Organised by Reed MIDEM, MAPIC 2021 took place from 30 November – 2 December in Cannes and featured a full schedule of sessions as well as a busy trade show floor.
Many sessions took place in the new television studio and were streamed live to the MAPIC Digital Platform. Those who were unable to attend can now watch these sessions on-demand.
Exploring leisure, retail and digital at MAPIC 2021
There was a wide-ranging schedule of talks at this year’s event. They were led by industry experts from both the retail and leisure industries.
The opening LeisurUp session at MAPIC 2021 was moderated by Charles Read, managing director of blooloop. Nicolas de Villiers, president of Puy du Fou and Pascal Ferracci, CEO of Parques Reunidos spoke about the continued development of leisure and retail.
De Villiers explained that “digitisation is the main threat for retail” since it’s so easy for people to buy online. There is no need for them to go outside, so retail must provide a reason with a leisure concept.
“As soon as we create strong physical, emotional experiences that you cannot get at home, then we can attract people,” he said.
Retail and leisure should not see digital as a threat. Instead, it’s important to use media to create a new world with a strong story that will attract visitors.
Ferracci agreed that digital is the future. He said that “digital will transform the way we interact with our guests”. Retail and leisure should use digital to enrich the guest experience. This ensures that they are always in touch with the guest.
For example, guests could use a digital platform to look at retail stock online before visiting a store. This reduces queuing and frustration from the guest.
When asked how to open in a new location or city, De Villiers emphasised that localisation is key to each place you go to. You “need roots, to be linked to a certain location” as this helps to drive visitation from the local people.
Ferracci agreed with De Villiers, explaining that Parques Reunidos build regional parks that are linked to the community. It’s also important to make the infrastructure of your new location accessible and sustainable. For example, you should ensure that there are green transportation options.
Blending retail and leisure
Then Fri Forjindam, chief development officer at mycotoo, Reinhart Viane, business development at KCC and Yael Coifman, senior partner at LDP spoke at the Leisure Industry Snapshot: Restarting Your Business session.
Coifman started by looking at recent retail and leisure trends. She highlighted that many consumers have increased disposable income as they haven’t been travelling as much. Figures show that the 2021 online retail sales are slightly less than they were in 2020. This suggests that people want to spend in retail centres.
Furthermore, 42% of people want a blend of online and in-store shopping. Retail needs to incentivise them to visit a physical store. Gen Z and millennials, in particular, are looking to spend money on activities such as live music, going to restaurants, escape rooms and more. Bringing leisure into a retail space is a good opportunity to bring people into physical retail spaces.
Forjindam highlighted, however, that retail shouldn’t segment experiences to appeal to a specific demographic. Instead, look for wide-ranging experiences that appeal to the whole family. She also emphasised that safety is increasingly important. Experiences need to show that they are COVID safe, and data shows that this increases attendance.
Viane then explained that it’s a good idea to have several entertainment offerings in one location. “Entertainment is the glue that brings everything together”, he said. Furthermore, technology and the digital will become more closely integrated into storytelling in leisure offerings. As this happens, leisure schemes will need less physical investment from retail operators, as technology will change the space.
Sport attractions and retail
Later, Baptiste Caulonque, chief commercial officer at Endless Surf by WhiteWater and Zlatimira Bancheva, commercial director at Walltopia spoke about bringing a sport attraction into a retail space.
Both Bancheva and Caulonque spoke about the importance of sports attractions appealing to a wide variety of customers, from repeat sports fans to novices. This helps to increase the ROI and encourage repeat visitation as all guests feel comfortable.
Bancheva explained that climbing appeals to a wide range of people who are all brought together into one community and “this makes for a very sustainable business model”. There are a few types of business opportunities that work well for climbing walls in retail spaces.
One is the traditional entertainment offering. This is a regular active entertainment centre that caters to small children and their families. This is a high-volume, single visit offering. There is also the opportunity for an athletic facility with a climbing wall, with more repeat visitors and a membership system.
Thanks to the Olympic Games and the pandemic, Bancheva says that there is more interest in climbing and visitor numbers are increasing.
Caulonque then spoke about how wave technology has now developed to mimic the ocean. This is why surf technology has become so popular, as surfers become repeat customers. The technology also allows for different sized waves, so you can appeal to children, beginners and pro-surfers. Experienced surfers will buy memberships and be repeat guests, whilst amateurs will enjoy it for a few hours.
He also emphasised that during low traffic times in a retail setting, such as during the day, a surf pool can be open to schools for lessons. This helps to increase occupancy. The operator may then be able to get funding help from governments and local councils.
Creating happy places
At the TEA presents session during MAPIC 2021, Nicole Srock.Stanley, CEO & founder of dan pearlman and Bart Dohmen, CEO of Unlimited Snow, spoke about creating happy places.
Srock.Stanley explained that if someone wants to buy something, they go to the internet. But shopping is a leisure activity and people invest time into shopping, rather than just money. This means that retail is already a part of the leisure industry.
Dohmen spoke about the Dubai fountains that cost around $200 million. Whilst the shopping centre may not see a return on this investment directly because they don’t charge entrance, the rent on the spaces around the fountain is higher. Furthermore, the fountains attract visitors each evening who then go to spend money in the shops.
Srock.Stanley then discussed Bikini Berlin, a shopping centre in the centre of Berlin. It implemented the KPIs of the leisure industry.
One of the key aims of the location was to have a compelling, emotional story. A lot of artists were invited to host exhibitions and there were pop-up experiences. These helped to drive footfall to the shopping centre. “It’s not about facility management”, Srock.Stanley explained. “It’s about really bringing spirit to a place.”
The importance of storytelling
The Activating Brands & Spaces: The Power of Storytelling discussion saw David Harari, CEO of Dama Dreams talk about the companies two new venues opening in 2022. Batman Gotham City Adventures is opening in Paris and will be the largest escape room experience in France.
For Harari, “storytelling is the key” to immersing guests in the experience. This new experience will appeal to the whole family, as a brand like Batman is well known. By putting the guest at the heart of the experience, they will feel like Batman.
The experience also features a themed bar and shop that is open in the shopping centre to appeal to shoppers, as well as those taking part in the experience. This will help to drive footfall to the retail side as well as the leisure side of the venture.
LeisurUp exhibition space at MAPIC 2021
LeisurUp took place within the wider MAPIC event this year. 70 leading leisure exhibitors took to the floor to discuss how their leisure offerings can work within a retail environment. Leisure and food exhibitors comprised around 50% of the total exhibitors this year. This further emphasised the vital role that leisure plays within the retail environment.
Exhibitors included Attraktion! GmbH, BoldMove Nation, Convious, DOF Robotics, Drone Interactive, Fun Spot Europe, Intamin, Jora Vision, KCC Entertainment Design, Lappset Creative and LDP.
Also exhibiting were MACK Rides, Polin, project:syntropy, ProSlide, Quibica AMF, Severn Lamb, Scruffy Dog Creative, Simworx, SPREE Interactive, Team Park Project, TEQ4, Triotech, Vekoma and Walltopia.
At the Leisure Talks sessions, companies were invited to speak for 5-10 minutes about their work and how it can fit into a retail environment.
Guilia Barbero from project:syntropy, Jonathan Nowak Delgado from SPREE Interactive, Reinhart Viane from KCC, Aaron Wilson from ProSlide, Benoit Cornet from BoldMove Nation, Peter Van Bilsen from Vekoma and Zlatimira Bancheva from Walltopia were among those who spoke at these sessions.
The Leisure Talks sessions and the LeisurUp talks at MAPIC 2021 were sponsored by mycotoo and KCC and took place over the course of the show.