Six Flags has invested in a major update to its mobile app, which serves as a primary guest touch point. The goal of the app is to connect with guests more intimately. It strives to provide an exceptional guest experience, from pre-planning through the in-park visit, to create happier, more loyal customers. The app was developed and designed for season pass holders, and offers a wide variety of functionality — such as the ability to see their guest benefits, get entrance into the park (ID and bar code), see real-time ride wait times, browse park information (hours, facilities, interactive maps — way finding, etc.), make purchases (food, merchandise, etc.), and much more.
The Six Flags mobile app offers the opportunity to provide a tremendous amount of value to guests while in the park. However, due to the large number of guests with mobile devices, bandwidth is highly constrained and congested, resulting in latency. This latency impacts Six Flags’ ability to deliver a fast and interactive mobile app experience. As a result, users are unhappy, especially on the park’s busiest days. Certain app features, like the interactive map, are especially sensitive to latency, yet they also require the ability to be quickly updated. In addition, Six Flags needs to prevent legitimate users from unintentionally over-consuming API infrastructure resources. Furthermore, the company must protect against malicious users that present a security threat to the mobile app infrastructure.
Six Flags wanted to increase the number of mobile app downloads, and improve guest engagement through its mobile app. The app is a big part of the company’s strategy to create a best-in-class guest experience. In addition, Six Flags has long-term business goals around driving more commercial transactions through the app. Technical Goals: The company strives to overcome latency issues by caching as many assets on the Akamai Edge as possible, enabling those assets to load quickly even in circumstances where bandwidth is constrained. Finally, it is critical for Six Flags to ensure the protection of the API infrastructure itself.
Six Flags receives a tremendous amount of value from using Akamai to accelerate and protect its websites. Therefore, leveraging Akamai for its new mobile app was a logical choice. Akamai's vast network footprint is designed to ensure that the app spends less time waiting for API calls, and that those calls are less affected by Internet outages and route leaks. Caching and compression of mobile app content on Akamai's Edge servers position the app assets closer to app end-users in Six Flags parks. The technical expertise and guidance of the Akamai team helped Six Flags uncover best practices to ensure the success of their mobile app project.
Six Flags Entertainment Corporation is the world’s largest regional theme park company, with $1.3 billion in revenue and 18 parks across the United States, Mexico, and Canada. For more than 56 years, Six Flags has entertained millions of families with world-class coasters, themed rides, thrilling water parks, and unique attractions.