Long Beach, NY Digitizes its Passes with Yodel

Long Beach, NY Digitizes its Passes with Yodel
Erik July 14, 2021

The City of Long Beach, New York sought a technology solution backed by trusted partners to digitize its beach pass sale and distribution system, seeking to improve their internal management efficiencies and reduce wait times for beachgoers during peak visitation times.

 

The city selected Yodel Pass because of its simplicity, safety and security.

Simplicity: App-driven digital wallet with easy purchase

Safety: Contactless buying in the Covid era

Security: Multi-factor Authentication and Shifting QR codes

The YodelPass solution was in place for the busy Memorial Day weekend to kick-off summer and allowed the city to process nearly $80,000 in beach passes in its first three weeks – at NO COST to the city.

Learn how simple it was for Long Beach to onboard Yodel Pass and how intuitive the experience is for the city’s diverse set of beachgoers.


“This is an exciting step forward for the City,” said Long Beach City Council President, John Bendo. “Residents and visitors alike can now avoid the lines and not stress about losing their passes.

The digital passes will also improve operational and management capabilities for the City, especially as we are still dealing with some COVID-related restrictions.”

 

THE BACKGROUND: DIGITIZING BEACH ACCESS

Lines that stretched far too long.

Beachgoers losing their passes.

Paper processes that complicated tracking reliable sales metrics.

And cumbersome systems to communicate with customers.

City leaders in Long Beach, New York were facing a host of problems familiar to parks and recreation managers across North America at the end of the unprecedented summer of 2020.

The pandemic had prompted record demand for outdoor activities, and the city knew from internal and customer anecdotes that they had room to improve their beach pass management operations.

Or face more frustrated customers…. and possible declining sales.

The rise of mobile applications that streamline payment, business analytics, and customer communications drove the city to issue a request for proposal (RFP) to solicit vendors which had significant experience working with parks and recreation departments and a commitment to customer success.

The city ultimately selected Yodel Pass due to the partner company’s more than 20 years of success deploying and supporting technology platforms for public agencies.

US eDirect today serves dozens of government departments with digital solutions designed to save time and money and improve the visitor user experience and is a strategic partner to deliver Yodel Pass.

 

THE CRITERIA: SETTING THEIR CONDITIONS FOR SUCCESS

City officials recognized much of the success of any digital upgrade will occur well before the vendor is selected.

Understanding what features and functions they needed for their internal team, and their customers were crucial in creating a winning RFP.

Equally important was deciding what NOT to include in their desired solution.

“We see the greatest success from our clients when they are precise in what they need and in what they don’t need, understanding that while more features are nice they can often complicate the process and make it harder for their end customer to leverage the solution,” said Pragati Krishan, Product Manager, Yodel Pass.

“By focusing intensely on the features that will deliver the greatest return on investment, public agencies can reduce the development and deployment time and likely increase the likelihood of their customers successfully adopting the solution.”

While it may seem nice to try to create a digital solution that answers every need, focusing on a few key deliverables can help the odds of success.”

Long Beach focused on the following key features:

· Allow the resident/visitor to purchase a season or daily pass that include senior, veteran, child and adult passes sold in both resident and non-resident varieties

· Sell economy passes (10 packs) for both resident and non-resident daily passes

· Collect only the minimum information required to complete a financial transaction

· Reporting and analytics of pass purchases and usage

· Platform works in on- and off-line in areas with limited cellular reception and possible network downtime

· Set the maximum number of passes available to sell and a warning system to alert the user and city administrators the maximum number of passes available is approaching.

· Limit the number of seasonal passes sold to each household

· Delivers security protections to integrate with the city’s banking system

· Captures contact information of the visitor to facilitate contact by email, text or other application means, for marketing or relevant notifications.

Yodel Pass suggests departments and attractions configure their self-service pass and ticketing solution to includes an affordable transaction fee for the user so the solution can be deployed at NO COST to the agency.

 

THE SELECTION: DEPLOYING WITH A TRUSTED PROVIDER

While YodelPass is a relatively new technology, it is engineered on proven technology trusted by dozens of public recreation and campground agencies, ranging from county government agencies in Florida to every state-run campground in California and every government-run campsite in New Zealand.

US eDirect, based in Long Island, New York with a team that stretches from Australia to Missouri, boasts more than two decades of experience in developing, deploying and supporting a diverse set of customers with unique challenges.

But they share a common goal: To leverage digital solutions that improve the way they do business in two primary ways.

First, to save them time and money internally. Second, to deliver a better customer experience for the public.

Yodel Pass succeeds in the first by reducing the number of paper passes and associated management.

No more reprinting lost passes thanks to the YodelPass digital wallet.

It also reduced their team’s time investment to create detailed reports on sales and make smarter forecasts. And the in-app messaging tool allows them to send real-time updates to the season pass holders, streamlining communications.

And for their public?

No more long wait times to buy a beach pass.

They can purchase at home or on the way to the beach and simply scan the shifting QR code when they arrive.

 

DEPLOYING IN TIME FOR BEACH SEASON

Nearly everyone loves the beach.

And nearly everyone loathes a long line.

The task was simple: cut the line to give visitors more time on the sand and in the surf and less time wasted in frustrating lines.

Deploying a digital ticketing/pass solution that can handle day and season passes was the ideal solution for Long Beach.

The Yode lPass team spent about six weeks collaborating with the Long Beach team to configure the mobile app and bespoke website to meet their requirements.

The collaboration included understanding their legacy systems and how to incorporate facets that work well for them while onboarding the self-service mobile app.

The resident vs. non-resident requirement added some complexity that most users won’t face.

The teams sprinted to meet the Memorial Day weekend deadline and were able to deploy the system ahead of one of the busiest times of the year.

 

TIME TO LAUNCH, AND OVER-COMMUNICATE WITH THE PUBLIC

If you build it, they will come. FALSE!

The tired cliché from the timeless baseball movie Field of Dreams has done more damage to a good communications plan than forgetting to spell check and too many inside jokes.

Truth is, building any digital solution is only the first part of the process.

Then you need to make sure your team is comfortable using it. That means training the trainers, and then letting them train the wider department until using the new platform seems as straightforward as crafting an email.

Plan for at least a few weeks for the training and onboarding process.

And then there’s the public — your faithful customers — who already manage so many aspects of their busy lives on their mobile phone apps. The typical smartphone owner uses 10 apps a day and about 25 a month.

They will likely be excited about the new solution, but will still require a robust communications plan focused on three key areas: accuracy, brevity, and clarity.

Don’t assume a sign posted to your ticket window will suffice. Long Beach published an update to its website, and published a press release to spread the word in the local media.

In short, plan a detailed, multi-channel promotional plan to accomplish two goals: create awareness and educate visitors on how to use the new solution.

“We’re excited to work with Long Beach in the coming years to help them improve the way they serve their clients,” Davies said. “And equally enthusiastic about helping other agencies improve their operations and enhance the visitor experience with YodelPass.”

 

KEY FIGURES:

3.5 miles of beach along the Atlantic Ocean.
250,000-300,000 beach passes to residents and visitors sold annually
~$80,000 of Digital passes sold in less than a month!

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