If you have trouble managing all the different barcode formats your guests bring with them to gain entrance into your activity or attraction, you are not alone.
Over the years, in the attractions and activities space, a most unwanted and unwelcome problem has been festering. Operators who had expanded their sales channels beyond direct bookings began having to process multiple different barcodes or QR codes (sometimes all of these different formats may be called “admissions media”) from their various channel partners, and not all these codes could be scanned by the same device, scanning app, or installed software. Admissions staff had a growing collection of scanning devices, mobile phones, or tablets just to validate all their guests’ vouchers. Not only have all these devices cluttered-up entranceways, but they’ve become more and more confusing and time-consuming to manage. On top of all this, some activities still also have to contend with old-school paper vouchers. These paper vouchers have nothing to scan, no protection from fraud, but have to be saved and counted so the operator can collect its revenue from its respective channel partner. So in addition to the operator’s on-site official booking and ticket redemption system that the admission staff uses, that same staff now has to also keep track of multiple scanning devices, possibly a webcam, and the occasional piece of paper, all to just process their third-party sales. If you’re an operator, you’re probably thinking, “What a royal pain!”
This clunky and cumbersome redemption system puts a whole lot of faith in a lot of moving parts: that your front office staffer uses the right device; that the software for every device is accurately validating the voucher; that the paper printed vouchers you take in aren’t fraudulent, get properly saved, turned in, and collected upon. All this disarray may undermine your guest’s first in-person experience upon arriving at your activity or attraction.
Mama Mia! In this digitized, touch-free, contactless age, this fragmented process holds little appeal to anyone. Your customers don’t want to get too bogged down checking-in and your staffers don’t want to touch paper vouchers or devices that have been in someone else’s hands.
Too Many Barcodes Creates Too Many Headaches
No operator sets out to have “the barcode problem.” Barcode scanning in the attractions or activities market is a relatively recent phenomenon. In fact, it wasn’t until 2005 that airlines – the earliest adopters of barcodes in the travel sector – began printing them on boarding passes, and early adopter Walt Disney World didn’t begin using barcode scanners until 2011! Back in those early days, operators weren’t thinking about the hassle of having and “ingesting” too many different barcodes and scanning devices – they were just thrilled to have a better solution to plain paper tickets or vouchers.
But the reality is that having so many different codes to ingest is like having a team of admissions staff who all speak different languages, and no one understands one another. Each barcode that needs to be scanned with a different device or software is speaking a different language. For a guest’s ticket to be validated and that guest to be admitted into your attraction or activity, the admissions staffer has to deal with all these different “languages.”
Where your guest even finds and accesses the admissions media may be further confusing…
- Is it in the OTA app on their phone?
- Is it in their email confirmation?
- Did the guest take a screenshot of the code and save it in their phone’s Photos app?
- Did they print it out…and did they print out all the information that you require in order to validate and redeem the ticket with your respective reseller?
Your entire admissions process may be slowed down because of this, creating a sub-optimal guest experience and first impression of your business. Your guests may become agitated and start to complain. Unhappy guests who take their frustration out on your admissions staff can create a very real employee retention problem for you. Admissions staff making minimum wage simply don’t want to be screamed at on a daily basis, particularly when they know they can move on and easily find a comparable earning position elsewhere right now. Is this a problem you want to lose trained staff over?
Your stressed staffer may also just ask the guest to take and send a picture of their ticket to your operations desk to allow the guest to enter your attraction. But that ticket is now technically unvalidated and creates further issues for you to reconcile your sales and invoice your resellers for the payment they owe you. This also inhibits your ability to protect against fraudulent redemptions. Is this what you had in mind when you conceived of growing your business?
This unexpected problem is not your fault. Because operators today are still at the early stages of working with multiple resellers, the problem of having too many barcodes doesn’t become evident until after they’ve contracted with several resellers, and by then it’s too late. The discussion about admissions media typically does not happen enough. If it did, at the time of OTA contract negotiations you could give yourself the advantage regarding barcode redemptions. Instead of merely accepting the OTA’s or reseller’s own admissions media, you could dictate that the reseller use your single admissions media. By doing so, you would be taking control back over a very real component of your daily business operations.
One Language: The Benefits of Consolidating Your Barcodes
The solution to the problem of too many barcodes might now seem obvious: consolidate. Can you even do this? Yes! Most resellers can use the barcodes that are produced and distributed from your existing booking system. This ensures that the format is one that your scanning devices and staff already know. Ideally, these are picked up at the time of booking through an API integration, but even if the reseller is unable to connect, you can provide your bulk barcodes for them to use. But can you do this with online resellers? That’s a bit trickier. The first step will be for you to speak with your reseller partner to determine whether their system can support bulk barcode upload (also called “ingestion”). If they can, then you’ll want to create a batch allocation of your tickets. That batch needs to have just one barcode format, and you provide inventory from this batch to all your resellers to use. Using barcodes from your ticketing system ensures they are all the same format and can all be recognized by your devices. Then, for this one barcode format, you just have one kind of scanning and validation device. This simplifies admissions for your entire staff.
Barcode Consolidation Can Be Easy!
If you’re unable or not sure how to consolidate your admissions media, Redeam can help! Whether your ticket or reservation booking system is already integrated with Redeam or not (or even if you don’t have a booking system), you can work with us to take advantage of the benefits of consolidating your barcodes. Redeam’s technology will utilize batch ticketing — yours or our own – and our reseller integrations to distribute a single kind of barcode to associate with their confirmations of your ticket sales. Once you have a single format of admissions media being distributed to your reseller network, you can have confidence that the same format of barcode you distribute to your customers directly, also carries over to your third-party sellers. This will unify the format and allow your preferred scanning device to ingest all guests’ tickets upon arrival regardless of the origination of their booking. You will also be able to accurately reconcile validated tickets with your resellers for reimbursement. In other words, one barcode, one device, one validation, one reconciliation system. This solution so simplifies things for you, you can probably already see all its benefits:
- More control over the reseller redemption
- Requires fewer scanning devices to be used, maintained, and stored at day’s end.
- More control over ticket validation
- Reduction in fraud
- Better customer experience and confidence in your business
- Improved multi-departmental employee experience and retention, which
- Reduces strain on front-office/admissions staff
- Reduces the number of inventory lists that your Sales team needs to keep track of
- Better for IT/Tech team, who typically get called when technology devices stop working properly
- Better for Operations, who don’t have to worry about all these processes being employed correctly
- Better for HR – they don’t have to fill positions from unnecessary turnover created by too-many-barcodes frustration
For these many benefits, the Redeam solution is an incredibly simplified, cost effective one.
Do you suffer from too many barcodes right now and want to dig out from under? Or have you just started working with online resellers and want to avoid a future with barcode headaches? Fear not! Just reach out to Redeam today to have a conversation with one of our helpful representatives.