Words by Dhimant Bakshi
Delivering a memorable and impactful experience is now about more than simply offering a fun time. Today’s consumer is expecting a personalized experience at every step. Theme and amusement parks are no exception. Evolution of this industry from mere rides powered by technology to technology being the core of highly engaging and immersive attractions is evident globally and in India too.
From relying solely on screens and displays to technological innovations providing the thrills and perfecting the fantasies; the shift has been colossal. Audiovisual technology has now very much become part of the fabric and DNA of the modern theme parks. Undeniably, physical and digital experiences are deeply intertwined, not isolated. Imagicaa is creating and enhancing customer experiences using technology.
Elevating the Guest Experience using innovative technology
Imagicaa has a very novel attraction named “Wrath of Gods”, based on Indian mythology in an eloquently themed indoor environment. It offers guests 12 minutes of interesting and immersive experience; triggered with Wind, Water, Fire, and audio action-visual effects.
When launched in 2013, the show control system was an Integrated Media Server (IMS) with Windows XP operating system. Over the years, with technological advancement in computer systems, the installed hardware and the operating systems were rendered obsolete. A major challenge faced was the show disruption due to the unavailability of the hardware spare parts and the obsolete operating system.
With expertise delivered by a Netherlands based team, Wrath of Gods has been successfully upgraded and integrated with show action and effects equipment (SAE, SFX), and audiovisual systems. Presently, the robust Alcorn McBride show controller has taken the place of IMS for delivering a seamless and thrilling experience of WOG. The migration from the Windows based media server to a show controller has improved the sustainability of the system and also with better visibility of the time based individual program queue sequence and troubleshooting. Unified experience is the key, delivered through cross-pollination of technology, content, and data.
Creative crowd management strategies have effectively reduced or eliminate stress for guest and staff alike. Particularly as the world moves on from an era unlike any we’ve ever seen, guests will have higher expectations on their end-to-end customer journey, including in-park experiences.
Technology can help exponentially by eliminating bottlenecks and addressing one of the most common guest complaints—long ticketing queue lines and high ride wait-times. Imagicaa has introduced the e-ticketing system that allows guests to scan the barcode and enter the park, thereby minimizing crowding and increasing enjoyment time. The New Year’s Bash of 2022 was a perfect example of the e-ticketing system facilitating seamless entries for varied category tickets.
Guest engagement powered by theme park special events
Anyone who knows the Indian theme and amusement park landscape is aware that most event productions are planned out ahead of time. Work often begins three to six months in advance, or more, especially when considering global theme parks. Yet Imagicaa has been able to pivot quickly and produce special events, thanks to the uniquely talented and creative staff, including those who can repurpose resources to try newer things.
Going forward, the lessons learned during 2022 will play a valuable role in the outlook for the upcoming year. Reflecting back at all the events and ideations over the last year, they can only grow bigger and better. The biggest lesson learnt is that the smallest of ideas can become the biggest of successes.
Imagicaa shall continue scaling up its endeavour to offer an entertainment encompassed differentiated yet indulgent/immersive experience in 2023. From dazzling events, concerts and parades, to colourful seasonal celebrations, one can expect to experience family-friendly festivities and fun like no other at Imagicaa this year. For example, it entails playing up the various holidays to introducing newer innovative experiences, including newer themed food and beverage experiences that will benefit the business in entirety.
We are beginning this effort with hosting the longest ever Holi Bash for the first time ever, spanning 5 days post which the focus shall majorly shift towards celebrating 10 years of Imagicaa entertaining guests, and the addition of innovative after-hours experience. The second half of the year will witness a plethora of renewed festivities, leading up to the much awaited New Year’s Bash. There’s a lot to look forward to at Imagicaa this year for everyone.
Dhimant Bakshi is the CEO of Imagicaaworld Entertainment Limited. An Alumnus of INSEAD (SG), he is a result-oriented, motivated, lean-thinking, and profitability oriented professional with a proven track record. His career spans over 29+ years in retail and entertainment businesses across organisations, such as Shoppers’ Stop, Future Group, Reliance Retail, Globus, and Imagicaa.