Tuesday, April 16, 2024


Since 2002, Delta has conducted its trademark VLP research study for theme parks. This research has always been innovative and actionable, and is now crucial as theme parks enter the make-or-break year of 2011.

Market share among individual theme parks has been decreasing steadily over the past several years, as new venues crop up and carve out their own portion of share – creating a “watering-down” effect. This trend shows definite signs of exploding in 2011. VLP research is absolutely crucial for all theme parks in order to not only maintain their share, but to define and set themselves apart from others in this incredibly competitive environment – whether a direct competitor, competitive entertainment venues, or the economy itself.

In VLP research, the guest segments are defined as follows:

• Visitor: an individual who has visited your park within the past year (and possibly previous years)
• Lapsed: an individual who has not visited your park within the past year, but has visited in year(s) prior
• Potential: an individual who has not visited your park within the past several years, but fits the target demographic for your park (eg Teen/Young Adult, Parent of child under the age of 18, etc.)

Once these guest segments are defined, Visitor, Lapsed, Potential research is essential in allowing theme parks to reliably:

• Measure/gauge perceived park position among general population, and how/if such perception impedes correct positioning against competitive parks
• Measurement of competitive strengths and weaknesses; assisting you in making the right decisions especially in terms of public relations
• Determine barriers and opportunities among potential guests
• Measure satisfaction among current visitors; what “drives” guests to visit the park, and how these “drivers” can be applied to Potential and Lapsed visitors to increase future visitation
• Measure impact of new capital (existing, as well as that in the planning stage)
• Determine reasons for attrition (lapsed visitation) among key targets, such as Parents, Teens, and specific visitor segments by demographic

Delta Market Research has conducted over 12 separate VLP studies for various theme parks over the past decade, to the tremendous benefit of those parks participating.

February is almost here, and it is critical for VLP research to be conducted now, in the off-season, in order for parks to be ready for the onslaught of fierce competition in 2011, from direct competitors, competitive entertainment venues, and the economy itself. As the leaders in theme park research, Delta’s mission is to make sure you’re ready. The time is now.

Martin Palicki
Martin Palicki
Martin Palicki owns and publishes InPark Magazine. Started in 2004, InPark Magazine provides owners and operators the perspective from "in"side the "park." Martin has also written for publications like Sound & Communications, Lighting & Sound America, Attractions Management and others. Martin has been featured in Time Magazine, CNN.com and Folio. Martin lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA.

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