you say the grass is greener with a technology partner who “gets it,” what does that actually mean to you?
Fulbright: Integrity and availability to our customers is very important. Understanding the guest journey as well as the operator experience is very important to us as we build strong relationships with our customers. We are committed to maintaining this level of service and it will not change as we grow. We really know our customers and know where they need more help.
mother: We have a customer success team skilled in courtesy and patience. It’s good. They are not reactive, they react.
Fulbright: We have found that customers are tired of backdoor solutions. We know nothing is perfect, but if we fix a problem, we will fix it. We stay up to date with the latest technology. Each team treats our clients as partners, whether in leadership, sales, customer success or product, this is reflected in our company culture – we all believe in the potential of our platform to revolutionize the attractions industry and we are committed to helping our clients to grow together
Ted, you come from the nonprofit sector. How can Connect&GO help non-profit organizations to achieve their mission?
mother: Just like a commercial operator, a non-profit operator wants to maximize its revenue. More revenue means more money for his mission. In the case of zoos, this could mean money for conservation initiatives in the wild. When we renamed what is now the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, it became something very different from a passive zoo. Your entry included your access to the park and a tram ride. We thought of other things we could do at an additional cost and on a time basis. Guests could pre-order online, bundle and set their times. No need to check in at a concierge desk. We’ve even added closed times in case they’re late. Konnect can handle such a scenario, and guests can add experiences through our on-site self-service kiosks.
Fulbright: The Konnect platform can help operators get the information they need to make impactful business decisions. For example, a park could instantly adjust the placement of its employees based on ticket sales, F&B and retail locations. And since our platform is cloud-based, the operator can view guest traffic from anywhere.
How does the system handle memberships or donor benefits for nonprofit organizations?
mother: Whether it’s a pass or a membership, the credentials are displayed in the digital wallet. You can add different discounts for different levels. All data flows into the CRM in real time, so the operator always has first-party data. Operators can set up campaigns to remind members when it’s time to renew, and members can easily log into their account online and manage their renewal themselves. Not every system makes this possible!
Does an operator have to use all components of the Konnect platform?
Megan: It’s up to the operator. You can use what you need and not use what you don’t need. Some customers even start with eCommerce and point-of-sale and later decide for a cashless expansion. Others use RFID right away. That’s the great thing about our platform – it’s extremely flexible. Our team will help you understand how best to adapt the system to your needs now and in the future.
To schedule a demonstration of the Connect&GO all-in-one attraction management platform, click hereor visit booth 2036 at IAAPA Expo 2022 in Orlando November 15-18.