Disney

Building the Business Case for Disney’s “Back to the Basics” Guest Service Training

Walt Disney Parks and Resorts are renowned for guest service. While still employed by Disney, the Integrated Insight team carried  responsibility for identifying and proving the business case for customer service, resulting in millions of dollars of re-investment in service enhancements, training and leadership development as the company engaged In a “Back to the Basics” initiative.

While Disney had conducted Guest Satisfaction and Employee Engagement tracking studies for years, the question content was based on insights developed decades earlier. We started by conducting extensive qualitative and quantitative research to understand current guest perceptions and expectations. Guest insights were supplemented with research among front line cast members and leaders to uncover barriers to delivering excellent service. Collectively, these insights helped inform strategies and initiatives to achieve higher satisfaction and intent to recommend.

One of the most difficult efforts was how to focus over 50,000 cast members on what to do. We started by tackling the task of converting what guests want to what cast members should do. This resulted in the establishment of new service standards, and just as important, eliminating prior standards so that cast members could focus on the present.

The business case was established by analyzing longitudinal research on guests stated intent versus actual return. Over the course of ten years, numerous studies had been conducted with consistent results indicating what factors drove return visitation and what contributed to a guest’s lack of interest in visiting again.  The team estimated the investment required to correct and overcome these obstacles and the expected return on investment.

To test the approach prior to company-wide rollout, we established a comprehensive test/control study in both resorts and theme parks. Over a three month period, measured results test versus control and test properties pre versus post implementation showed double digit percent improvement in “excellent” ratings and return intent. This scientific approach enabled a refinement of investment to spend where the impact was greatest and resulted in approval of funding for company-wide implementation.

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Implementation of Disney’s Operations Command Center to Optimize Queue Times

The impetus was a letter that landed on Joni Newkirk’s desk, then SVP of Business Insight and Improvement for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. Sent down the chain from our Chairman’s office, the letter writer was complaining about wait time, but not in the traditional sense. The guest was frustrated that posted wait times were …

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The Making of Magic Your Way

The principals of Integrated Insight, Inc. designed, developed, and implemented Magic Your Way, the most sweeping change in revenue strategy in Walt Disney Company history.

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Successful Promotional Pricing Strategies

Discounts and promotions, if executed well, are an effective way to help boost revenue. Over the past decade, we have become firm believers that leading with the consumer consistently produces optimal and sustainable results.

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Implementation of Disney’s Operations Command Center to Optimize Queue Times

The impetus was a letter that landed on Joni Newkirk’s desk, then SVP of Business Insight and Improvement for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. Sent down the chain from our Chairman’s office, the letter writer was complaining about wait time, but not in the traditional sense. The guest was frustrated that posted wait times were inconsistent. In some cases, the posted wait time was much shorter than the actual wait and the guest and their party grew impatient as would be expected. In other instances, the posted wait time was much longer than the actual wait causing some of their party to forgo the ride, only to discover later that the wait wasn’t bad at all. Over the course of the day, the guest would be bewildered regarding what to expect and posted waits inconsistent with actual waits were a dis-satisfier.

To address inconsistencies and also better leverage resources, the Disney Operations Command Center was formed, led by the Industrial Engineering team within the Business Insight and Improvement division. The theory was that Improving the guest experience by tightening up operations and better managing guest flow would be a win win for both guests and Disney . This effort was a prelude to much of the information now collected through Magic Bands, but prior to the property-wide installation of RFID to enable such an effort.

What started as a manual effort quickly became a technology enabled command center, manned to lend another set of eyes and ears to the front line operations team. Through various technology solutions, the command center could spot potential issues before gridlock occurred. Ongoing monitoring and implementation of countermeasures enabled the Industrial Engineering team to identify enough throughput efficiency to improve average rides per visitor, and save from having to immediately invest in another multi-million dollar ride to increase capacity. The effort was so successful that it caught the attention of a NY Times reporter with an article published in December, 2010.

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Loyalty programs have become commonplace for retailers in today’s market. Determining the correct program to implement can make a difference in the value of the loyalty program for consumers and your business.

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Follow the case study of Grand Traverse Resort and Spa, who came out strong in summer 2020 with strategic shifts in response to COVID-19.

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