Merlin Entertainments installed a basic parking system in 2009 across several of their UK parks. 10 years on, they issued a tender to update the method of operation with a more integrated and technologically advanced solution using License Plate Reading (LPR, or ANPR).
Merlin wanted a smooth guest experience whilst also getting the most out of their parking assets. It was important for them that the user experience be easy, quick, and efficient, whilst reducing any potentially lost revenue.
The most critical integration would be with Merlin’s existing ticketing system Accesso. HUB JMS software is able to process access data and provide analytics back on each parking ticket, when it was used and the duration of the visit. This data was previously not gathered, and now provide solid statistics for the Merlin team on their visitor behavior patterns.
In 2020 HUB Parking Technology announced a global framework agreement with Merlin Entertainments, a global leader in location-based, family entertainment. As one of the world’s largest attraction operators, they create and deliver memorable, immersive brand experiences for millions of guests.
Their parks include Alton Towers, Thorpe Park, Chessington World of Adventures, Legoland New York Resort, and Legoland Windsor Resort. The vehicle traffic to these parks varies during the week and the year, with highest peaks during the school holidays.
Legoland had high expectations following the success of the Thorpe Park system: the parking solution has worked extremely well, the parking asset has improved traffic flow, giving visitors a smoother and touchless experience. The HUB solution has generated a huge amount of revenue that had previously been lost at exit, and the park operators were also able to utilize very detailed tangible data from the analytics software.
HUB UK team analyzed the existing flow of the car park, the traffic flows, the drivers behavior, and the management policies of the park itself, to assess the most suitable infrastructure with 2 entries and 4 exit lanes. The team also advised on system configuration and operational practices, to aide in a smoother experience for special user types, such as coaches, buses and taxi.
Along with the operational challenges of the site, Merlin and in turn Legoland challenged HUB to ensure that the user experience was not just smooth, but also gave the same user experience across the whole estate. This meant that HUB had to adapt the technical specification to take into account the operational layout of the park, and also to ensure that all annual passes that crossed sites could be used: the system thus has strong connections with all databases to their third party providers.
The car park system is composed of 2 free flow LPR entries and 4 barriered exits with lane exit units, LPR cameras, and Chip & Pin.
Three access methods are available for users: on-site admission, online booking, and on-site mobile solution. Whichever are the admission and payment preferences, the park ticket (or pass) is always associated to the license plate of the visitor, that is captured once their vehicle is transiting through the entry lane.
The ticket and payment data are securely sent via an API link between the digital ticketing platform and HUB Parking system database.
Further to the system being able to transact as above, HUB has worked with Merlin to ensure that all pre booked tickets capture not only the license plate but a QR code is also generated for the guest. This enables them to scan the QR should there be any issues with the LPR capture, so that the guest is able to leave the car park with no issues or delay.
Legoland Windsor onsite team were fully trained on the system, allowing for a smooth transition to the new technology. This training consisted of multiple levels, from basic customer service operational training through to full system management and analytics.
In fact, HUB’s JMS management software allows frontline integration to various access control and LPR, parking guidance systems and CCTV, giving car park operators a vast array of tools. Integrating with Business Management Systems already in place, JMS also gives such in-depth information down to how much wattage is being used by a single bulb.
JMS reporting functionality integrates into other Business Information tools such as Tableau, Google Analytics, Amazon Analytics and many more. These tools allow operators to better profile assets in understanding statistics like length of stay, arrival, best tariff patterns, and much more: all leading to better opportunities.