Last week a team of product managers, business developers and sales reps from our various markets joined in the fun at the Euro Attractions Show in Berlin, Europe’s largest amusement park industry trade fair hosted by the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA).
This year 13,000 attendees, including 8,400 qualified buyers, took advantage of the networking opportunities on offer as 540 exhibitors and 95 speakers provided insights into industry hot topics amid the latest innovations. This is where you come to learn from the best of the best in the business of fun: how to stay ahead, what to prepare for, and what to watch out for in the coming year(s).
Among the key takeaways were:
- The European amusement park industry is in good health, grossing €4.9bn in 2017. Some 307 theme parks and amusement parks, employing more than 53,000 people, attracted more than 150 million visitors last year.
- Digitalisation has arrived – virtual reality headsets now sync seamlessly with rollercoasters offering visitors real wind and g-forces even in a virtual environment.
- Themed attractions are all the rage – attractions made out of pure steel and without a deeper storyline and attention to detail are disappearing fast in a bid to improve the customer experience.
- Hybrid parks are becoming more popular – the differences between animal parks, water parks and theme parks are melting away. Numerous parks, among them Germany’s Europa-Park and Holiday Park, are planning water attractions while Spreewelten Baths allows visitors to swim alongside penguins separated by only a glass window.
- Amusement parks have become less weather dependent. Earlier ticket sales via online ticketing, dynamic pricing and B2B events are helping owners attract visitors regardless of cloudy skies. And even on a rainy day, discounted admission tickets for future visits create loyalty and drives sales. Smart!
- There’s lots of potential for improving operating efficiency and customer acquisition. Only a few players have developed sophisticated CRM platforms that improve their understanding of the customer journey and help them target their most profitable customers. The data generated in different Enterprise Resource Planning systems (ERP) is rarely linked to user accounts and not shared with users – a gold mine for building loyalty still to be exploited.
I defy anyone to go to Euro Attractions and not be blown away by the engineering on show in rollercoasters, virtual reality games and inflatable bouncy castles. Or be inspired by the success stories from entrepreneurs who have turned their visions into multi-million-visitor attractions and continue to push the boundaries of fun.
And it’s great knowing that in our AfterPay Fast Track Arvato has something to offer as well. We met many industry experts in Berlin and got great feedback on our NFC instant payment solution. We will develop the solution further with a distinct focus on software, payments and data insights while expanding our partner-network, who support us in delivering excellent hardware components.
Right now we are working intensively with industry leaders to improve the customer journey by linking online ticket purchases with on-site purchases via the NFC bracelets visitors pick up on arrival or get sent home to them. No check-in, no checkout, no tokens for attractions, no waiting in line to pay – just one-second purchases, combined with visitors’ preferred payment method and complete control of their spending via a real-time online portal, creating more time for fun. And the fun doesn’t stop there, we share our data with our clients so that they can improve the customer experience and keep their most profitable customers coming back for more.
– Head of Project Office, Arvato Financial Solutions