by Ronda Payne/Special to Langley Advance Times
During the pandemic, it was often hard to recognize any benefit to being shut-in, contactless, and kept away from things people enjoy – like events at Thunderbird Show Park (tbird).
But as the cliche goes, every organization had to pivot and find new ways of doing things.
Making forced changes to allow for contactless experiences has actually been a blessing to tbird, as well as to the participants of upcoming shows like the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup, according to Chris Pack, the show park’s president and operations director.
These behind-the-scenes elements may not be seen by spectators, but they definitely make for a better show experience all around, he said.
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The new online sign-up and sign-in process means the team at tbird don’t have to process a single paper application for the events in May and June.
It was all done online, and Pack said the upcoming show sold all the available competitor spaces in a mere 43 minutes back in February.
“We’re just so grateful that everyone wants to come back,” Pack said.
“We’re ready to show them the tbird hospitality.”
That hospitality is something like what one would expect at Disneyland, he suggested. When there’s a problem the team will do their best to make it right.
The new tech will help eliminate common problems, while also limiting personal interactions – though, as an outdoor venue, there are no restrictions on site.
“It starts before they get here,” he said of the competitors’ arrival process.
“They do an e-check in to start, then show the QR code when they check-in at the gates.”
Stalls and classes were ordered online after registrations were approved and processed. Now all that’s left is for competitors to order supplies upon their arrival.
“Once they get to their stall, they order their supplies digitally,” he explained. “It’s slick.”
Not only is the order process digital, but once supplies are dropped off, a photo is sent to the competitor to show where it was delivered. Much like the Amazon delivery experience.
“With 1,250 stalls, the guys might be saying ‘yeah, I delivered a pallet,’ but there’s 300 pallets around here, so which one is it?” he said.
“The photo shows them.”
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Now, the only time competitors need to come to the main office is if there is an issue. Everything else can be done through the power of a device and wifi.
There’s also another great win for competitors with this advance in technology.
Video of time in the ring is available within seconds of a round’s completion.
“Every round that’s done in every ring is videoed,” said Pack.
“It’s ready in 30 seconds, or less, for the competitor. They can watch it and buy it.”
It’s a joy to be able to see live, in-person events at tbird again, but – he said – one can’t deny that the technological enhancements forced by the pandemic have made things even better.
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