Disney Does Digital…Very Well!
The Disney dive into digital has many looking for lessons from this business leader. Disney supplies customers with Disney MagicBands, wristbands equipped with RFID technology. The wristbands enable customer-level tracking, creating lots of data on transactions, customer check-ins, and customer movements. It is estimated that deploying this technology has cost Disney nearly $1 billion, which is a very large investment, considering that Disney resorts generated about $13 billion in annual revenues at the time of its launch. 
Disney MagicBands is just about enabled magic! Each person gets a wristband, including the children. It is required to enter rides, can be used to buy goods, dinner, is used to enter your hotel, and allows Disney staff to find you and your children (if lost) and to provide personalized greetings. It is already creating an amazing Big Data set on how visitors to Disney resorts enjoy the parks. Where do they shop? What do they buy? When? Do rides or interactions with characters increase sales? How much? Where does Disney need more staff? Or less? These are some of the questions that can now be answered precisely and dynamically.
The bold move by Disney into digital interfacing with the guest has apparently already paid off in big ways. Chief Executive Officer Robert Iger of Disney recently shared that the technology has allowed Disney to accommodate 3000 more daily guests during its peak period around Christmas, by alleviating congestion and helping Disney allocate staff in critical areas. Let’s put that in perspective, average daily attendance at its Florida resort is about 52,000 people per day. So, the RFID technology has quickly shown a 6% increase in attendance and revenues are growing at about $1 billion per year, which is about a 7% growth rate!  It is great growth for any business and most impressive for a business that is largely hotels, rides, and meals. Starwood would love that growth, btw. There are some important lessons that Disney provides all businesses looking to leverage digital solutions for growth. Let’s examine these:
Professor Walker provides keynote talks, seminars presentations, executive training programs, and executive briefings.
Recent talk topics enjoyed by clients have included:
“From Big Data to Big Profits: Getting the Most from Your Data and Analytics”
“Leveraging Artificial Intelligence and Automation at Work”
“Winner Take All – Digital Strategy: From Data to Dominance”
“Success with an Inter-Generational Workforce: From Boomers to Millennials”
“FinTech, Payments, and Economic Trends and Outlooks in Consumer Lending”
“The World in 2050: Risks and Opportunities Ahead”
Exceptional executive training programs have included:
“Digital Disruption, Automation, Analytics, Data Science, the IoT, and the Big Data Wave”
“Master Course on Operational Risk: Measurement, Management, Leadership”
“Complete Course in Risk Management: Credit, Market, Operational, and Enterprise Risk”
“Cyber-security Training: Prevention, Preparation, and Post-Analysis”
“Managing Your Brand and Reputation in a Crisis.”
“Strategic Data-Driven Marketing”
“Enterprise Risk Management and the CRO”
About Russell Walker, Ph.D.
Professor Russell Walker helps companies develop strategies to manage risk and harness value through analytics and Big Data. He is Clinical Associate Professor of Managerial Economics and Decision Sciences at the Kellogg School of Management of Northwestern University. He has worked with many professional sports teams and leading marketing organizations through the Analytical Consulting Lab, an experiential class that he founded and leads at Kellogg.
His most recent and award-winning book, From Big Data to Big Profits: Success with Data and Analytics is published by Oxford University Press (2015), which explores how firms can best monetize Big Data through digital strategies. He is the author of the text Winning with Risk Management (World Scientific Publishing, 2013), which examines the principles and practice of risk management through business case studies.
Analytics, Automation, Big Data, Big Data Analytics, Big Data to Big Profits, Data Analytics, Data Breach, Data Capture, Data Monetization, Data Products, Data Science, Digital Platforms, Digital Strategy, Disney, Hotels, MagicBands, Mobile, Privacy, RFID