22 May 2018 Attractions Management Handbook
 

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Attractions Management Handbook - Licensed to Spend

Thinkwell

Licensed to Spend


Andrea Yoo from Thinkwell Group looks at consumer trends in children’s museums, zoos and aquariums infused with intellectual properties

Filmed at Chester Zoo, The Secret Life of The Zoo tv series sparked all-time record visitor numbers to the UK attraction PHOTO: © secret life of the zoo
Our Zoo put Chester Zoo firmly on the LBE map
Parques Reunidos is behind plans to bring first Nickelodeon FECs to Europe
Marvel and Lego are prime examples of IPs driving visitors to theme parks and attractions PHOTO: ©lego
Could IP-infused family friendly LBEs reap the rewards found at IP-branded theme parks photo: ©cartoon network
KidzMondo and Kidzania edutainment parks – ideal opportunities for IP branding? PHOTO: ©kidzmondo

There has been a recent surge in popularity of intellectual properties (IP) appearing in everything from theme parks and attractions to merchandise and museum exhibits. This cultural phenomenon had us at Thinkwell wondering whether this increasingly common practice could be an enduring profit generator for IP owners and operators of educational and entertainment-focused venues. Does the presence of a well-known IP automatically lend credibility, trustworthiness, and value to a venue? Would consumers be willing to visit a venue more often if it was overlaid or infused with a popular IP? As more family friendly location-based entertainment (LBE) venues start to incorporate IPs, would visitors spend more money and time on their experiences and should IP owners start to license their properties more heavily to invest in that possibility?

ENTERTAINMENT VS EDUCATION
The Thinkwell Guest Experience Trend Report was created to answer these very questions – it sought to not only examine behaviour of guests as they navigated experiences, but also the reasoning behind decisions to visit and make purchases at specific types of LBEs.

The 2015 survey incorporated over 1,000 adults with children living in the USA (73 per cent aged 30-44) to analyse their spending choices at family friendly LBEs, including children’s museums, aquariums and zoos. The goal was to determine whether families would be inclined to visit one of those venues more often and spend more on purchases if they were completely infused with a popular IP (film, tv, video game or book).

The results of the survey, while not entirely surprising, confirmed that families are willing to spend more on an experience at an LBE if it features a recognisable IP. However, what was surprising is that the results showed the respondents to be less willing to spend an increased amount of money or time at an IP-specific educational experience versus at an IP-specific entertainment experience. So respondents wouldn’t be as compelled to spend more money or time at a children’s museum, aquarium or zoo if it were infused with an IP, whereas they would be willing to spend more at a family entertainment centre or a family restaurant if it were branded with recognisable characters, themes or environments from a popular IP.

To be clear, respondents would still be willing to spend more for an IP-branded experience at an educational venue. However, the percentage of respondents willing to spend more at a children’s museum, zoo or aquarium is much slimmer than for other, more entertainment-focused venues. For example, respondents still preferred authentic and traditional experiences at children’s museums and didn’t necessarily feel that adding an IP would increase the educational value or enhance the overall experience. Even at zoos and aquariums, which toe the line between education and entertainment, a smaller percentage of respondents stated that they would pay more for things like annual memberships, merchandise and souvenirs at an IP-overlaid venue.

MUSEUM BRANDING
An impressive 62 per cent of respondents stated they would visit a children’s museum more often if there were permanent exhibits based around their child’s favourite movie, television show, cartoon or book. However, only half of respondents stated that having IP-specific exhibits at a children’s museum would compel them to pay more for an annual membership pass. Similarly, only 53 per cent of respondents would be inclined to pay more for merchandise or souvenirs branded with elements from a favourite movie, television show, cartoon or book.

As almost half of respondents claimed their family visits a children’s museum for educational purposes, it isn’t entirely surprising that including a popular IP would guarantee a drastic increase in the frequency of visits or the amount of purchases made.

IPS AT ZOOS & AQUARIUMS
Even at a zoo or aquarium, which blends education and entertainment, only 58 per cent of respondents stated that they would be willing to visit more often if there were permanent, IP-specific exhibits, and only 54 per cent said they would be more willing to pay more for admission or annual family passes. An even smaller percentage of respondents, 52 per cent, stated that they would be inclined to purchase more souvenirs or merchandise even if they were branded with recognisable IPs.

As respondents claimed that the primary reason they visit a zoo or aquarium is to spend time together as a family and not to see new or existing exhibits, having IP-specific overlays is perhaps not a compelling enough reason for guests to visit more often or purchase more merchandise or souvenir.

IP-SPECIFIC LBES
Despite not acting as a major motivating factor for guests, the study conclusively revealed that respondents feel that IP-specific elements do influence more money and time being spent at family friendly LBEs. Based on 1,032 open-ended answers, the respondents who were more likely to prefer an IP-specific LBE stated that the experiences would be “more fun”, “make the kids happy” and “make the experience more special”. These respondents felt that seeing recognisable characters and elements would be a treat for the kids and far more entertaining than visiting a generic LBE.

COST IMPLICATIONS
For the respondents who did not feel more inclined to visit an IP-specific children’s museum, aquarium or zoo, cost was the biggest deciding factor against choosing these experiences over generic ones. These respondents did not feel that an IP-infused experience added any value for the implied increased cost, nor did they feel that the quality of the environment, merchandise or souvenirs would be any better at an IP-specific venue. Other consistent responses were that an IP would make the experience “too commercial,” “trendy” or “distracting”, so that families wouldn’t be able to fully enjoy their time or learn as much at an IP-specific LBE.

MEETING DEMANDS
After examining the survey responses, Thinkwell concludes that IP owners can absolutely benefit from licensing and infusing their IPs into children’s museums, zoos and aquariums. Respondents were generally positive about wanting to experience IP-specific LBEs and were willing to pay more money for annual passes, admission and merchandise in addition to spending more time at these venues. To answer our initial question – would extending an IP be an enduring profit generator – we confirm that there is a demand for it and IP owners should more heavily invest in meeting that demand. ?

Thinkwell Guest Experience Report

The 2015 survey analysed the spending choices of families at family friendly LBEs, including children’s museums, aquariums and zoos.

“Thinkwell has believed in the power of an intellectual property in attracting and retaining guests since the very beginning of the company. This study highlights that the value of blockbuster brands and IP is only getting stronger, even in an increasingly crowded market, and that the public’s thirst for IP hasn’t been quenched yet.”

Craig Hanna, Thinkwell CCO

 


 


 
 


 
 


 
 


 

About the author:

 

Andrea Yoo
 

As marketing & brand assets manager, Andrea Yoo is responsible for managing the marketing, advertising, and promotional activities for Thinkwell Group.

ayoo@thinkwellgroup.com

http://thinkwellgroup.com



Originally published in Attractions Handbook 2016 issue 1

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