Today smart theme park and attractions operators are using narrow selection criteria when deciding on the next investment in their venue.
We are just a few days away from IAAPA, the biggest event in the global attractions industry bringing together over 1000 exhibitors from 40 countries and close to 30, 000 visitors.
It’s a time to reconnect with colleagues, share and learn best practices and evaluate new attractions amongst the abundance of choices.
A big reason to visit for many attendees is re-investment in their venue. Gone are the days when an amusement park was a collection of arcade games, a Ferris wheel, some coasters and themed carnival rides. Smart operators know that guests are expecting more from out of home entertainment. The following five criteria are key in their decisions.
1. Indoor Attractions ‘ As operators continue to expand their programing with seasonal events they seek attractions that guest will enjoy no matter what the weather is like. An indoor attraction can always be in operation, delivering a better ROI than a ride that needs good weather.
2. Experiences for the Whole Family ‘ Families are a park’s most profitable guests. Having a programming mix that brings cross-generational families together to create shared memories is a powerful draw to tap this customer segment. This is especially important for regional parks seeking to drive repeat visitation from a local market.
3. Ride Re-Marketability ‘ Simulators, 4D cinemas and Dark Rides fit within the above two criteria, but the real juice is the ability to support seasonal program overlays like Halloween and Christmas or a complete refresh after five years without a large capital expenditure. Think of the investment as a media-based platform that will provide flexibility and marketing opportunities over a long period of time. This translates to an excellent return on assets.
4. Social Gaming ‘ Interactivity with social gaming is a powerful component to creating amazing experiences amongst family and friends. That, coupled with the competitive desire of improving your score, drives repeat rides and return visitations to your venue. Case in point is the video game companies now licensing their IP to tap into location-based experiences.
5. Level of Investment ‘ With the evolution of technology and the continual robustness of hardware, interactive attractions are requiring a lower level of investment. You can now incorporate a signature digital dark ride at less than half the cost of a big coaster and it will have broader appeal to your guests, over more visits to your venues and over a longer time.
Following these five criteria will help you shortlist the best possible options for new attractions for today’s consumers. Smart operators know that commercial success is based on what your guests want now and what will appeal to them in the years to come.
So what are you planning to add to your venue next year? Which company is on your “must see” list at IAAPA this year? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.