With nominations now closed for the Blooloop 50 Theme Park Influencer List, we ask one of the judges, CEO of Omnico Group, Mel Taylor, about the personality, skills and traits that make a stand-out influencer.
Mel Taylor has been CEO at Omnico since November 2014. The company provides seamless Cloud-based point-of-sale (POS) and customer engagement solutions across the retail, F&B, destination and hospitality sectors.
So, what inspired Taylor to get into the theme park and attractions industry in the first place?
“A business that is one of the fastest-expanding on the globe and is all about thrills, fun and leisure – why wouldn’t you want to get involved in that?” he says. “Omnico also represented a great opportunity for me to lead a growing business to fulfil its potential.”
He cites the company itself as one of his best achievements:
“Over the years we have taken the best of our hospitality, F&B and retail solutions and combined them into one common platform that provides our customers with one product that increases revenues and helps lower operating costs,” says Taylor. “It brings great pleasure when long-standing customers renew their relationship with Omnico and we work together as partners proactively thinking about how we solve problems and improve guest experiences.”
Operators cannot afford to ignore digital retail and engagement solutions
There are challenges, of course. One of the biggest is convincing operators that they can use better point-of-sale and customer engagement technology to enable delivery of more completely joined-up experiences right across every touch-point with their visitors.
“When you make clear how easy it is to implement and how immediate the major increases in revenue are, the challenge diminishes,” he says. “Many operators were set in their ways, and until they started losing out to competitors, were reluctant to make the change. You cannot afford to take that view now, as the industry becomes more competitive. Consumers accustomed to digital technology expect the same quality of experience whether at their local retail outlet, a fast food restaurant, or in a theme park.”
Omnico has forged ‘great partnerships with some of the biggest names in the business’:
“Merlin, Universal, Six Flags, etc. We now work with seven of the top 11 theme park destinations in the world, which gives us a real buzz at Omnico.
“There is also a huge amount of innovation at play. As we see mobile technologies becoming ever more dominant, there are some great opportunities for parks to embrace technology and evolve their guest interactions.”
The influence of WeChat and AliPay cannot be underestimated
“The influence of companies such as WeChat and AliPay cannot be underestimated, especially with the enormous growth being unleashed in the Asia Pacific region. Omnico are already working with these companies to bring more options to parks.
“Meanwhile, the use of AI and VR is now not just about exciting rides, but also the way the guests transact and engage with the park. At Omnico, we are embracing the best of these advances and are focused on making it simple for operators to deploy their benefits and keep ahead of the ever-increasing competition.
“It’s exciting for me when I see how our expertise helps these huge names, which are incredibly creative and exciting businesses, scale new heights of revenue-growth and operational efficiency. Giving visitors a seamless and consistent experience across retail, loyalty, entitlements, ticketing, food outlets and hospitality, and making it easy for operators to create and deploy new guest journeys – it really does deliver tangible, measurable results for our customers.
Taylor admits its hard to switch off from the job when he visits a theme park.
“Even when I am purely there for pleasure, I can’t help assessing where the guest experience could be improved, and what opportunities exist for the operator to increase loyalty, maximise revenues and streamline park operations,” he says.
Influencers make great ideas happen
So, what qualities does he look for in a potential influencer in this sector?
“We need team players, yet we also need that insight or idea that makes everyone sit up and think “Wow, I can see how that is going to make big difference!”
“But, on top of having great idea, you need the drive to pursue it and convince your colleagues it is going to work. In the destinations business, getting it wrong can be horribly damaging in a very public way.
He stresses the importance of leadership: “The biggest influencers are often those who lead their teams successfully over a sustained period. Their consistency, insistence on the highest standards and openness to innovation make them stand out. They are the kind of people who can quickly assess what will or will not work and whose judgement is widely respected beyond their immediate colleagues.”
The importance of creativity, drive and leadership
And, finally, which particular skillsets and personality traits does he believe can help make someone successful in this field?
“Creativity, drive, the ability to absorb information and make judgements based on the evidence – these are important qualities for this and many industries,” says Mel Taylor. “Yet, you must be capable of collaboration across a wide range of parties, each with different needs and priorities. To be able to work with a diverse team and meet their needs, while being ready to stick your neck out and follow through on your vision.
“Brilliant ideas all too often fall down because they are not implemented and integrated into the overall guest experience in the right way. It’s all about leadership in one shape or another. Above all, success comes from insisting that the guests always have the best experience a park can bring them – that’s what keeps them coming back.”