The Specialist Buyers Guide for the Theme Park Industry


Vantage and Island H2O Live! win Leading Edge Award


Vantage is excited to announce that they have won a World Waterpark Association Leading Edge Award for their work on Island H2O Live! water park in Kissimmee, Florida. The company has been recognized, alongside parent company WhiteWater, Horizon Waterpark LCC, Innovative Attraction Management, and Aquatic Development Group, who all contributed to Florida’s most immersive and state-of-the-art water park.

The park, which opened in June, uses Vantage’s guest engagement and operational optimization platform to help it stand out from the crowd in a fiercely competitive water park market. “We are thrilled that Island H2O Live! is the recipient of a Leading Edge award, the team there have worked tirelessly to make this new concept of a water park a reality and are very deserving of this recognition,” said Phil Edgell, Vantage’s President.

Vantage at Island H2O Live!

At Island H2O Live!, the Vantage system works through the Vantage app that guests download either before they arrive or when they get to the park. Upon arrival, guests are given a Vantage Smart Band which allows them to utilize the park’s technology and engage their social networks through the app.

If guests do not want to use their smart phones, there are kiosks located throughout the park where they can tap their Smart Band to create their own in-park experiences with customizable themes and playlists while on attractions, share memorable moments on social media instantly, locate their friends, find out which attractions have shorter queue lines, and much more.

The Vantage app also allows guests to earn points that can be redeemed throughout the park. This includes loyalty points assigned to each of the rides that can be used towards prizes such as free food, beverages, and retail items. “We offer a new layer of experiences with the ability to personalize the guest’s day,” says Aaron Mendelson, Director of Customer Success and Product Innovation at Vantage. He continued, that’s almost an expectation at theme parks, and now we’re bringing it to water parks.”

All of the guest behaviour data that Vantage captures at the park can be seen in real time by the operations staff, allowing them to see current attendance, including total entrances and exits, dispatch rates, guest dispersal and dwell times, and queue times, all from their phones via Vantage’s Operators App. Vantage offers a rare win-win scenario for both operator and guest by creating an additional layer of insight and customization for both parties.

How Vantage is building smarter parks

Island H20 Live! was the perfect fit for a disruptive product like Vantage. At this high-tech water park, one of the major points of differentiation for the ownership was to be a technologically advanced park. The ownership felt that creating a location where a guest could share their day by effortlessly posting to social media allowed for a way of sharing memories and creating a more viral way of spreading the word about their unique experiences, promoting the park.

The genesis of Vantage was born out of other products that Vantage’s parent company, WhiteWater, had developed in their almost 40 years of creating the world’s leading water park products. By creating a digital layer over the physical guest experience and empowering to have more control over performance, Vantage is building a differentiator for each park.

“Vantage is a holistic park system designed to empower guests to personalize and plan their visits while driving optimized park operations with real-time data and better-informed planning,” said Edgell. He continued, “hardware and software work in tandem to improve the running of a park while simultaneously elevating the guests’ experiences—each side of this equation helps to make the other better in a virtuous circle.”

On the hardware side, it all starts with Vantage’s Smart Bands that use a combination of long-range and short-range RFID. The short-range functionality is not new to park technology, it’s what allows parks to track guest actions when they tag up on a reader. From the guest’s perspective, it means they can gain access to a ride or see information related to themselves when tapping a station. How Vantage differs however, is that it also uses long-range RFID. Now a park is also able to capture passive guest behaviour and see what direction guests circulate through a park, where they tend to dwell, heat maps of demographic clusters, and more. This is all tracked through a series of readers strategically located around a venue.

On the software side, guests have access to a park-branded mobile app and kiosks placed throughout the park; both have the same functionality. Here, guests can complete their profiles, choose their music and themes for when they’re riding slides, find their family and friends, plus a whole host of other features.

The operators’ mobile app is they can see real-time information such as attendance, guest locations, and ride performance. They will also receive push notifications alerting them to attractions issues, missing children, and long lines. In the office, there’s an operator portal that has all the functionality of the app plus access to historical data, reporting functionality, and a single view into all of a park’s vendors and departments. Explains Mendelson, “Vantage tells the operator, for example, how many wrist bands went down a ride in the last 10 minutes, along with other information related to ride usage, throughput, demographics, staffing, and maintenance.”

Vantage was designed with an open architecture to take advantage of systems and products already available on the market, as well as ones not yet developed. In this way, Vantage functions as an agnostic platform, and can be programmed to work with virtually any product on the market. It can use a park’s POS data to show how many burgers have been sold over the past month, then overlay customer demographics, weather, and attendance, for a single view into how different aspects of a park are performing. It’s no longer a manual process of exporting data and pasting it into spreadsheets.

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