We had many “flat rides, ” and “kiddie rides, ” but no “majors, ” and certainly not a major roller-coaster. In 1984, we changed our name from Santa Claus Land to Holiday World (that was before Splashin’ Safari). We did so in an effort to broaden our appeal to include kids who were a little older than the Santa Claus Land image would appeal to.
In those years, we were marketing our product in the shadows of major regional parks—one to the east, one to the west, and one to the south. In general, we were perceived as a “second choice, ” a “cheaper option, ” but one that wasn’t “as good as” the others. Sometime after that, we made a decision to focus our business on one target market: families. We decided we’d leave the teenagers and young adults for other parks—they were building the big roller coasters in those days, and we couldn’t afford them—besides that, families were the group that really seemed to prefer our park over others.
Twenty-five years later, we still focus our business on families. Every major product introduction, marketing campaign, and service innovation (Free Unlimited Soft Drinks, for example) is measured against this standard gauge: Does this make our product better/more appealing to families? Our Mission is “To be the World Leader in Family Fun.” This has evolved over the years. When we first adopted a mission following our decision to focus on families, it was, “To be the first choice for fantastic family fun and entertainment in the region.” As we’ve grown, we have felt the need to set the bar higher and higher.
This focus has allowed us to make changes to our product that our competitors can’t or won’t. It has also allowed us to avoid doing some things that would have added to our operating costs without serving our target market. As a result, we have become the first choice of families throughout our region. Park customers don’t often visit their second choice. It is far better to be the first choice of a small segment of the population than to be the second (or heaven forbid, third) choice of everyone. When customers are choosing an outdoor entertainment venue, they visit their first choice.
Focusing on families has been perhaps the most important key to our continued steady growth and development over many years.