New PGAV report: Why temporary attractions are key to winning the attendance war

Global leader in the planning and design of unique destinations, PGAV Destinations has released a new Destinology report exploring attraction industry competition from temporary entertainment and events.

cover of destinology report by pgav - the fight for attendance

The Fight for Attendance: The Attraction of the Non-Attraction suggests that attractions managers have key lessons to learn from ‘extracurricular’ activities that boost participation and engagement.

Read full PGAV report here.

“Considering the local competitive landscape is an essential practice among attraction managers of museums, zoos, theme parks, and more,” said Mike Konzen, Chair and Principal of PGAV Destinations.

“The evolution of digital technology and a generational preference for unique experiences demands that these leaders consider an entirely separate cadre of entertainment competition.”

The Fight for Attendance report explores the popularity, trends and success of themed and music festivals, live and televised sports, tabletop boardgames, streaming and cable television, and exercise.

Temporary attractions provide unique opportunities

Existing for just an hour or several days, these activities provide a variety of unique opportunities that continue to grow in popularity, and can expose people to new interests or possibly establish themselves as annual traditions.

fan celebrating colour festival

Attracting 32 million Americans every year, more than 800 annual music festivals thrive on providing a variety of entertainment, building community, and strengthening brand loyalty among their attendees.

Nearly 133 million people attend professional American sports events each year, and the NCAA is just shy of being an $800 million annual industry. For those fans who can’t make it to the actual game, more than 127,000 hours of sports programming is televised every year, with collective viewership spending more than 31 billion hours watching it.

girls eating popcorn and watching horror film

How to ensure audiences engage and re-engage

“The audiences for these entertainment outlets are enormous; and with their frequency and formats, the opportunity to engage and re-engage consistently holds viewers,” says Konzen. “The goal of The Fight for Attendance is to explore what makes these opportunities successful, and for attraction managers to consider practices and approaches for their own destinations to increase audiences and participation.”

Many of these experiences are not fulfilled in booming stadiums or in massive event spaces. Instead, streaming video services are proving to be a troubling disruptor to Hollywood and the television industries, with hundreds of millions of subscribers often opting to stay at home on a weekend day to “Netflix and chill” and live-Tweet while they binge-watch their favorite series.

pgav fight for attendance report - fingers holding dice

According to the PGAV report, the last decade has seen a remarkable resurgence in the boardgame industry as well, totaling $9.6 billion in global sales in 2016 alone – to spend an evening at home with friends rolling dice and playing cards. Enthusiasts note the allure of repeatability, strategy, and complex social interaction in their most popular games.

Fitness events are a major crowd-puller

In 2017, as in every year, people make numerous health-related resolutions. More than 36,000 fitness centres are home to 57.25 million members in America, and nearly two million people completed half marathons in 2016. The drive to live a healthier lifestyle impacts a person’s schedule, from when/where they train and exercise to where/what they choose to eat and if they seek activity or rest/relaxation.

fight for attendance pgav - runners jog next to ocean

While varied and annually evolving, these extracurricular choices offer key lessons for “permanent attraction” managers at zoos, museums, theme parks, aquariums, and resorts.

The Fight for Attendance can be read in full here, and interested readers can subscribe to hard copies of this issue of Destinology, as well as other informative PGAV Destinations’ national research studies here. For more recent reports, explore Voice of the Visitor: 2017 Outlook on the Attractions Industry, Generationally Speaking: How Cultural Shifts Impact Your Destination, and Communicating Conservation: Strengthening the Public’s Trust.

two girls in sunglasses at colour run event

Now entering its sixth decade, PGAV Destinations has evolved to become a trusted destination-consulting partner, skilled at developing growth-oriented master plans and translating those plans into successful projects.

PGAV Destinations’ key clients include industry leaders such as Delaware North Companies, SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment, the Biltmore Companies, Bass Pro Shops, Ameristar Casinos, Universal Studios, The Gettysburg Foundation, the Saint Louis Zoo, and many others. Recent assignments include planning and design at many of the world’s “must see” destinations, including the Grand Canyon, Biltmore Estate, Space Shuttle Atlantis, Chimelong Ocean Kingdom, the Georgia Aquarium, the Hoover Dam, and SeaWorld Adventure Parks.