IPM editor Martin Palicki interviewed Mark Snell, Chief Experience Officer for KidZania and Cammie Dunnaway, CEO for KidZania United States and head of KidZania’s Global Marketing about the Cuicuilco park and what it means for the company’s aggressive expansion plans.
MS: We use KidBox software to track kids throughout the park. Every child has an active and passive RFID bracelet that they wear throughout their stay. Their parent also gets a wristband. The parent can go to a kiosk and see where their child is at any time. RFID readers at the entrance and completion of every experience continually update everyone’s location. Parents can also send a message to children. The bracelet will flash indicating they need to find an adult who can retrieve the message.
CD: We are starting to incorporate some smart phone technology. We have a loyalty program where kids can get a passport stamped after they complete an activity. We are working to develop an augmented reality program that will make the stamps come to life in the passport book.
MS: The goal is to never do something the child can do at home. So we avoid video game type activities. The closest thing to that we have is the Flight Training Academy. We have kid sized flight simulators constructed to be a kid-sized version of the Airbus A320 cockpit InterJet (a Mexican airline) uses. But that’s really the only screen-intensive activity we offer.
CD: We often turn to our corporate partners to help provide content. We don’t know how to provide a realistic pilot or flight attendant training program, so we turn to InterJet as a partner. We work with Berlitz to put together a language school. These partnerships make the experience feel real. While the partnership model is part of KidZania’s economic plan, we are adamant that the partners are not creating giant commercials for their products.
IPM: How do you price your product?
MS: It’s about $15 for a full day of experiences, and depending on what experiences you choose, you can even make some food to eat for that price.
CD: Once inside, each child is given $50 in KidZos, our own currency. Various experiences cost KidZos, while you can also earn KidZos for work done. We also have a department store that sells redemption-style merchandise for KidZos. Kids receive a bank account and can use paper KidZo money, or we have an ATM KidZo system also. We also pay interest on KidZo savings accounts.
MS: There’s no shortage of things to do to earn or spend KidZos. We have over 120 establishments in the park and each establishment has multiple activities that generally last about 30 minutes. Generally kids can do about 12-15 activities per stay. So there is plenty to do to keep them coming back, and each activity would be noteworthy as something above and beyond a traditional experience in a US children’s museum.
IPM: What are your expansion plans?
CD: Right now we are one of the fastest growing entertainment concepts. It only takes about 18 months to open up a new facility, and we are truly a global brand. We are already well on our way to having dozens of locations around the world and continuing to inspire and empower children through experiences.
Cars for Driving Streets were custom manufactured by:Electra Motorsports1176 Greenfield DriveEl Cajon, CA 92021P: 619-448-0886www.electramotorsports.com
Laser Security Maze for the treasure museum provided by:Funovation
410 S. Sunset, Unit BLongmont, CO 80501+1 303-996-0294
Underground Vortex Tunnel for water aquifer experience provided by:GEP Productions, Inc.2030 Barclay Messerly Rd.
Southington, Ohio 44470
Phone: (330) 392-6527www.gepproductions.com/vortextunnel
Cammie Dunaway joined in October 2010 to serve as CEO for KidZania United States and head of KidZania’s Global Marketing. Cammie previously held worldwide positions at Nintendo of America, Yahoo! and Frito-Lay. Cammie has an MBA from Harvard University and has been the recipient of multiple global marketing awards for her outstanding performance.
Mark Snell is the Chief Experience Officer. He joined KidZania in May, 2011 and oversees and supports the generation of new ideas and concepts that improve the KidZania Experience. He is in charge of content, theming and the national archive. Prior to joining KidZania Mark worked in creative planning, direction and design with Jack Morton Worldwide and also managed and built client relationships and led multidisciplinary creative teams at Jack Rouse Associates.
Headquarters: Mexico City, Mexico
Founder: Xavier Lopez Ancona
Visitors: More than 20 million global visitors since opening in 1999, with 500,000 to 1 million visitors annually at each facility.
Open Facilities: Mexico City, Mexico (1999), Monterrey, Mexico (2006), Tokyo, Japan (2007), Jakarta, Indonesia (2007), Osaka, Japan (2009), Lisbon, Portugal (2009), Dubai, United Emirates (2010), Seoul, South Korea (2010), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (2012)
In Development: Santiago, Chile (2012), Kuwait City, Kuwait (2012), Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (2012), Bangkok, Thailand (2012), Cairo, Egypt (2013), São Paulo, Brazil (2013), Mumbai, India (2013), Istanbul, Turkey (2013), London, England (2013), United States (2014), Singapore, Singapore (2014), Moscow, Russia (2014)
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