Welcome to the online version of InPark Magazine issue #74. Gracing this issue’s cover is Polin’s Storm Racer slide, which shoots guests at a high speed into a curved uphill ramp, where they pause momentarily before gravity takes over and rafts return down to the splash-out. Aqualand Frejus (France) opened Storm Racer earlier this year.
I was traveling in Turkey working on this issue’s cover story about Polin when the value of the Turkish lira started to drop precipituously. Although pundits fretted and politicians glowered, it was apparent to me that people kept going to work, out to dinner and to the various sights around Istanbul. In the resort town of Antalya, where Land of Legends is located, busloads of tourists arrived at the park each day, crowds filled the attraction queues and nearby resorts were bursting with guests.
Naturally, shifts in economies can quickly alter consumer behavior, but even with hiccups here and there, in many parts of the world, things are chugging along quite nicely (from a tourism and attractions perspective at least).
But that doesn’t mean developers can get complacent in creating desirable destinations. As Land of Legends manager Cem Tuna impressed upon me, you have to give people a reason to want to come to you. That means incorporating elements of storytelling and technology into a development – elements that create an emotional tie and aura of enchantment. Oftentimes, leveraging IP is one piece of that puzzle. Utilizing the latest AV equipment to create a dynamic multimedia experience is another.
Inevitably, the chugging economy will sputter a bit, and people will adjust their spending habits accordingly. By creating a destination that appeals to the desire for magic and intrigue, you can set yourself up to weather down times and position your attraction for success over the long haul.
“Value experiences over things” is a mantra heard ‘round the world now and should have the attention of anyone wishing to connect with today’s demographic giants: millennials (66M strong) and Gen Z (69M strong).
The mantra echoes tenets of the Experience industry. Creating value that isn’t tied to price. Memorable stories; emotional connections. Self-determination also comes into play, in these days of non-linear storytelling and roleplaying. So do trust, and high expectations of quality.
It’s about what gives meaning to life – an ultimate reckoning based on experiences rather than ownership. It’s about choices. There is an intriguing list of industries and products threatened by the purchasing/non-purchasing patterns of the reigning younger generations. They’re selective about spending, mistrustful of corporations. Millennials have substantial student debt; Gen Z grew up during the Great Recession. They are socially and politically aware. When they buy, donate, invest or participate, they exercise their values.
In entertainment experiences, the guest’s high standards and values will be in play from gate to gate, door to door, portal to portal. Major companies wanting to connect with these generations need to do the work and they need to communicate it. Meaningful experiences that meet these generations on their own ground, speak to them in their own language, that are unique and memorable… these should be an IP’s – or a brand’s – calling cards. Our industry stands ready to partner and provide.