By Roop Kunwar Singh
As the world continues to move faster and faster and as the disposable time in the hands of population continues to decline, amusement parks have emerged as oasis. Serving as means of a short and temporary escape from the monotonous routine. Consequently, the global amusement and theme park industry has emerged as a billion dollar fortress. There are more than 400 amusement parks and attractions in United States alone1. Like any other industry, all these parks are also indulged in selling something to the customers but not any product or service. They sell ‘Experiences’. And when there is something to be sold, the need for marketing is bound to arise.
The selling points of different parks vary depending upon the target customers, scale of operations, expected value etc. Based upon these factors, we have classified the amusement parks into following three categories:
- Global Parks
- Regional/National Parks
- Local Parks
Although, the marketing strategies for the three categories are bound to be different, there are two basic attributes which every park, regardless of category, ought to exude and that are as follows:
RECREATION: It may be in the form of entertainment, relaxation or may be even education but
no amusement park can sustain itself if it fails to provide recreation.
COMMUNAL EXPERIENCE: A feeling of collectivity is one of the essences of a park. The use of
Illustrations of families enjoying a joint bliss by more or less every amusement
park is a testimony to this.(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rUJgNy6PuKI)
These Parks are established over a very large scale and cater to a global consumer base. Their target audience is foreign as well as inland tourists and the population inhabiting the area around the establishment. Since, they serve the tourists who are willing to spend heavily in return for a high-quality experience, they are in a condition to charge high-cap prices for their services.
- Global Brand
- Environmental Integration
- Multi-various range of options and attractions
Marketing Strategy Adopted By Global Parks:
1. Parallel Business:
Usually the prime amusement park chains tend to have another parallel business, which serves as a highly effective means of promoting and drawing attention towards the park. For illustration, Disneyland has Disney channel and universal studios have their production house with innumerable global blockbusters as the crown jewels.
2. Colossal Scale:
They say you need at least 10 days to explore Disneyland suitably. These parks are established over an extensive area, which serves the purpose of cutting the people off completely from the outside world.
3. Theme-ing and Theme-ing:
Although these parks boast of an extensive variety of rides and shows, they still manage to maintain a consistent theme. This theme somehow features on each and every stone around the park and is indeed the park’s soul. This theme only differentiates the rides around these parks from that of any ordinary park.
4. Lifetime Experience:
These global parks serve their audience with an experience they can all boast about, an experience they can cherish, an experience which they can carry with themselves all through their life. And they make due note of this fact in their advertisements.
The primary aim of these parks is to serve as a family picnic spot and hang-out location for the local population. Their ambition does not extend to global or national tourists and thus, they can comprise on the infrastructure, which also allows them to sell tickets at low-cap prices.
- Family Time
Marketing Strategy Adopted By Local Parks:
These parks are usually established on the outskirts of a town rather than any central location. This doubles up their reach from one town to two.
2. Advertisements on Local channels and newspapers:
Local parks usually resort to local channels rather than the national ones to broadcast their advertisements, which are available at relatively low costs and allows a direct reach to their target audience.
In between the extremes of Global parks and local parks, lie the regional amusement parks. They are also established over a large area but do not possess a global recognition.
More or less, the selling points of regional parks constitute that of both the global as well as local amusement parks.
Marketing Strategy Adopted By Regional Parks:
The promotions are done using electronic as well as print media and unlike local parks, regional parks resort to national television. To attract the youth (the prime customer base for majority of industries), student discounts are also offered.
One more technique of marketing which the regional parks, especially in India, have adopted is to market particular shows and rides separately.
It is clear from the above analysis that unlike Global and local amusement parks, the Regional parks lack any absolute Marketing Point. This is one of the main reasons for the mediocre success of such parks and reluctance of capitalists to invest in mid-cap ventures.
Although, the amusement park industry is witnessing new heights in developing countries like USA and UK, it is still in dormant state in India. Except for the small scale local parks, there is hardly anything which has seen large scale success. There are a number of reasons for this like lack of land area, lack of capital, lack of innovation and to a certain extent, lack of interest from the corporate side. They argue that considering the ‘save for future’ attitude of Indians, it is not plausible to suppose that Indians will be willing to spend something like 5000 rupees per person (standard amount charged by parks like Disney and universal) for a day’s entertainment.
Well, to a certain extent they are correct. We Indians do have a prudent spending past. But aren’t we Indians only the one who tend to spend lakhs of rupees per person for a foreign trip just to visit some world famous amusement parks? So, wouldn’t it actually be cheaper for us if we have one within our country? And there is no doubt that with all our ancient and medieval folk tales, there is abundance of themes to innovate upon. So, basically all we need is that first step from someone and for all it matters, I am thoroughly waiting for that step.