top of page

Are VIP passes affecting guest happiness?

Are fast passes and VIP streams affecting your guests’ happiness? And what can you do to create happiness for all?

The recent findings by Meik Wiking in The Little Book of Lykke show that when people feel a sense of inequality it has an adverse effect on their happiness. In fact, the study by Richard G Wilkinson and Kate Picket in The Spirit Level – Why Equality is Better for Everyone shows that people who even walk through first class on a plane are two times more likely to have air rage than those who don’t.

So how can we apply this research to the theme park and attractions industry?

Let’s take VIP packages and fast passes as a prime example. Nothing annoys people more than cutting in line. But that’s what we sell when we sell upgrades and fast passes. How can we generate revenue and enhance guest experience from VIP packages without alienating our other guests?

Here are our 5 top tips for keeping everyone happy in the queue line and at your attraction:

Create equality. Make a certain number of fast passes available as standard to everyone. That way you feel OK seeing someone cut in line because you know you can do the same on another ride. Or better yet make a queue-less attraction, like Universal have done at Volcano Bay. It may have its own challenges but it is a brand new way of interaction on park. Laurie Breen gives a good overview of these issues in the Touring Plans blog

Source: Wikimedia commons

Create engaging queue lines. Guests no longer expect to be herded like cattle through endless queue lines. They’ve been exposed to some amazing pre-shows and queue line themeing and want more of the same. Before you even get on the Harry Potter Escape from Gringotts ride at Universal you have already been immersed in the wizarding world – the queue is the ride. This way guests are excited and full of anticipation for the actual ride and forget about being in the queue line.

Source: Orlando Informer

Add value to waiting. Guests will be on their phones throughout the queue line, fact. Whilst waiting in line for Flight of Passage in Pandora, I spotted a group of guests playing the Charades app, people are on holiday, they are open to the idea of fun and play, use that to enhance the experience! Think about how you can add additional services, push out interesting content or gamify the queue line. Disney introduced their Play Disney Parks app last summer. You can play games, listen to music, and interact with characters in location-based gaming. This is a great way to enhance revenue, in-app purchases and brand interaction.

Source: Blooloop

Create non-queueing activities. We enjoyed a recent trip to LEGO House in Denmark. It’s certainly the home of the brick! Everything was based around open play activities. There were some attractions that had a wait, like the LEGO restaurant and (if full) the stop-motion studios, but overall guests are able to roam, explore and discover through brick play. How can you add some open play, non-queueing activities to your attraction? These could be simple things like photo opportunities, to tech-based games to simple walking trails.

Source: Katapult

Balance public and private experiences. In other words don’t be too flash. I had a recent experience of this at Disney’s Epcot. I was waiting in a pretty long queue for a Starbucks. The VIP tour group in front of me also had to wait in line like everyone else. Their guide kept them chatting and engaged but they still queued like me. I appreciated that, maybe they didn’t, but it felt good to be treated the same.

Think about how much you want other guests to see VIPs getting their experience. Sure, it may be a great promotional opportunity to upsell, but seeing the inequality may be bad for your guests happiness!


I hope that’s given you some insight into guest happiness. Here’s a final thought for you. Think about your metrics. How do you show the correlation between guest happiness and income? What is the acceptable gap between the two? How will you measure it and how will you manage it?

For more insights, tips and advice on how you can improve your guest experience make sure you subscribe to our blog.

About the author: Kelly is the Strategy & Development Director at Katapult – A Creative England, Top 50 Company that creates physical and digital guest experiences that amaze and engage your visitors.

Subscribe to Katapult's blog
2023 TEMPLATES.jpg

Thanks for subscribing.

bottom of page