Facility Profile - April 2014
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Theme Parks

Pay and Go
Dorney Park in Allentown, Pa.

By Dawn Klingensmith

Messaging targeted season pass holders to "train them first" as the likeliest adopters, Fehnel said. Messaging to pass holders and to the general public was kept simple and consistent. The key message, after a good deal of brainstorming, was the value statement, "Quick and easy way to pay." Staff underwent training to reinforce this key value statement and answer any questions guests have about the program.

"This was not just a marketing department effort. Every department had a hand in implementing the program," said park communications manager Carrie Basta.

The park offers three types of wristbands featuring custom FastPay branding, including silicone, thermal and plastic for both seasonal and single-day passes. On top of targeted messaging, pass holders received a 10 percent bonus added to their initial prepayment as an incentive to try out the wristband, which likely encouraged people to shell out more money upfront. Leftover balances are not a problem with the reusable wristbands because they never expire and there's no monthly fee for carrying a balance. And the silicone wristbands have been designed and thoroughly tested to withstand the rigors of regular waterpark use plus additional abuses like going through the washing machine and clothes dryer.

Dorney Park, a combination amusement park and waterpark, dates back to 1884 when it first opened as a summer resort. Cedar Parks acquired it in 1992. Dorney Park is one of the largest amusement parks in the Northeastern United States, serving a total market area of about 35 million people. For the 2014 season, the park will unveil the Snake Pit, consisting of six waterslides and bringing the park's total to 26.

The park offers plenty of concessions and retail to capitalize on wristband use, including the usual refreshment stands and souvenir shops along with specialty retail and restaurants where guests can buy custom and airbrushed apparel, licensed Peanuts merchandise, pop culture collectibles, sushi and beer.

Looking forward, park management hopes to expand the wristband's capabilities to include ticketing so season pass holders don't need to bring a card.

Already, the program has brought "a lot of benefits to the park," Fehnel said, "but most of the benefits are guest-focused."

Dorney Park: www.dorneypark.com