Six Flags

Guests visit Six Flags amusement parks to have an enjoyable experience with family and friends. Six Flags trusts Akamai to ensure that exceptional experience extends to their mobile app users while inside the park.

"Six Flags is dedicated to ensuring that every guest has an exceptional experience at our parks, and our mobile app is a critical component in helping guests create thrilling memories with family and friends. Akamai has been a trusted Six Flags partner for several years, and has played a key role in building the scalability, performance, and reliability of sixflags.com. As Six Flags increasingly looks to enable differentiated mobile platforms, Akamai was a natural choice to ensure that guests can conveniently utilize our mobile app, on any network and any mobile device."

Sean Andersen , Director of Interactive , Six Flags

The Situation

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 Challenge

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.

The Goals

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.

Why Akamai?

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.

About Six Flags

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.

About Akamai

Akamai is a global leader in Content Delivery Network (CDN) services, making the Internet fast, reliable and secure for its customers. The company's advanced web performance, mobile performance, cloud security and media delivery solutions are revolutionizing how businesses optimize the use of online content on any device, anywhere. To find out how Akamai's solutions and experts help companies to accelerate their businesses, visit https://www.akamai.com/ or https://blogs.akamai.com/ and follow @Akamai on Twitter.