Interview by Joe Kleiman
In June 2019, Fernando Eiroa joined Utah-based trampoline and action sports chain CircusTrix as its new CEO. The company operates 320 facilities in 20 countries, with an increasing number of new locations on a yearly basis – 50 in 2018 alone. CirucsTrix operates under three primary brands – Defy, Rockin Jump (acquired in 2017) and Sky Zone (acquired in 2018).
From 2007 to 2016, Eiroa served as President and CEO of Palace Entertainment, which, as the US subsidiary of Parques Reunidos, operates FECs, waterparks, regional theme parks, marine life parks and aquariums, and hotels within North America. In 2016, he was promoted to CEO of parent Parques Reunidos, listed in the TEA/AECOM Theme Index as one of the ten highest attended park chains globally. InPark spoke with Eiroa about the unique business of trampoline parks and action sports facilities and the similarities and differences with other aspects of the leisure industry.
With Palace Entertainment and Parques Reunidos, you managed FECs, theme parks, zoos and marine life parks, and water parks throughout the world. How did your experience with such a wide variety of venues prepare you for CircusTrix?
CircusTrix centers are very different to traditional leisure parks. Trampoline is an Olympic sport since Sydney 2000. I’d rather define them as action centers. Trampoline parks are like a fun, younger version of a gym. We are delivering a great active experience for kids that will become things like surfers, or snowboarders. Our guests come to jump, run, interact with other friends and to share their new experiences on social media.
What I bring is a broad experience in imagining new concepts, figuring out what young people like and matching different partners, products and industries to implement leisure experiences. I focus my efforts on building a coordinated team, with members from different countries, that work together to create a knowledge base to generate synergies. This ability is usable in entertainment and in almost any industry today, and I am sure that it will help bring innovation to trampolines and keep CircusTrix as a leader.
What differences have you seen in FECs between when you were starting out in the industry and now?
The leisure industry has to reinvent itself because this new generation is marked by a new trend towards a healthy lifestyle.
FECs are generally a smaller version of a traditional amusement park. They offer family entertainment where customers go to play games on a machine or enjoy a mechanical ride.
CircusTrix is about exercising. We offer a fun way to spend some time running, jumping and playing. I would say it is complementary to other sports. Our guests come looking for a unique experience. They love action, playing sports and sharing what they do on the spot and online. These girls and boys may also love BMX freestyle, parkour or inline skating.
Both FECs and action centers are leisure options that respond to different moments, and a different approach to fun.
What differentiates CircusTrix from other trampoline-based FECs?
We are pioneers and we lead through innovation. We want to focus on who we are, action centers that deliver unique experiences. We listen to our visitors and we want to stage customized activities and new challenges. We are leading a new trend in entertainment and we will continue to be thinking outside of the box.
The company is expanding in North America, Europe, and Asia. Does what works well in one market translate well to others?
Youth is now linked by social media. What happens in LA is soon viral in Paris, and what some kid may post in Sydney becomes a trending topic in Berlin instantly. It is important to adapt to the markets, like with traditional amusement parks, but ours is such a young amazing activity that it is really successful wherever we go.
Where do you see the company headed in the next five years?
I would compare the growth and development of CircusTrix to going on fresh snow. Our goal is to keep carving with no skidding. We are taking each curve at a time looking in all directions to find new add-ons that will make our guests enjoy every minute at our centers. I see CircusTrix in more countries and offering original new ways to have fun and exercise. On that imaginary snow slope, we are leaving a track that is being followed but, we want to continue to be the purveyors of the awesome.
Photos courtesy CircusTrix