There is a lot to look forward to in the new year. Accelerated adoption of technology, increasing pent-up demand from the public to visit attractions, and enhanced experiences that embrace creative talent all fuel optimism for the future. As we begin 2022, we put out a request for submissions for what to be on the lookout for to ensure a successful year. Forecasts ranged from cautious to optimistic, and how businesses in the attractions industry should approach various initiatives including business strategy, technology, staffing & employment, guest experience, and social responsibility, all while remaining optimistic that the industry’s rebound from the pandemic will continue to strengthen. In this episode, Matt and Josh discuss the takeaways from the latest e-book, Forecasts from AttractionPros, which is available for download here.
From a high level, what strategy changes are you considering to keep pace with the rest of the industry and the world? The attractions industry is expected to increase its adoption of dynamic pricing, implementation of intellectual property will see a shift from movies to video games, and FEC’s should gear their marketing towards hosting events beyond their existing birthday party program. Additional parks may be sold, new parks potentially announced, and smaller attractions will take on more creative initiatives.
Emerging trends throughout the attractions industry will continue to accelerate, including automation and self-service, along with new methods of ordering and payment that streamlines processes and enhance the experience. In response to the pandemic, technology is helping operators become more contactless, through gesture-based technology and cashless payments. From an experiential standpoint, environments are becoming more immersive, through projection mapping, LED, and virtual reality.
Staffing & Employment
The staffing challenges of 2020 and 2021 will not see relief in 2022. Attractions will need to be more creative in the way that they recruit and hire, leading through the entire employee journey of how leaders engage with employees and how compensation packages are put together. There is clear demand for higher wages, especially when employees have options in other industries for higher pay and arguably better working conditions. The employment landscape is changing drastically, and what may have worked just a few years ago may no longer be as effective.
Premium experiences will present themselves as viable options for operators to implement in the interest of enhancing the experience while simultaneously increasing revenue and per capita spending. Driving these decisions will be greater use of data from both passive and active guest behaviors that justify implementations of new experiences as well as operational efficiencies. Venues that do not have the same resources as the bigger players can close the gap through immersive elements that surround their core product that enhance the overall experience.
Being a better steward for the planet will be critical, as will being at the forefront of initiatives that have historically taken a backseat. Issues like climate change will challenge how attractions can reduce their carbon footprint, as well guide leaders through operational changes and opportunities for adapting to the changing world. From a DEI perspective, attractions must pave the way toward a more inclusive world that goes beyond a social media post here and there: they must walk the walk and weave diversity, equity, and inclusion into their core DNA.
At the beginning of the pandemic, the optimists predicted a pent-up demand that would drive a surge in attendance that helps the industry rebound. They were right. That demand is expected to continue into 2022 as the industry sees more and more openings of new attractions and venues, along with increased pricing with minimal elasticity. People are anxious and excited to get out and play, and recognize the value of spending quality time with friends and family.
We’d like to thank everyone who contributed to this piece and shared their forecast for 2022. To download the e-book, click here:
If you enjoyed the e-book and this podcast episode, please share it with your network and colleagues throughout the industry.
This podcast wouldn’t be possible without the incredible work of our amazing team:
- Audio and video editing by Abigail Giganan
- Scheduling and correspondence by Kristen Karaliunas
- Social media marketing by Kate Kujawa
- Branding and design by Fabiana Fonseca
- Email marketing by Sam Bercik
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