Archive for category Policy
In this age of full disclosure, fueled by social media and online forums, consumers are able to express their opinions and know that they’ll be heard. If the service is top-notch and reviews are nothing but positive, this can certainly be a good thing for business owners and managers. The opposite, of course, is true as well.
I was recently on a website called tripadvisor.com, perusing for details on a trip I’m planning for myself, when I found a thread titled “Horrible Crowd Control,” citing two complaints about crowd problems at a nameable theme park.
Of course this peaked my interest, considering the field I’m in, so I opened up the forum and found the following from an obviously disgruntled visitor.
“Took a family of four on January 3rd and Harry Potter was 2.5 hour wait (morning and night), 90 minutes for ET, and 180 minutes for Spiderman – what a waste. With their version of the park hopper costing me over $120 per ticket, I couldn’t stomach paying an extra $89 each for the express pass… so instead I got to stomach a full day with the opportunity to ride only 4 rides… what a value. NEVER AGAIN.”
Let me say that my intention here is not to hang this park out to dry. There were plenty of comments that praised the park as well, and I’m sure the wait depends on the day. But does it have to? Should park officials leave their customer service reviews up to fate, dependent entirely on the amount of people who show up that day? I think not.
Having big crowds is a sign of success; something to embrace, not fear. It’s how the crowds are dealt with, however, that will ultimately determine the success of the park.
It appears that the first problem at this park was the amount of guests allowed in on that particular day. More people means more money, but if your guests have a bad time due to long lines and crowds, not only are they less likely to come back, but they’ll probably spread a bad word, like the man quoted above.
It’s important to control entry to ensure guests aren’t experiencing abnormal wait times. Legoland Malaysia does this on a per need basis. If the park becomes too crowded, they simply close the gates for all visitors attempting entry without pre-purchased tickets.
Another useful tactic is to monitor your lines, and send entertainment to those that are abnormally long. Disney World does this through their crowd control command center. When a wait becomes too long, they’ll send over a parade of entertainers to keep visitors from thinking about the wait.
It’s also imperative that you manage expectations. Tell customers how long they’ll be waiting. Use a sign stand to estimate wait times, and always overestimate. If something goes wrong, and the wait is a little longer than expected, waiters will never know, as you accounted for extraneous difficulties in your original estimation. If everything goes as planned, it will appear that the wait was shorter than expected, and you can’t beat the impression that will give.
Keep it safe, simple, and smart. If you manage expectations, control entry, and keep careful watch over your park, you should be able to avoid bad reviews like the one above.
According to an article published in the Guardian on Tuesday, Heathrow and a number of other British airports will soon be implementing “fast-track” passport lanes for wealthy travellers. Heathrow had a lot of queueing problems leading up to the Olympics, and airport executives, along with UK Border officials, are concerned about losing “high-value” customers to the long lines.
Brian Moore, the departing head of the UK Border Force, explained to members of Parliament that the fast-track policy would cover people who are valuable to the economy and valuable to the airlines. According to Moore, this policy is intended to demonstrate that Britain is “open for business.”
Apparently similar policies are employed in other countries for first-class ticket holders and other frequent business-class flyers. However, the Border Agency didn’t offer much on the proposed process for selecting who exactly will receive the fast-track benefits.
As one would imagine, there is a significant amount of controversy surrounding this decision, as many feel that the plan is alienating and unfair to “regular” passengers. But with airport budgets tight as it is, adding more staff seems unlikely. So if the airports have the proper queueing equipment, and adding staff is out of the question, is there another way around this, aside from making every passenger wait?
We asked this question to Justin Schoen, one of our crowd engineers who specializes in major sporting venues, airports, and other transportation centers, and this is what he had to say:
Crowd Control is about maintaining order among groups of people. When crowds gather, natural emotions like anxiety, frustration, and in some cases, chaos, are created. In a situation like that of London’s Heathrow airport, where more staff is not an option, segregating passengers could lead to even more “crowd sensitivity.”
The fact that the privileged travelers have this advantage might exacerbate the frustration of long queueing times for the “have-nots.” The frustration experienced by the “have-not” queue could carry over to longer processing times, and actually increase the airport’s problem.
If there has to be a “privileged traveller queue,” my recommendation would be that it not be on display in front of the ”regular” queue.
It seems this may be the only plausible move for the London airports from a revenue standpoint. The fact remains, however, that this will probably offend some in the regular queue, and it seems Mr. Schoen’s suggestion to separate the queues could be beneficial both for the airport’s reputation, and for those waiting in either queue.
Did you know that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Standards for Accessible Design were augmented on March 15, 2012? New rules relating directly to facility management have been put into place, and we’re here to tell you a little bit about them.
The language in this document is thick, so we’ve tried to break it down, and pull the clauses that relate directly to facility management. Note that the regulations apply to facility construction and/or alterations (see FAQ #1 for definition).
802.1.2 Width: A single wheelchair space shall be a minimum of 36 inches (915mm). Where two adjacent wheelchair spaces are provided, each wheelchair space shall be 33 inches (840 mm) wide minimum.
307.3 Post-Mounted Objects: On a post and rope system, or retractable belt barrier, if the distance between stanchions (or posts) is more than 12”, the rope must not be more than 27” off of the ground. This also applies to signs between posts.
If a sign is posted on a stanchion, the edges of the sign on either side may not encroach the circulation path more than 12.” That 12” measurement begins with the finished floor. Thus, if you’re using a stanchion with a base, the measurement begins where the base ends.
The above rule also applies to freestanding signs.
307.5 Required Clear Width: Protruding objects shall not reduce the clear width required for accessible routes. Thus, if a sign overhangs the path, the 36” (or 33”) is measured from the edge of the sign.
Remember this when setting up your queue, because you must be sure that there is a 36” (or 33”) path for wheelchairs
Here are some Frequently Asked Questions Related to the regulations:
Q: What constitutes an alteration?
A: A change to a building or facility that affects or could affect the usability of the building or
a portion of the building.
Alterations include, but are not limited to, remodeling, renovation, rehabilitation, reconstruction, historic restoration, resurfacing of circulation paths or vehicular ways, changes or rearrangement of the structural parts or elements, and changes or rearrangement in the plan configuration of walls and full-height partitions.
Normal maintenance, reroofing, painting or wallpapering, or changes to mechanical and electrical systems are not alterations unless they affect the usability of the building or facility.
Q: What types of facilities do these standards apply to?
A: All facilities; public and private alike.
Q: What will happen if my facility is non-compliant?
A: If ADA officials find that your building is non-compliant, you may be forced to make the necessary changes. Lawsuits have also occurred as a result of non-compliance. See Mt. Vernon lawsuit.
Q: I haven’t had a problem yet, why/how will I in the future?
A: If a disabled person tries to access your facility and is denied or unable to due to a lack of accessibility options, a complaint will most likely be filed, and your building will come under investigation. ADA officials also perform random evaluations.
Q: Will this cost me more money?
A: This is a tricky question. If you’re a operating new facility, or you’re beginning to renovate, it’s simply a matter of buying the right equipment, and setting it up in the proper manner. When purchasing equipment from LineLogic.com, there will be an icon to tell you if the equipment is ADA compliant. We also have an ADA information page with a lot of the same tips and information from this post, which you’ll be able to access at any time.
For an existing facility, evaluate the equipment and setup you have, and make the necessary changes. The costs to become compliant will pale in comparison to violation fees and expenses.
Q: Why should I be concerned with ADA compliancy?
A: Why should you buy fire insurance for your house? Here’s three main reasons:
1.) Avoiding Unnecessary Expenses: Non-compliance can lead to lawsuits and bad PR; both of which will cost your company money.
2.) Revenue Increases: The U.S. Department of Labor has projected the buying power of the disabled population at $220 billion, larger than the $170 billion teen market.
3.) It’s the Right Thing To Do: If for no other reason than a moral obligation. It’s the right thing to do.
We hope this post has helped you better understand the ADA Standards for Accessible Design. If you encounter any questions or concerns about the equipment or the regulations, please feel free to contact us, and we will do our best to work you through them.
A new report issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals that if smoking-ban laws in the U.S. keep up at the rate they have been going for the past 10 years, the entire nation will have heavy restrictions on smoking by 2020 (if not sooner).
States like Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, West Virginia, Wyoming, Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Missouri, Idaho, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Virginia still allow smoking in certain designated or ventilated areas.
Is it the responsibility of a business to adequately protect non-smokers from the health hazards of second-hand smoke? How can a business create, implement and enforce policies and procedures that are legally compliant? What about outdoor events or open patio dining? Are barricades and crowd barriers doing enough?
There are all questions a facility manager or business owner may find himself or herself asking.
Every state is different but we’ll take our home state of New York for example. The law states that the smoking ban shall not apply to:
Outdoor dining areas of food service establishments with no roof or other ceiling enclosure; provided, however, that smoking may be permitted in a contiguous area designated for smoking so long as such area:
- constitutes no more than twenty-five percent of the outdoor seating capacity of such food service establishment,
- is at least three feet away from the outdoor area of such food service establishment not designated for smoking, and
- is clearly designated with written signage as a smoking area
Does that mean you can move a few tables on your patio three feet away from the others, throw up a system of barricades and a sign that says “Smoking Permitted” and call it a day? Technically, yes.
Should you? That depends on your unique business and customer base.
What about concerts and events? If you’ve created a queuing system where people are waiting in line outside, should they be allowed to smoke as they wait? I’m personally inclined to say no, however I am a non-smoker who lives in one of the very first states to adopt a smoking-ban. In some places, it’s totally acceptable.
What it comes down to is managing your guests and customers (both smoking and non) with crowd control efforts that will create a safe environment for everyone.
To find out more about your own state’s laws and regulations, we suggest an online search. If you live in Illinois for example, simply type in “Illinois smoking ban” and you’ll find information like this government website that provides a Guide for Workplaces as well a Guide for Restaurants and Bars.
Depending on the type of business, your typical customer base and your legal obligations, you may or may not have options that can keep everybody happy.
How do you currently deal with the issue? Let us know.