It’s unsurprising that smaller amusement parks usually find it difficult to compete with larger theme parks in terms of budget for marketing, so many of them often have to find innovative solutions to attract visitors.
Sommerland Sjælland, a Denmark amusement park located in Odsherred on Zealand, found its answer in mobile applications. But unlike the information- or location-based features (finding your way around, for example) typically found in those applications, Sommerland Sjælland‘s mobile applications allows visitors to actually interact and control exhibits through their phones.
The brainchild of Sommerland Sjælland owner Kaare Dyvekaer, the mobile applications – on iPhone and Android – allow visitors, for example, to use your mobile phone as an online remote control to fire a water cannon at a pirate ship in the middle of the lake (or fellow visitors who are passing by in canoes). You can even feed goats and rabbits or activate smoke on a train while going through a jungle via SMS.
“We want to make use of the things that the guests bring with them on their visit, and thereby let the guests make their own surprises for each other,” says Kaare Dyvekaer, owner and managing director of Sommerland Sjælland. “Instead of being passive guests, our mobile activities make the guests use their phones to activate and interact with each other in new ways.”
Dyvekaer adds that visitor usage of his mobile applications have grown over the years, as people get accustomed to such technology used in different, innovative areas. “When we first started the mobile activities with Telesplash (water cannon via mobile remote control) back in 2005, only a few guests dared to try,” he recalls. “Today we see the opposite picture, and thousands are using in particular our SMS activities and app for smartphones.”
The theme park, which saw some 137,000 visitors in 2010, earlier this month unveiled a new app, the Fidy Guide. The app basically combines all of the interactions you can have at the theme park as well as provide service information. GPS-controlled service messages guide you on your way through the park, based on your location. Through the app you can find out about the history of an attraction, time for a show, offers in the nearest shop and eating place, gifts etc. Visitors can even locate secret zones that reward their effort with a bottle of water, a candy stick or some other gift.
“We hope that our ideas can be an inspiration to the rest of the tourism industry in Denmark,” says Dyvekaer. “Our mobile ideas are not isolated for use in Sommerland Sjælland, but can also be used by local tourist offices, museums etc.”