Going Beyond the Thrill

Dhimant Bakshi,Joint CEO, Adlabs EntertainmentDhimant Bakshi an alumnus of INSEAD (SG) is a result oriented, motivated, lean thinking, profitability oriented professional with proven track record. His career spans over 25 years in Retail and Entertainment Businesses across organizations such as Shoppers'Stop, Future Group, Reliance Retail, Globus and Adlabs.

Over the past decade, the travel and tourism industry has witnessed a major transformation. Previously, the travel sector was limited to an annual family outing is now being defined by two factors time availability and variety of experiences. Bucket lists are becoming increasingly goal oriented as travelers continue to seek bespoke experiences, going beyond the traditional sightseeing. While unique experiences remain a priority, outdoor activities are now taking center stage, especially among millennial travelers with social media content as the central stimulus.

Penetration of digital world is so extensive with easy on-the-go access to information, right at your fingertips. And with the advent of the digital world social interaction and physical form of leisure have taken a backseat. Simply put, it disconnects us from the real world.This has opened up vast opportunities for activity based segments like camping, trekking, hiking, theme or amusement parks, etc. Digital detox i.e. striking a balance between the digital and realworld in an environment friendly place has increasingly become the need of the hour.

Theme or amusement parks provide the much needed fun quotient and physical engagement under one roof. Being the perfect mix of entertainment and leisure, they are being preferred as they act as a perfect getaway to breakaway from the digital world while keeping real world interactions alive. However, a complete escape from technology is inevitable. Therefore, all entertainment destinations are combining multi sensory, multi directional immersive technology with outdoor rides to create a universe of unparalleled experiences. Such `one-of-a-kind', innovative experiential led moments are expected to grow at a rapid pace and resonate strongly, in the years to come.

Currently,'Thrill and Fun'is the prima
facie of any amusement or themed entertainment destination. Guests do speculate on the park's safety aspect triggering the decision making process to visit. And any parks onus is to ensure guests have a memorable experience without compromising enjoyment quotient arising from safety concerns. Safety and security precautionary measures, therefore, remain at the helm of things.

Guests do speculate on the park's safety aspect triggering the decision-making process to visit

In the wake of the recent amusement park incidents across India, it has become paramount to educate guests and rebuild assurance.

The first step towards creation of a secure park environment while trying to meet the thrillseeking demands is procurement of quality rides from acclaimed manufacturers like Zamperla or Bollinger & Mallibard. Any park's responsibilities do not end here. Post installation of rides, adherence of routine standard operating procedures by the technical team including ride engineers is critical. Hence every morning before the guests arrive, `Lock Out Tag Out' process needs to be followed for all rides and attractions. Safe Handover process is considered complete to make ride operational when the ride engineering department, park electrical maintenance team, operation and safety and security departments sign off the daily checklist. And in the event of any fault detection, raising a flag to all concerned departments and reporting the incident in log books is necessary.

Making this daily operational procedure robust at Imagica is an inhouse customized engineering maintenance module integrated with ERP software called INFOR. The system generates the scheduled maintenance check list of all rides as per the inputs fed, captures daily maintenance details along with the inventory used.'Material requisition' and 'material issue' is done via INFOR to track maintenance cost and consumable usage.

Further, regular third-party audits are instrumental in reviewing the existing condition of any rides and making recommendations to the owner. Apart from this, the annual rehabilitation and maintenance process is essential in determining the overall health of each ride. This helps identify the severity of repair as every ride or attraction in their dynamic state is subjected to varied tests like buoyancy, friction, brakes, etc. It is highly recommended that industry players evaluate all maintenance and repair parameters set forth by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and NACE International.

During ride operational time, staff training is a major factor in guaranteeing guests a good experience without them having to worry about their safety. Proper functionality checks of restraint systems like harnesses, seat belts implemented before ride start instill confidence in the guests about the safety and security regulations in place. Additionally, the staff training provided is symbolic of the importance levied in the achievement of this objective by the park operator.

At an industry level,taskforce comprising government bodies, IAAPI and seasoned park operators together can raise awareness and re-instilling assurance to the masses. Deliverance of these safety and security measures thus requires and encompasses a cohesive approach and multi tiered efforts to educate the masses at both, park and industry level.