Thursday, October 21, 2021

Issue 78 Editorials

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Think locally, act globally

Martin Palicki, IPM publisher

Looking at stories in this issue, it’s easy to draw a couple of conclusions. First, the industry is in a good spot. Growth continues to be positive, but perhaps more importantly, markets that perhaps felt a bit questionable appear more stable. There will always be volatility in the world, but the particular regions most relevant to our industry seem reliably poised to continue driving leisure and entertainment spending. Further, there are additional economies (especially in Russia, India and the Middle East) that are gearing up for new waves of opportunity.

Second, it’s also clear that the era of North American and European leadership in this industry is changing. As evidenced at both the DEAL conference and in the slate of 2019 TEA Thea Awards, suppliers and leaders in Asia are changing the paradigm, and their capabilities appear to be ever-expanding.

This might be concerning to established Western companies, but I suggest reinventing a popular saying as a guide for staying relevant: “think locally, act globally.” Thinking locally asks you to look inward and examine exactly what your core business and benefits are. Once you understand the unique value that you bring to the marketplace, take it out into the world. In other words: act globally.

Many who invested time and capital in building operations in China and elsewhere in Asia will continue to reap the benefits of that established branding. After all, people still tend to buy Coke and Pepsi even when dozens of alternatives are available. And for those without that name recognition, international partnerships remain an ideal method for building clientele and reputation overseas.

It’s up to you to get out there and make sure you are visible, present and understood. Towards that end, InPark can help. Our global audience continues to grow as we translate more content into Mandarin, and our international distribution outlets increase.

The world may be changing, but it isn’t shrinking. If you haven’t already, now is the time to execute your global strategy: Examine. Plan. Engage.

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Deep inside the story bubble

Judith Rubin, IPM editor

In visitor attractions, technology has reached a stage where it can support the creation of storytelling environments that are ever more vivid and authentic, joining reality to virtuality. We’re closer than ever to something that feels like being on the Star Trek Holodeck. Sophistication and performance are coupled with affordability and accessibility, giving creatives and operators more options and fewer barriers than ever before in terms of storytelling tools and the ability to design and build immersive, engaging experiences and out-of-this-world worlds.

Build them they will. And build them they must. Without qualification, our industry can now offer deeply immersive experiences and spaces – unique, out-of-home shared adventures. Most promising (and creatively challenging) are experiences wherein the guest has agency – the power to make choices and take actions that affect what happens next.

The non-linear, connected immersion experience is not just playing the game. It’s passing through a physical portal and playing inside the game, with real-time results and variable outcomes. It’s living a different story each time, because what happens depends on your decisions and actions as well as the decisions and actions of other guests. It’s the unique, competitive offering that will bring attendance and repeat attendance to out-of-home leisure destinations.

The immersive, interactive, real-time, responsive space can provide a unique platform for bringing a blockbuster IP to life. Or it may be the vehicle of original artistic expression, or convey a moment in history, or share a folk tale, or scientific exploration… or many other adventures. What matters is that this fluid form of storytelling and guest experience has emerged as the leading edge of our industry. How will you harness it to make your next project compelling and irresistible?

IMAGE: Star Trek Holodeck. Copyright CBS.

Joe Kleimanhttp://www.themedreality.com
Raised in San Diego on theme parks, zoos, and IMAX films, Joe Kleiman would expand his childhood loves into two decades as a projectionist and theater director within the giant screen industry. In addition to his work in commercial and museum operations, Joe has volunteered his time to animal husbandry at leading facilities in California and Texas and has played a leading management role for a number of performing arts companies. Joe has been News Editor and contributing author to InPark Magazine since 2011. HIs writing has also appeared in Sound & Communications, LF Examiner, Jim Hill Media, and MiceChat. His blog, ThemedReality.com takes an unconventional look at the attractions industry. Follow on twitter @themedreality Joe lives in Sacramento, California with his fiancé, two dogs, and a ghost.
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