Virtual Queuing in 2021

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Burbs, 9th Feb 2021.

  1. Burbs

    Burbs TowersStreet Team Team Member

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    According to the the Merlin Careers website, it seems that Alton Towers are considering introducing a virtual queue system to the park for 2021, as it's mentioned as part of the linked job description.

    Personally I hope it either a) doesn't get introduced at all, b) doesn't last long, or c) isn't compulsory. A number of us experienced mandatory Fast Lane at Walibi Holland last year, which was frankly awful and made the waiting times far longer than they would ordinarily have been. Additionally the rides that didn't have Fast Lane had physical lines far longer than usual considering everyone queuing for one of the 8 Fast Lane rides was also either wandering the park/sitting around/in a queue for another ride simultaneously.

    Considering the park seemed to cope last year with circa 10,000 guests a day, I don't really see why this is necessary. Perhaps they're just wanting to be seen to be doing something.
     
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    Posted 9th Feb 2021
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  2. Thameslink Rail

    Thameslink Rail TowersStreet Member

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    Really Alton Towers just needs more filler rides and shows.
    Whilst the park was doing 10000 a day, there were still a lot of people who couldn't get tickets (particularly MAPs)
     
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    Posted 9th Feb 2021
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  3. D4n

    D4n TowersStreet Member

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    I wouldn't mind it. Would end up spending most of the day in the Tavern I suspect.

    That said, I would have thought the system could only work effectively where there are lots of shows and filler rides.

    Pirates of Mutiny Bay is long overdue a comeback, for one.
     
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    Posted 9th Feb 2021
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  4. Ted

    Ted TowersStreet Member

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    I did the version at Walibi Holland as you mentioned and I wasn't too keen on it. It kinda works, but it just like a massive faff and having rerode Goliath a few times in a row by doing this, it felt tedious...Perhaps it may be a bit better at Towers because of the park's size, but we shall see if it goes ahead.
     
    Posted 10th Feb 2021
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  5. Connor98

    Connor98 TowersStreet Member

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    Not a fan of this idea at all. As mentioned above, they coped just fine in my opinion last season... so to introduce this now would be a bit strange. Also Makes re riding coasters more hassle than it should be.
     
    Posted 10th Feb 2021
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  6. Ian

    Ian TS Site Team Team Member

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    I’m not adverse to a well implemented system for virtual queuing. Last year we made use of the one at Europa with rather great success. It allowed us to get on around an extra 4-5 rides per day I’d say.

    Towers have size on their side, in that there’s plenty of space for people not in queues to congregate on these lower crowd days (E.G 10k) and indeed I can see something like this going down rather well at an event like Oktoberfest. Guests will be able to take time to enjoy the entertainment, food and drink without feeling like they’re missing out on ride time that they’ve paid for.

    Takeaways from the EP system I’d say are:
    • It needs to be optional, with the choice to stand in the main line still available
    • It needs to be simple. No choice on time, you get offered one time slot and you either take it or leave it and hope something new comes up
    • Proper checking is needed at ride entrances to prevent abuse. Europa issued their staff smartphones to scan and verify the QR code on your screen with and actively asked people to wait if you were even just 30 seconds early
    • Timeslots need to be dynamic based on current times. We had a few instances at EP where a ride would suddenly become available for immediate boarding or within the next few minutes, despite the ride earlier having no availability at all or until later in the day. I’m guessing this was as people used or didn’t show up for their slots the system re-added them to the allocation if the virtual line was empty

    Where I think Towers may come unstuck is the lack of alternative flat and dark ride capacity not using virtual queueing. The size of the park may work in its favour (better than some of the implementations we’ve seen before), but if you offer virtual queuing on seven major coasters you still only really have Blade and Enterprise available as similar scale substitutes.
     
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    Posted 10th Feb 2021
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  7. Rob

    Rob TS Forum Team Team Member

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    Virtual queues can work, but it depends how they are operated. I think it works well as a fastrack option but not as an option for anyone who wants to go on the rides.

    Six Flags use virtual queue (Flash Pass) for their fastrack system. There are three different levels; regular, gold and platinum. Regular means you wait the time of the physical queue, gold lets you cut your wait time by up to 50% and platinum lets you cut your wait time by up to 90%. So it is a flexible system and you can pay for the level that suits your needs that particular day. And because most people in the park do not have it there are still plenty of people in the queue lines, which is essential in a theme park.

    A perfect example of how it does not work is Volcano Bay when it first opened. Their virtual queue system was mandatory for all guests as they did not want to have people waiting in lines for all the slides. Nice idea, in theory. However this meant that the virtual queues for the most popular slides were very long, and there was very little you could actually do whilst waiting for your turn. Pretty sure they made changes to this after a while, although I'm not sure what those changes were.

    If Towers are going for a virtual queue system then I hope it replaces fastrack. If it is mandatory for all guests then I hope they have properly thought it through otherwise you are going to have thouasands of people milling around the park waiting to go on a ride.
     
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    Posted 10th Feb 2021
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  8. Skyscraper

    Skyscraper TowersStreet Member

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    Wonder how the Virtual queue will affect RAP? RAP is essentially a paper-based version of that.
     
    Posted 10th Feb 2021
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  9. tayspru

    tayspru TowersStreet Member

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    Isn’t it entirely likely that this virtual queue is just a replacement for RAP? The amount of people congregating was becoming a distancing nightmare with the current system in place. A virtual queue would also completely change the “free fastpass” perception of RAP and could cut down on the abuse
     
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    Posted 10th Feb 2021
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  10. Skyscraper

    Skyscraper TowersStreet Member

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    That's a really good point actually, We'll have to wait and see. Remember that not everyone has a smartphone/is good with technology though.
     
  11. imanautie

    imanautie TowersStreet Member

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    Yes (points at Legoland windsor)
     
  12. Skyscraper

    Skyscraper TowersStreet Member

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    I doubt it will just be for RAP. they might include it somehow though.
     
  13. John

    John TowersStreet Member

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    Surely if fastrack and RAP are both replaced by a virtual queue system similar to Legoland/Six Flags then anyone using RAP literally has free fastrack..?
     
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  14. Ian

    Ian TS Site Team Team Member

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    If you introduce a standard virtual queue offering have you not essentially removed the need for RAP? It’s essentially achieving the same thing, having guests wait a period of time without actually standing in line or navigating a queue. It just may be that those guests may still use a separate entrance and may still be required to wear a wristband or similar to denote when additional support from the ride teams may be needed.

    Of course, that would rely upon virtual queue being made available for attractions, unless you were to introduce a system whereby those requiring RAP-type access are able to book the additional rides which aren’t available as part of the mainstream virtual queue service (which would be more complicated but not beyond the realms of possibility).
     
  15. Thameslink Rail

    Thameslink Rail TowersStreet Member

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    The Legoland system is
    1. You reserve a ride
    2. You wait the queue time
    3. You ride it
    The problem with that is Legoland is known to exaggerate queue times so you are likely to wait more on RAP than actually queuing.
     
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  16. imanautie

    imanautie TowersStreet Member

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    Yes and no, for some like myself a fully virtual queue for all rides if properly managed would probably work, for others the seperate queues are still beneficial (to an extent I would prefer them seperate)⁸
     
  17. tayspru

    tayspru TowersStreet Member

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    I can’t see Towers or Merlin doing away with the current (extremely lucrative) paid service that is in place , all I’m suggesting is this could just be a new way to manage RAP numbers, and won’t lead to changes in the current standby and fastrack process
     
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  18. imanautie

    imanautie TowersStreet Member

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    They can still do a paid service, just have it so the timeouts are shorter if you pay, they could even let you book a ride then upsell "instant sccess' passes or something like that.
     
  19. John

    John TowersStreet Member

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    If VQ replaced fastrack it'll be a paid service, RAP would almost certainly use the basic tier for free. I'm hoping they don't go with a free compulsory VQ for the reasons Tom explained
     
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  20. tayspru

    tayspru TowersStreet Member

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    The trouble is there just isn’t enough attractions at Towers for this to be a successful model. As an adult, there’s virtually nothing to do besides the thrill rides , so you’d get lots of guests milling around . At the other end of the spectrum the children’s rides don’t have the capacity to offer any meaningful FastPass service

    we shall see what happens , but I can’t envisage a full virtual replacement for FT any time soon at Towers
     

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