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A focus on Action Aquapark’s customers’ behaviour and management policy
Author: Darina Todorova Suleva MA European Tourism Management Bournemouth University, UK
NHTV, Breda, the Netherlands Univesrsidade do Algarve, Portugal
The experience economy concept is based on the assumption that the experience value of a product has become a key factor, influencing consumers’ decision making. On the one hand, this fact is a reason for the emergence of fierce competition for theme parks with other industries which are not considered to offer experiences but rather certain commodities. On the other hand, the changes in consumers’ behaviour provoke the search for new management strategies and approaches to keep market share and competitive advantage. One of the possible management strategies for theme parks for overcoming the increased competition is suggested to be the Blue Ocean Strategy (Kim and Mauborgne, 2005). The overall aim of this research study has been to explore the Blue Ocean Strategy’s potential within theme parks and to assess customers’ influence in order to choose a new management strategy. The study focuses on Action Aquapark’s customers and on the practical implementation of a new management approach. An in-depth analysis of literature concerning the experience economy concept, the possible approaches to its challenges and the current situation in theme parks industry was executed in the literature review. The primary research included questionnaires of Action Aquapark’s visitors to discover their expectations, satisfaction and motives for future visits. The second part of the empirical study comprised of interviews with four water parks’ managers in the Algarve, Portugal and with the marketing manager of Action Aquapark. The aim of these personal conversations was to gather in-depth information on the acquaintance of managers with new management approaches and their possible practical application. The main finding of the research is that customers are satisfied with Action Aquapark’s product but they need new attractions and experiences to be introduced in order to re-visit the park. Some differences in perceptions between British and Bulgarian customers were outlined. That has led to the conclusion that an approach can be implemented only after it is tested and conformed to the national characteristics and conditions where the park is operating.
I hereby declare that the dissertation submitted is wholly the work of Darina Todorova Suleva. Any other contributors or sources have either been referenced in the prescribed manner or are listed in the acknowledgements, together with the nature and scope of their contribution.
Experience economy II. Literature review of the experience economy concept II.2.2. Is the experience economy really an ‘economy’? II.4. ‘Experience rules’ II. Limitations.1.2. What is an experience? II.4. Different approaches in the experience economy context II. New consumer behaviour in the experience economy II.1.3.2. Introduction to the methodological approach I. validity and reliability I. Conclusion iv . Success factors II. Dissertation structure 1 1 3 4 5 7 8 8 11 11 14 15 17 19 25 26 29 31 33 37 II.2.5. Imagineering II.4. Context and rationale I. Experiences – the new emerging value? II.18.104.22.168. Blue Ocean Strategy II.22.214.171.124.Table of Contents ABSTRACT DECLARATION TABLE OF CONTENTS TABLE OF CONTENTS – APPENDICES LIST OF TABLES LIST OF FIGURES LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ii iii iv vii viii ix x xi I.2.4.5. Introduction I. Introduction II. Research aim and objectives I.3.1.3. Experience economy versus entertainment economy II.
Introduction V. Main findings of research V.126.96.36.199.3. Secondary research approach V.2.III.188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206. Demographic profile V. Introduction IV.1. Theme/water parks industry III.220.127.116.11. Correlation analysis V. Competitors of Action Aquapark III.2. Customers of Action Aquapark III.1.1. Holiday patterns of behaviour V. Current management approaches to theme parks III.4. Quantitative primary research IV. Definitions of theme/water parks III. The Bulgarian perspective – Action Aquapark III. Primary and secondary research IV.18.104.22.168. Findings through interviews V.1. Main problems of Action Aquapark IV.4. Conclusion 38 38 38 42 44 50 50 51 54 55 57 57 57 58 58 58 61 62 63 63 63 63 64 64 65 67 68 71 v . Customers’ perceptions of Action Aquapark V. Methodology IV. Theoretical framework of theme/water parks III.22.214.171.124. Aim and objectives of research IV.5. Primary research approach IV. Findings through questionnaires V.1.1. History and background III.2.2. Qualitative primary research III. Perceptions of a water park and past experience V.2.3. Characteristics of water parks and their customers III.3.
3. Conclusions and recommendations VI.2. Conclusions of the literature review and the main findings VI.5.1. Overall conclusion BIBLIOGRAPHY APPENDICES 72 72 72 74 76 77 78 83 vi .4.VI. Recommendations to Action Aquapark’s managers VI. Introduction VI. Suggestions for future research VI.
marketing manager of Zoomarine Park in Portugal Appendix 12: Interview with Ana Tendinha. manager of Aqua Show Water Park in Portugal Appendix 10: Interview with Maria José Anastácio. Bulgaria Appendix 7: Quantitative research of customers of Action Aquapark.Table of Contents APPENDICES Appendix 1: Euro Disney’s attendance and revenue figures for the period 2003-2005 Appendix 2: Distribution of theme parks in Western Europe Appendix 3: Distribution of water parks in Western Europe Appendix 4: Euro Disney’s breakdown of transportation used by guests in 2005 Appendix 5: Euro Disney’s attendance and revenues figures for the period 2004-2006 Appendix 6: Map of Action Aquapark. marketing manager of Slide and Splash Water Park in Portugal Appendix 13: Interview with Mila Razsolkova. Sunny Beach. marketing manager of Action Aquapark in Bulgaria Appendix 14: Figures of findings from the questionnaires 119 123 115 111 106 100 90 96 88 89 87 84 85 86 vii . July 2006 Appendix 8: Questionnaire distributed among Action Aquapark’s customers Appendix 9: Interview with Paulo Severino. manager of Aqualand Water Park in Portugal Appendix 11: Interview with Jose Bento.
List of Tables Table 2-1 Table 2-2 Table 2-3 Table 2-4 Table 2-5 Evolution of service economy Major determinants of new consumer behaviour Model of consumer’s behaviour Success factors for the management of theme parks Main differences between Red ocean and Blue ocean strategies 14 20 24 26 34 Table 3-1 Comparison between traditional outdoor leisure and aquatic parks 43 66 Table 5-1 Factors influencing a future visit to Action Aquapark viii .
List of Figures Figure 2-1 Figure 2-2 Figure 2-3 Figure 2-4 Figure 3-1 Figure 5-1 Evolution of the economy The experience realms Buyer decision process Defining the experience from the customer’s perspective Classification of leisure parks Important factors influencing a nice and a happy day in a water park 13 17 22 30 39 65 ix .
EU CEO WWA UK USA NASTEM ETC ETAG EMEA UNESCO IBM Business Consulting Services in the work quoted and others. Scientific and Cultural Organisation x . the Middle East and Africa United Nations Educational. et al. where group authorship occurs European Union Chief Executive Officer World Waterpark Association United Kingdom United States of America National Centre of Social and Economic Modelling European Travel Comission European Travel and Tourism Action Group Europe.List of Abbreviations IAAPA NHTV International Attraction and Amusement Parks Association Nationale Hogeschool voor Toerismee en Verkeer (Breda University of Professional Education) IBM op cit.
for his great support and endless love. She has shown all the patience to me consulting and supporting me for the long two-year period of my writing. Without her professional and friendly guidance I would have never been able to complete this research. I would like to thank Action Aquapark’s owner and general manager for always supporting me and giving me the opportunity four years ago to work and learn so many things about management relations and a new industry for me. I struggled a lot not understanding what this dissertation should look like. Without him it would not have been possible for me to complete this Master programme. the vibration of colour. She has shown me emotions and experiences that I have never imagined to exist and nobody in this world could ever offer. 1996. Last but not least. the sensation of light’ and ‘the absence of time’ for me. But that year I was not able to write it because I gave birth to my wonderful daughter – Antonia. University of Professional Education. At the beginning. all my gratitude goes to my supervisor Ariane Portegies of the NHTV.Acknowledgements TO MY DEAR MOTHER – Who would have been so proud! This dissertation had to be completed in 2005. I would like to thank her that she is part of my life and inspires me in each step of it. She is ‘a window to what was. Moreover. I need to share all my gratefulness to my husband Slavyan for always being there in the good and bad times. From the moment I saw her she became ‘the emotion of music. She is my magic – ‘a cherished moment remembered for a lifetime’ (The Imagineers. Furthermore. p. And she is the first person I would like to thank. and a doorway to what will be’. Breda. 176). Her never-ending support and advice stimulated me in my way of thinking and researching. xi .
Experience economy is. on the one hand. Examples of this change are TV commercials. The same is also valid for mobile phones which are not used only for connecting people but for IAAPA.numeriqc. Despite the optimistic predictions of a favourable trend of growth in the future. The main goal of the present analysis is to outline the main characteristics and traits. some authors (Pine and Gilmore. it has already occupied various aspects of people’s lives.I. Nijs. discussing it in their book of the same name. which in the past were regarded as offering just the usual necessary commodities. 2002).2006 1 1 .pdf. Millay) support the opinion that amusement industry meets fierce competition even outside the tourism industry. Introduction I. accessed on 07. Pine and Gilmore (1999) can be considered as the authors who made the term ‘experience economy’ popular. ‘Innovative Trends in the Global Amusement Industry’. are now offering new ‘experiences’ to their customers. by 2008 revenues generated by the amusement industry have increased by 25 percent compared to 2003 and attendance will grow by additional 5 percent per year. point out the impact of the experience economy on theme park industry and the possible approaches which businesses are adopting in order to overcome the challenges.ca/documents/ParksAttractions-InnovativeTrendsRecreManagJuly05. They introduce as a main concern the so called ‘experience economy’ which has already influenced different business sectors. the challenges mainly derive from a change in consumer needs and requirements and from the fact that different kinds of businesses.06. Companies offer not the television itself but the experience that the client will enjoy by buying a certain brand for its technical characteristics. available on http://www. More specifically. a new way of selling business but on the other hand. According to data presented by IAAPA1. Context and rationale Theme parks are the major attractions in the tourism industry and they generate the greatest number of visitors and revenues (Holloway.1.
However. Several scholars (Pine and Gilmore. for sharing feelings. the author could not find either in libraries2 or on the internet. Pine and Gilmore.. Florida. Another case in point is the newspaper. Blaas. Bulgaria 2 . However. in adverts. etc.g. emotions and amusement. Bos) emphasise the influence that the experience economy will have on theme park industry. as secondary sources I have used examples and opinions from other regions worldwide. at Universidade do Algarve.g. Boswijk et al. In the tourism industry all the beaches are ‘unspoilt’ as if every tourist is their ‘discoverer’. Those types of examples are found everywhere in people’s lives – in the shops. The focus of the study is mainly on the changing behaviour of customers. possible management strategies and some factors determining successful management in the context of the experience economy. Nijs. Nijs (2003) published a study on ‘imagineering’ as a set of instruments which can be 2 Libraries at NHTV University. The possible approaches are tested in practice with ‘Action Aquapark’. Nijs. Nijs. Bos. The primary research is limited to water parks (they are part of the theme park industry as will be discussed later) in Bulgaria and in Portugal.making pictures at the right moment. Portugal. in the way commodities are offered. as a case study. etc. a water park in Bulgaria. IBM. are given. etc. and at the University of National and World Economy. because these are the countries where the author had easier access to contacts and data. the Netherlands. It is ‘your companion while you are drinking your first coffee of the day’ (advertisement on television). any relevant literature and/or research papers where concrete investigation of the issues that theme parks face in the context of the experience economy. All these changes of the way of selling the products lead to direct and/or indirect competition for theme parks which in the past were considered among the few places which offered experiences. The issue of the expanding influence of the experience economy is widely discussed (e. A specific focus of attention is theme parks. Mommaas. Florida.). Pikkemaat and Schucker. O’Sullivan and Spangler. Confronted with this problem the author decided to research how theme parks could compete and maintain their market share in the context of the experience economy. Breda.) and used as a basis of some research (e. Sofia.
to adapt to the current changes and maintain their market shares. as a contribution to the work of Nijs (2003) and also to the paper presented by Pikkemaat and Schucker (2004). 3 . Pikkemaat and Schucker (2004) presented a paper dealing with the ‘new customer in the experience economy’. However.’ Particular attention will be paid to the concept of the experience economy since this is a new but prominent subject which influences not only theme parks but the whole tourism industry. on a smaller scale. 4) Adopt a theoretical model and/or strategy for Action Aquapark to adapt to the current changes and maintain its market share. I. its main characteristics. 3) Examine the management activities. facing fierce competition in the context of the experience economy. The aim of the dissertation will be attained by accomplishing the following objectives: 1) Identify and analyse the theoretical frame of the experience economy. this research is mainly concentrated on the changes the experience economy is provoking in society and deals only with its influence on theme parks sector. Although this dissertation concentrates on the theme parks industry it can be seen. This report to a great extent relates to the topic discussed in this dissertation but concerns more the ‘edutainment attractions’ and does not provide strategic management policies recommended.used for achieving corporate goals in response to the emergence of the experience economy. trends and challenges in order to reach the possible approaches and instruments for competing in its environment. 2) Carry out a thorough analysis of the current situation of the theme park industry.2. Research aim and objectives The overall aim of the dissertation is ‘on the basis of theoretical and empirical research to identify and analyse the management strategies which will allow theme parks. competitors and positioning of Action Aquapark.
and the Blue Ocean Strategy which accumulates some of the previous stated references described. This type of attraction is mainly referred to as an example of an ‘experience industry’. some actions for preparation for an experience-based competitive landscape. As stated above many authors discuss the matter of the ‘experience economy’. this sector of the attraction industry will be analysed and the changes that occur in it will be discussed. O’Sullivan and Spangler. different methods are used – methods of analysis and synthesis. After analysing the concept of the experience economy. the possible use of imagineering in theme parks management highlighted. comparative analysis. Finally. the literature review will present strategies for the improvement of management of theme parks. Blaas. I. some success factors for the management will be discussed. and also descriptive and statistical-econometric analytical methods. observation method. 4 . Unfortunately. Pikkemaat and Schucker) relate briefly the experience economy to the changes and future development of theme parks. Bos. Introduction to the methodological approach Literature overview of the theoretical frame and approaches is presented.The answers of the following research questions will be the guiding line in completing the stated objectives: What is experience economy? What is the new customer behaviour in the experience economy? What are the possible approaches and answers to the new challenges? What is a theme park and a water park? Who are theme parks’ customers? How should the management of theme parks change to maintain and improve their market share despite the fierce competition? Concrete research questions concerning the primary research are formulated on the basis of the literature review completed.3. in order to define the research aim and objectives. Diane Nijs. In the first part of the dissertation. identified by IBM will be presented. only a few of them (Pine and Gilmore. For a clearer understanding of the term ‘theme parks’.
the responses of tourists who visited Action Aquapark from 15th of August till 1st of September 2006 were collected by questionnaires in order to analyse the preferences. requirements and behaviour. as well as results of studies taken by specialised institutions. In the tourism industry as a whole the validity is very difficult to be achieved because this industry is dealing mainly with people’s subjective perceptions. He defines ‘validity’ as the scope to which the gathered information truly reflects the investigated issue.The practical adoption of the Blue Ocean Strategy will be discussed in the primary research of the dissertation.4. Bulgaria. validity and reliability One of the most important limitations to the methodological approach is the lack of comparable statistics for theme parks in Europe and in the world. by the extent to which they 5 . I have attempted to find out whether the psychology of tourists is changing in the context of the new economy. Additionally. and theoretical and empirical studies of Bulgarian and foreign authors in the field of the attraction industry. etc. Portugal and in Action Aquapark. status. In the process of the primary research I have used expert opinions collected from water parks’ managers questioned in Algarve. the main findings of the research are summarised and analysed in order to draw some conclusions and recommendations. They could also be prejudiced by other people’s opinions. To obtain more information. Limitations. education. I have used a survey conducted by a research company ordered by the management of Action Aquapark. One of the authors who discuss the terms ‘validity’ and ‘reliability’ is Veal (1997). Furthermore. Finally. data published in official sources by theme and water parks will be used. Consequently. I. Data for only the five biggest attraction parks in the world has been sourced. The primary research therefore could be influenced by the experts’ or the tourists’ experiences. values and motives of the customers.
the period of the research was chosen according to the number of visitors throughout the summer season and the national variety of customers. generalisable within each generation. With more disposable budget the author could gather information from more amusement parks within Europe. the results would in all likelihood be different. In this context. more or less. expectations and behaviour are. However. people’s perceptions. 6 . ‘Reliability’ is defined as the scope to which the research finding would be the same if the research was repeated in a different period of time or with different respondents. so it could be considered that the research of tourists’ opinion will be similar. the seasonal character of water parks (where the research is conducted) determined the few months when the study could be made.provide information and their hierarchical position in the organisation or in the society. Another limitation is budget. theme parks each year introduce new hi-tech attractions (in each edition of Water Parks Magazine various innovations are presented). The experience economy is a phenomenon that already occupies people’s lives. Then the comparative analysis would be more in-depth and would evoke more questions or supply more answers. In the second half of August. and tourists from various nationalities are visiting the seaside of Bulgaria. things are changing so dynamically that if this research was carried out in a different year. However. Furthermore. It constantly extends to various aspects of business. the attendance of the parks is in its peak. Last but not least.
The dissertation finishes with a conclusion dealing with the main aim of research. Afterwards. For a thorough explanation of the matter. Characteristics. Dissertation structure The study is structured in introduction. the current management approaches are examined because it is believed that the changes influenced by the new economy are reflected mostly in this field. The fourth chapter represents the methodological approach of the primary and secondary investigations. the limitations and problems encountered. trends and challenges of the experience economy are discussed also in this chapter. The fifth chapter presents the main findings of the quantitative and qualitative primary and secondary research. The research suggests some recommendations to Action Aquapark’s managers for future development and references for future research. actions. an analysis of theme park industry follows in the third chapter. tools and a possible strategy are presented. This description includes the author’s personal observations and analyses as well as opinions from different authors supporting the facts from real life. some factors. This dissertation starts with a literature review of the current evidence of the experience economy. The main problems of the Bulgarian water park are set which will be investigated in the primary research. four chapters. All the findings are linked to the theory in the sixth chapter. in order to identify the key challenges that theme parks are facing. 7 .5. conclusions and recommendations. After their definition. characteristics and customers are revealed.I. Their practical adoption is considered in the context of the changing business and their integration in the development of theme parks’ product. In this chapter Action Aquapark is also introduced.
need something for their ‘souls and hearts’ and the industry is offering exactly what the customers need. A significant example is the mobile phone: for it no user pays the actual retail price.II. concerts. it is clear that the progressive value creation proceeded from raw materials to goods and from goods to services. the share of services increased until. cinemas. All people. DVDs. During the 20th century. integrated and infused into all aspects of consumption and existence. agriculture was at first the only sector responsible for value creation in society (‘agricultural economy’). In brief. and almost nobody is even aware of it. then the emphasis was shifted on the industries (‘industrial economy’) and now for several years it has been talked about ‘services economy’. Products have become a side issue. in order to reach experiences and even dreams (Nijs. In other words. emotions. feelings. Introduction A few decades ago theme parks. Lately this has been radically changing. Pine and Gilmore published in 1999 a study which pointed out the changes occurring in economy and society. the growing power and opportunities of internet are only a few examples of spending spare time. the calls themselves (Gierstberg and Vroege.1. The price of the mobile phone is often symbolic: its cost is included in the price of the service. the services sector accounted for eighty percent of the total employment. the economy was formerly based on trade in raw materials and then gradually replaced by standardised goods. Producers discovered a new value in society – the need for experience. television and travelling were the only activities that offered new experiences and emotions to their customers. Literature review of the experience economy concept II. 8 . busy in their everyday life. virtual reality games. which has already reached its culmination. Therefore. Experiences have already been introduced. theatres. 2003). by the end of the century. 2003). The boom of video games.
which has changed its branding concept to ‘Sense and simplicity’.07. In fact. rather than on its physical characteristics. word – ‘imagine’. on what you can do with it. Samsung’s brand marketing campaign for 2006 is teasing consumers’ perceptions in all kinds of advertising channels4. 1999). Another example is Phillips. lifestyle and technology. it is about the experience. for example. ‘Philips Realigns Around New Brand Promise’. has opened an ‘Experience Centre’. And Ylva Persson.3 Another hi-tech company – Samsung is using only one. available on http://www. and this can be best achieved with complete immersion. throughout its activities in healthcare. accessed on 13. therefore it develops even further. The value or attractiveness of a product or service is increasingly based on a specific ‘experience’.html. global marketing manager of Bombay Sapphire agrees. on their respective scale. The ‘lifestyle’ concept. ‘it all depends on how much personality a brand has’ (Proquest. The new positioning aims to give customers a distinctive image of a sharper enterprise.com/news/Detailed/45742.2006 4 9 . but saturated with feelings. not all brands can open an experience centre (especially if the product competes on price). services and goods are made into components of precisely stage-managed events that are meant to offer an individual experience. unless ‘your brand can maintain an hour and a half dialogue’. 2006 Tom Biro. transforming at first. and Smirnoff stages ‘Smirnoff experience events’. Enterprises want to evoke moods. which. From now on. However. available on http://www. 2003).com/2005/06/09/samsungs-imagine-campaign/. ‘Samsung’s Imagine Campaign’. emotions and sensations. which the purchase or use of the article in question will give to the consumer.ameinfo.The economy is now driven by price erosion. 3 AME Info. states Ian Buxton. like a theme park. The emphasis is placed on the experience of the product. Peugeot. Other examples are kitchens for demonstrating products and visitor centres for car buyers which become. is held together by a common drive to deliver intuitive end-user experiences. managing director of The Edinburgh Consultancy. An enterprise becomes also an ‘experience stager’ (Pine and Gilmore. accessed on 13. is no longer the leading priority. potential purchasing power and human needs. which indirectly links the consumer with a specific social group.07.adjab. marketing activities.
Erdly and Kesterson (2002) these changes are clearly linked to technological advances. Several different names have been given to this new economy in different countries: Experience Economy. some are purely for entertainment. so long as the experience is! Important are the tangible memories of a unique. The reality. etc.In this regard. but that does not matter much. the entertainment industry might make ‘the experience of life itself’ (the ‘lived experience’) into a consumer good that must be paid for. personal experience (Gierstberg and Vroege. its influences and challenges. does not have to be authentic. 10 . some offer a mix of culture and history. Sense Economy. Attention Economy. The next paragraph reviews those different definitions of the ‘experience economy’. His concern is that. Rifkin (2000) argues that nowadays it is the entertainment industry which is the driving force behind further development of technology. in fact. theme parks are also becoming more and more numerous. A dispute on the difference between experience economy and entertainment economy is presented and the highly debatable issue whether the ‘experience economy’ is an ‘economy’. Those parks are. Emotional Economy. 2003). of course fake. He classifies travel and entertainment as the ‘experience industries’ and predicts that they will dominate in the modern global economy. in its pursuit of economic success. According to Rifkin (2000).
p. As it will be discussed later. inflated claims. The effect of their thesis in the practice is debatable because it is developed in the context of the prosperous economy in the US that ‘was tolerant of high prices.II. and all this against the background of the flourishing e-business5. available on http://en. According to Pine and Gilmore (1999. Experience economy Back in 1970 Alvin Tofler mentioned the ‘experience industries’ as a new sector that will appear in the economy of the future. Recently the concept of the experience economy has come to be increasingly discussed and analysed. Experiences – the new emerging value? ‘The very excitement aroused by the mushrooming growth of the service sector has diverted professional attention from another shift that will deeply affect both goods and services in the future. this means transforming every customer encounter into a stage event. 221) II.2. It is this shift that will lead to the next forward movement of the economy. the metaphor of the stage fails to explain exactly how this ‘engaging’ is brought about.07. accessed on 15.1.2006 5 11 . probably due to its invasion of numerous sectors of the economy. and no limitations of supply – or investment’. businesses in the USA and in Europe are quite different and theories can not apply equally to both continents.org/wiki/Experience_economy. Before discussing its impact and influence it is necessary to make clear what different authors mean by experience economy.2. Alvin Toffler (1970. 3-4). Wikipedia. the growth of a strange new sector based on what can only be called the “experience industries”’. However.wikipedia. That quote proves that the idea of the experience economy was established a long time ago and its emergence was foreseen. ‘The Experience Economy’. p. Basically. companies stage an experience whenever they engage customers in a personal and memorable way.
p. experience economy involves building a sustainable competitive benefit in order to establish customer’s loyalty in the field of communication and recreation. 326) refer to the experience economy as ‘individuals or organisations whose sole purpose is to create a particular kind of an experience for their clients’. Schultze describes ‘experience’. The conception of doing ‘what the others do not offer’ will be supported by other authors and theories later and will be investigated thoroughly in the next chapters. Emotion has become a critical aspect of interactions in the service economy. emotional and memorable impact. O’Sullivan and Spangler (1998. Service providers need to produce a distinctive personal and emotional experience for each customer. the latter term referring more to a long term learning process. it is better to do what the others do not offer like offering a global experience to customers that they will keep in their mind forever. p. experience economy is an economy in which customers expect every level of their commercial existence to have positive. Emotional value is the economic value or monetary worth of feelings when customers positively experience an organisation’s products or services. Instead of offering more and more. 2000). He also points out that in the German literature Gerhardt Schultze (1985) has made the first attempt to define the term ‘experience’ in a more precise way. referring to the direct and total affection of the senses. which involves an entanglement of body and mind.’ 12 . He opposes this term to that of ‘Erfahrung’. Within this context they make the explanation that experiences ‘are being created to meet the growing needs of people to experience a different way of life or to take part in a fantasy or dream of their own whether big or small. 43) concedes that the content and status of the term ‘experience economy’ is rather vague in Anglo-Saxon literature. using the term ‘Erlebnis’.Mommaas (2000. From French point of view (Destot. According to Barlow and Maul (2000).
17) Figure 2-1: Evolution of the economy 13 . ‘events’. ‘fantasy’. Afterwards. for more clear distinction between service economy and experience economy Table 2-1 presents some of the main differences.177) and later on developed by Njis (2003.Analysing the various definitions of ‘experience economy’ there could be distinguished some common words and terms used in all of them. experience economy is an evolution of the service economy. p. ‘emotion’. In this case the individual (the customer) is the recipient of the offerings. It is based both on the economic pyramid introduced by Pine and Gilmore (1999. p. ‘affection of senses’. p. ‘memories’. ‘Organisations’ and companies are offering to the ‘customers’. 17). p. ‘dream’. ‘emotional and memorable impacts’. ‘spirit’. Value creation in the competition sphere Differentiated immaterial/ emotional Transformation Experiences Services Goods Undifferentiat ed material Commodities 1750 2000 Time Source: Pine and Gilmore (1999. Figure 2-1 presents those stages of economical development. As it was already explained in the introduction. 177) and Njis (2003.
D. the act or process of directly perceiving events or reality’. designers. K. II.com/cgi-bin/dictionary. Thus. theme parks are part of the experience economy.webster. accessed on 27. 2002).Table 2-1: Evolution of service economy Economy of Services What is offered Nature of the offer The approach The seller The buyer Motivation of the buyer Challenge of supplier Added value for the buyer Involved industries and jobs Service Intangible Adaptation Supplier Client Answer to a need To react to the need of the buyer Making a service Hotels. p. Source: Suleva. Pine and Gilmore (1999. intellectual and spiritual level (Destot. emotions and memories to their customers. at different levels such as physical. film makers. emotional. A and Duhil. p. (2005. airlines. since their management and personnel are offering events. etc.. Experience Economy Event and emotion Unforgettable Personalisation Director Guest Build a personal story To understand the life of the buyer Realising of a service and added value in the buyer’s life Artists. car rental. occurring in the society and in the economy.2006 6 14 . next it appears the question ‘what is an experience?’ According to Webster Dictionary6 experience is ‘something personally encountered. painters. influencing consumers’ decision making. architects. experience.2. inventors. restaurants.2. musicians. undergone. available on http://www. The experience is something deeply personal. or lived through. Merriam-Webster Online. hairdressers. 8) Table 2-1 also indicates that in the context of the experience economy. Romano.11) point out the most important characteristic of the experiences – they ‘are memorable’.. What is an experience? The discussion of the experience economy shows that the experience value of a product has become a key factor. etc.07.
jhtml?id=863&t=marketing. the authors (op cit. accessed on 24. Here.20. The peak experience is derived by an attraction and is in sharp contrast to the daily experience. An interesting fact worth mentioning is that while USA has tended to be a ‘laboratory for the attractions business. In an interview Pine and Gilmore (12 October 1999)7 pointed out the differences between both of the economies. are an answer of that division of both economies. Big Brother was invented by a Dutch company and Survivor was created in the UK.94. etc. Barlow and Maul. the experience economy is engaging people by personal participation. As the discussion shows even the issue of the experiences remains debatable. sense economy. etc.3. While the entertainment industry engages passively the senses. p. sleeping. ‘Real life soaps’ once again contribute to the high needs for additional experiences in consumers. ‘Survivor’. in the different countries and by different authors) is also seen as entertainment economy by some of the above mentioned authors (Destot. II.2006 7 15 . eating. e. O’Sullivan and Spangler) since the essence of both ‘economies’ is hidden in the question: How to offer feelings and emotion to customers? This question is of a crucial importance for all the industries and therefore all the companies are trying to find a way to survive in the context of the fierce competition in the age of the ‘new’ economy.2. It could be suggested that reality television formats like ‘Big Brother’.07. However. Experience economy versus entertainment economy The ‘experience economy’ (also called emotional economy. it can be Harvard Business School.) illustrated a model of interrelation of both dimensions. available on http://199.Another essential aspect is that in the context of the experience economy people have to be (and are) charged for an experience. ‘Working Knowledge for Business Leaders’.134/item. 74).g. etc. Quan and Wang (2004) propose different discussion on the subject. 2000. They distinguish two types of experiences – peak experience and consumer experience. much of it appended to Hollywood’ (Stevens. In those kinds of realities ordinary people are participating and the viewers are able to identify themselves with the participants. The consumer experience is more about consumption and spending. mainly supportive experiences.
p. 30) introduce four possibilities for the organisations to engage customers in experiences. when the experience ‘goes into’ the person. hunting.g. This neither is valid for theme parks in general nor for a certain part of a specific theme park. The most important dimensions on engaging guests are guest participation (actively or passively) and environmental relationship of the guests with the event (absorption or immersion). 16 . The four experience realms unambiguously explain the above discussed differences between entertainment and experience economy. going to a concert. The absorption process refers to the mind of the customers. At the other extreme is the active participation of consumers when they personally affect or influence the event that provokes the experience. Reading a book seems to be an example for absorption. Those four realms are presented on figure 2-2. And the immersion suggests that the customer physically will become part of the experience.pointed out again that theme parks industry is part of the experience economy because each customer is actively encountering all the amusements and his/her senses are only one part of the experience. The guests of amusement parks usually actively participate in all the attractions and they immerse into the experiences that the park offers. The passive participation of customers is observed when people do not directly affect or influence the event. fishing.g. whereas swimming in the pool is more an immersion experience. Figure 2-2 on the next page illustrates that in the entertainment industry customers absorb the environment while taking passive participation in the event. The vertical line at figure 2-2 stands for the environmental relationship. For clearer distinction Pine and Gilmore (1999. etc. e. e. which means that the person ‘goes into’ the experience.
4. In this regard it could be considered as an ‘industry’. the term ‘economy’ involves governmental regulations. a buyer and a market (the basic determinants of the economy) and certain interaction between them. Generally people choose to visit a theme park when they would like to escape from reality or routine. taxes. etc. On the other hand. which purpose is the creation of something of 17 . On the one hand. p. Is the experience economy really an ‘economy’? While it is possible to define what experience and experience economy is. The experience is an added value to the product offered by this type of attractions. it could be considered as an economy because there is a seller. international relationships (import and export). 30) Analysing figure 2-2 it could be concluded that theme parks are part of the escapist realm. it is still broadly debatable the question whether the experience economy is an ‘economy’.Absorption Active Participation Passive Participation Entertainment Educational Esthetic Escapist Immersion Figure 2-2: The experience realms Source: Pine and Gilmore (1999. II.2.
The issue. available on http://www. 2004 and 2005 are not more than 12. Euro Disney. In the new century.07. accessed on 27. In this regard. 1999. This leads to the fact that theme parks now face ‘scores of competitors in every line of business. However. Afterwards. Another aspect of analysing that issue is that the experience economy could be considered as the demand side (customers want experiences) and the service economy could be regarded as the supply side (companies mainly operating in the service sector offer experiences to their clients). the experience economy is about more than just offering a staged setting for an experience. What is known for sure is that businesses are facing new challenges which probably partly could be explained with changes in the consumers’ motivations. the starting point should be the individual’s personal experience: his or her everyday world and societal context.2006 8 18 . cultural and economic experiences and to make them manageable in practice. both traditional and experimental’ (Pine and Gilmore. This will be discussed in the next paragraph. the managers of Disney made their calculations before undertaking such an investment. needs and experiences. social.com/dictionary/industry. delayed the building of its second development near Paris. there are many examples from the practice showing some of the difficulties that theme parks encounter. Euro Disney’s number of visitors in 2003. many companies are trying to stage experiences even when they sell just a material product (examples were presented above). p.webster. Undoubtedly. whether this is an economy or not is very broad and remains highly debatable. 2002). it could be pointed out that Pine and Gilmore (1999) in their book approach the experience economy from the perspective of the individual and his/her potential program of giving meaning to his/her life. however. called Disney Studio.value by a distinct group of productive or profit-making enterprises8. However. 3). which opened in 2002. follows the ability of companies to link personal. However.4 million which is much lower than the expectations (see Appendix Merriam-Webster Online. Though. Pine and Gilmore (1999) predict that in the near future companies which fail to follow the new requirements for experience will not contrive to stay in business for long. It was expected the Studio to boost visitor numbers to around 17 million a year (Holloway. for example.
Harding and Robinson) claim that all those transformations and emerging changes are a result of the evolution of consumers’ behaviour. because it should be applied in accordance to the new customers’ attitudes. p. Further on. The investigation of the new consumer behaviour is important for the practical implementation of a certain management strategy. Then it will be shown that these determinants are valid for Western Europeans but are still partly applicable for Bulgarians. New consumer behaviour in the experience economy The dynamic changes of business environment are the starting point of numerous research and publications on the new trends of leisure and tourism behaviour. But for clearer understanding of the changes in the economy. It may be that the explanation could be sought in a market force or a change in the consumer behaviour caused by the age of the experience economy.3. and the consequent choice of management strategies. Those characteristics will be used in describing water park customers in Bulgaria. The supply side will be discussed in the next chapter and here the demand side (the customers) will be considered. Erdly and Kesterson. In the experience economy people pay to do things and not to have things. 2) made an attempt to identify the major determinants of new consumer behaviour in leisure and tourism. which will likely reshape the industry. it is very important to understand the main factors which have led to this transformation. 19 . This evolution could imply numerous reasons. Those determinants of consumer behaviour define new parameters of the tourism product which are of significant importance for the future success of any company in leisure business. listed in table 2-2. Pikkemaat and Schuckert (2004. Some authors (Pikkemaat and Schuckert.1). Interpreting the mushrooming literature on leisure trends. In recent years the way how people are spending their money is changing. the customers will be analysed again in the context of the experience economy. This will contribute to the profound explanation of the things that have been changing in recent years. II.
including the presentation and interpretation of culture in its different forms of expression. Today’s European tourists have higher disposable income and that enables them to spent time for health-related activities. frequent. p. 2) Today’s consumer is getting all the possible information even before choosing a destination. different in each country (Hofstede. They would like to exert high level of control over their own decisions and be in charge within all travel related decisions along the destination value chain. The character of today’s mass tourist is a combination of accumulated travel experience from the past and seniority (aging of customers).g. and having higher disposable income they are more flexible in choosing a destination. authentic and derived goods and services. short-haul and short-average-stay holidays are becoming more popular. traditional and modern. Tourists are becoming much more quality conscientious and ‘travel smart’. health care and spa centres. Among Western Europeans. e. Multi media Individuality Travel experience Time matters Health awareness Authenticity Source: Pikkemaat and Schuckert (2004. The increase of short-stay and short-haul holidays 20 . 2001). That is the reason the tourist product is becoming more and more personalised. This is a worldwide trend. However. active and passive. culture sites have to be visited faster and more efficiently. This blending of foreign cultures leads to new forms of every day life.Table 2-2: Major determinants of new consumer behaviour Major Determinants Multiculturalisation Meaning The process of combing and accepting different cultures which leads to changes of every day cultures. in his/her desire to take individually decision of a holiday. People tend to show more individualistic behaviour. They want to experience the combination of old and new. Acceptance of new information and communication technologies in various aspects of people’s life. People want to explore new places. This implies that travel intensity has to increase. People tend to prefer vacation and travel experiences which are personalised and personally perceived as ‘authentic’.
170) adds that life has become ‘scarce and precious commodity’ and as a result many people ‘define the quality of their lives by the quality of experiences they consume’. However. critical and demanding. This is especially valid for theme parks because children (the main market) are excited. In this case theme parks are a suitable option and they succeed in filling that niche. This is a very important element of theme park industry. Kotler. People want more and more experiences and that demand is a key factor influencing consumer’s decision making (Pikkemaat and Schuckert. The analysis of the changing patterns of leisure consumer behaviour is raising the question of the experience value of a product. p. 1980).establishes a new market niche – that of a weekend destination. Figure 2-3 points out that the last phase – post purchase behaviour. is where the customer determines whether he/she is satisfied with the purchase or not. (2003) presented a model illustrating the buyer’s decision process. they are in positive mood and usually the time for travelling to it is spent thinking about or discussing the attraction. et al. Attractions. they are a full-day attraction. So. Ross and Iso-Ahola (in Bansal and Eiselt. Frequent tourists show different preferences. depending on the result compared to expectations prior to purchase or consumption (Oliver. 388) suggest that post- 21 . p. those determinants also cause a change in the profile of the so called ‘mass tourist’. 167) supports the opinion by pointing out that ‘experiences extend far beyond the point of purchase.. The post purchase behaviour is of a great significance for theme parks because it determines the likelihood of future visit and the positive word-of-mouth which is one of the best promoting channels for that industry. They visit an attraction during their free time. 2003. in general. they are safe and clean. motivations and needs. suggest that almost every customer has some kind of expectations prior to the purchase because usually people have a period of anticipation before encountering the attraction. they offer emotions and experiences. Theme parks are able to offer services and products which could satisfy a large segment of tourists – they offer different attractions for diverse tastes and ages. Florida (2002 p. Ph. these trends can not be generalised as people are becoming more diverse. Florida (2002. 2004). they are anxious and curious.’ He suggests that anticipation is more important than the actual consumption. they are imagining what will be there.
Then follows the third phase where the problem in the experience economy can be seen. Because of their importance. presented in table 2-2. As discussed earlier. but as a function of the difference between expectation and (perceived) reality. Ph. the ‘need recognition’ is apparent for the necessity of experiences and emotions in nowadays society. p. et al. As earlier examples have shown people now have numerous alternatives for satisfying their need of experiences. According to the main determinants of the new consumer behaviour. suggested by IBM research. The new managerial policy should aim at creating an 22 . 219) Figure 2-3: Buyer decision process This buyer decision process could also be considered in the context of the experience economy.experience satisfaction is related to the realisation of motivation perceptions prior to the experience. (2003. the elements of fulfilling the expectation and the post purchase behaviour will be employed in the empirical research of customers of the analysed water park. information flow is very easy accessible and customers find the necessary information only with one click of the mouse. That is why it could be assumed that customers would go directly to the second phase.. they describe satisfaction not as an absolute measure. Need recognition Information search Evaluation of alternatives Purchase decision Post purchase behaviour Source: Kotler. Here is the stage where theme parks should reconsider their management strategies. This last phase of Kotler’s model will be also mentioned once again in the analysis of the customer’s assessment of the travel experience.
epistemic and conditional. 1998). The emotional value (which is of importance to the present research) deals with the perceived benefit that the consumer receives by aroused feelings and affected senses. 1998) conclude that corporate image is the dominant factor to customer loyalty. corporate image is proposed to be also an important factor in the general perception of an organisation. In the large amount of literature discussing the question. The image of a company or a destination plays also a significant role in the process of choosing a certain place to be visited (Bansal and Eiselt. 2003). provision of novelty and satisfying a desire of knowledge. There 23 . The results of other research on consumer loyalty (Andreassen and Lindestad. 1998.attractive product which will catch the attention of the consumer while evaluating the alternatives. Online source) argues that it is not so important to fulfil customers’ expectations and to satisfy them but it is much more important to make the customers ‘promoters’ of the company by recommendation to friends. how likely it is that the customer will be a ‘promoter’ by positive word-of-mouth (Andreassen and Lindestad. Jenkins (1999) presents a model according to which two of the factors that influence the formation of consumers’ tourist image are motivations and perceptions. Reichheld (2006. 169) reveals that ‘a mere five percent increase in customer loyalty can result in a hundred percent increase in profitability’. social. image has been defined by Keller (1993) as ‘perceptions of an organization reflected in the associations held in consumer memory’. The importance of those values is on the increase in the experience economy context and will be subject of investigation in the research part of the dissertation. Customer loyalty in the tourism industry includes the likelihood of future visit. how likely it is that the tourist changes the brand. On a company level. In fact. emotional. Research done by Reichheld and Sasser (in O’Sullivan and Sprangler. Bansal and Eiselt (2003) who also support the same division of the five values imply in the epistemic value the utility caused by aroused curiosity. that represents the overall aim of the present dissertation. Tapachai and Waryszak (2000) suggest that the image of a destination depends on five consumption values – functional. cited in the first chapter. p.
35) 24 . This model. economical. cultural. 35) proposed a model for the consumer’s behaviour in which he combines the mechanism of consumer behaviour with the supply of tourist services and the influence of stimulating and external factors. includes incentives for travelling. p. Table 2-3: Model of consumer’s behaviour Factors Incentives for travelling Elements Advertisement Accessibility Information for the trip Satisfaction of other customers Tour operators’ recommendations Socio-economic status Individual characteristics Social impacts and needs Values Motivation Expectations Interests of tourists Search of information Estimation of alternative trips Decision making process Trust in the supplier (tour operator) Image of the destination Past experience Estimation of the risk Quality/price and quality/quantity of the tourist attraction Attractiveness Type of trip Different possibilities for travelling Individual and social factors for the consumer behaviour External factors Source: Ribov (2005. presented in table 2-3.are various motives for choosing a specific destination or an attraction. they depend on the characteristics of each tourist. p. That is the reason for the mushrooming literature classifying the motivations. individual and social factors. 2005. The most frequently quoted classification is the one according to which the motives are: natural. and external factors. psychological and ecological. Primarily. Shmol (in Ribov.
past experience and attractiveness as a basis of the empirical study of the customers.4. characteristics of tourists. estimation of alternatives. The presented analysis of the new consumer behaviour outlines the main points of interest which will be used as a basis of the questionnaire distributed among customers of Action Aquapark in Bulgaria. That is why in the next paragraphs different approaches in management strategies and marketing tools in the experience economy will be considered and afterwards the theme parks industry will be analysed. tour operator recommendations. II. level of satisfaction. The appraisal of the results of the surveys will provide sufficient information (whether the customers have changed in the context of the experience economy) for the implementation of a proper management strategy. Different approaches in the experience economy context This paragraph includes a review of the possible answers and tools with regard to the challenges previously defined. There will be presented factors. an evaluation will be made of the presented strategies and approaches for theme parks more specifically. socio-economical status. After an analysis of the theme parks industry. 25 .The elements of the factors shown in table 2-3 cover to some extent the issues discussed previously in this chapter. tools. In accordance with table 2-3 the dissertation will investigate the elements of advertisement. perceived image benefit. in order to find out which one/s could be the most likely to be implemented and to succeed. source of information. strategies and approaches which businesses are adopting in order to overcome the difficulties which are a consequence of the emerging power and influence of the experience economy. customer loyalty. 1996). successful and efficient tourism operation must not only concentrate on and analyse the customers and their behaviour but also to determine what products are offered and how they are marketed (Hu. The main elements that will be researched include: fulfilling the expectations and the likelihood of future visit and positive word-of-mouth (recommendations). However.
Table 2-4: Success factors for the management of theme parks Factors affecting the supply side Multifarious range of options and possibilities Clearly defined product to keep uniqueness against competitors Continuing innovation Properly adjusted product to the right segment of the market Themed product with a continuing storyboard Environmental (economic. This will also contribute to drawing a conclusion as to the field (supply side. Those factors. they have summarized several factors divided in three major fields: factors affecting the supply side.1. triggering the market or infrastructure and services) which needs special improvement in the overall management strategy.II. Success factors Pikkemaat and Schuckert (2004) discuss some success factors for management of theme parks. presented in table 2-4. factors triggering the market and factors which are set by the infrastructure and services within theme parks. could be considered in the analysis of the situation and could help in the process if choosing new possible management strategy. social and ecological) integration Factors triggering the market Imagination for sale by temporarily change of the artificial environment Impart impressions and emotions as persuasive as possible Customer’s involvement and interactivity Branding creates a good image and recognition of theme parks Image creation is important for the customers’ expectations Factors which are set by the infrastructure and services Quality in all levels of the product Safety and security Trained and motivated staff Capacity and queue management Design Functionality and infrastructure Weather inclemency Source: Pikkemaat and Schuckert (2004. After a thorough literature review. Managers could investigate which factors were fulfilled and on which ones should be paid additional attention.4. 7) 26 . p.
2001. Online source). The three U. managers invest in more trained and motivated staff. theme parks (which represent large area with many people) are obliged (even though there are no specific EU directives governing the safety of theme parks) to follow not only the security procedures but also to provide safe environment for the tourists.From personal observations and interviews. Aware of this fact. In the light of capacity limitations. Cedar Point used a paper reservation system in 2000 for its Millennium Force coaster. Queue management also leads to reconsideration of the next factor 27 . The proper design of a park corresponds not only to the overall material perception of the attraction but also to another factor from this field – the capacity and queue management. Universal also has a ‘no-line. Well-trained. some parks have already instituted measures to reduce wait time.K. Anyone showing a room key to a Universal resort hotel gets to go to the front of the line at both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure theme parks (O’Brien. no-wait’ policy for its resort guests. During last decade this factor became very important for theme parks which did not plan in advance the duration of visitors’ activities and the subsequent queue management. All the Walt Disney parks adapt well to consumer trends. They are also using the in-house-created Fastpass virtual queue system. parks owned by The Tussaud’s Group also use virtual queuing program. managers are strictly pursuing the fulfilment of the factors which are set by the infrastructure and services. a ticket programme that gives guests the flexibility to purchase packages tailored to the interests and length of stay required for their group. the company launched ‘Magic Your Way’. Quality is something that the new demanding customer expects to find in each product or service. In accordance with all the public rules concerning that matter. Another very important aspect which is of great importance for today’s society is safety and security. and in line with growing demand for customised holiday experiences. experienced employees represent a theme park's best investment in guest safety and enjoyment (Niles. Universal Studios. Orlando has early opening hours for its two-day pass holders that will give the guests early access to the rides effectively lowering the line length for all later in the day. 2004. Other parks use less technical ways to control lines. Different kinds of additional qualifications and stimulations underline the human resources policy in each organisation offering services. Online Source).
This will present a vision of the new product which should be offered by theme parks when ‘experience rules’. It is more challenging. This leads to the assumption that the factors affecting the supply side and the factors triggering the market are a result of the emerging influence of the experience economy. The structure of analysis of the possible approaches of theme parks in the context of the experience economy follows a logical interrelation. Next paragraph will describe the elements of the customer’s assessment of the travel experience.07. the world’s largest indoor rainforest. impression and emotions. to put into practice. however. The weather inclemency factor is mainly taken into account and implemented in colder countries where many indoor attraction sites are constructed. available on http://www. Many of the water parks not situated near a beach destination have a certain part of their territory covered. called Tropical Islands opened its doors two years ago9. involvement and interactivity.2007 9 28 . and image creation are part of management strategies adopted in the experience economy context. allowing for its use all the year round. theme parks managers have been adopting and considering the factors cited in the last column of table 2-4 since the beginning of the new century. for example.my-tropical-islands. imagination. In Germany.functionality and infrastructure. As it could be seen from the presented examples. impression and emotions. My Day in Paradise. At first glance. Those factors will not be analysed in details here because it was suggested that factors like: innovation. Those factors in addition with the branding and the process of keeping the uniqueness against competitors are implemented in the approaches that will be discussed next. Then the imagineering will be used as a starting point for operating strategically and tactically by creating durable emotional commitment not only of customers but also of Tropical Islands.com/paradiese. involvement and interactivity of customers.htm. The presented factors outline the immaterial characteristics of theme parks’ product – through innovation the product should implement imagination. as part of the management strategy. it can be seen that most of the factors were already mentioned in the discussion of the experience economy. accessed on 27. some of the factors from the other two fields.
Finally.4.employees. Erdly and Kesterson (2002) also support the opinion that customers of theme parks have a period of anticipating before encountering the attraction. What is of main importance in this figure is that customer’s assessment of the travel experience is holistic. It can be seen that theme parks are part of last phase ‘Do’. Berman (2002.2. for example. They envision a fundamental shift from traditional hospitality and leisure offerings to a new paradigm of individually customised travel experiences. those assumptions will become part of the management strategy which practical adoption and possible implementation will be evaluated for water parks. They suggest part of the fun to be a virtual experience while planning the trip. II. He assumes that in the experience economy the possession of several steps of the value chain is meaningless. The experience extends across all travel components and each company could imply in its management strategy the option to offer more components from the overall travel experience. 29 . ‘Experience rules’ Erdly and Kesterson (2002) claim that due to globalisation and technological advancements hospitality and leisure providers will tailor their products and services to customers’ individual tastes. The assumption could be made that amusement parks which offer. p. A virtual theme park interaction can promise the excitement of being there and the opportunity customers to test experiences in the comfort of their homes. a hotel nearby could form a resort which will be of a greater value for tourists and also organisations should focus on the end-to-end travel experience. 2) oppose this statement by affirming that such kind of vertical integration ‘is a relic of the industrial age’. As it was stated before. In the experience economy the experience does not begin at the departure or end upon completion. after the analysis of theme parks industry is completed. Figure 2-4 represents the experience from the customer’s perspective.
pay global attention (provide experiences in a manner that respects a guest’s country of origin and cultural nuances). p.Source: Erdly and Kesterson (Executive Summary. polish the guest experience managers. Those managers ‘should both create a work environment that fosters dignity. The actions of extending the experience and uncovering the unexpected will be also incorporated in the management strategy which will be evaluated in the empirical part. The global attention will be discussed when analysing the inquiries in the research part. uncover the unexpected (excite. 8) identify several actions that organisations must consider ‘to prepare for an experience-based competitive landscape’. 9). pride and satisfaction and conduct training that builds a through knowledge of the product and service offerings and encourages the anticipation of guest needs’ (Erdly and Kesterson. The actions which are important for the purpose of this dissertation include: extend the experience (this was explained above). p. 2002. 2002. delight and bring surprising pleasures by uncovering unexpected needs and desires). p.5) Figure 2-4: Defining the experience from the customer’s perceptive Erdly and Kesterson (2002. Both of the paragraphs – successes factors and ‘experience rules’ – dealt more with the product offered by theme parks and the ways to predict and satisfy customers’ 30 .
4. technology.’ Hamel and Prahalad (1996. on the other hand. Imagineering ‘Industry foresight must be informed by deep insights into trends in lifestyles. Imagineering is a term used to define a specific set of instruments applied in the world of theme parks to respond to the emotion demand. what is required is Imagineering. p.3. The art of imagineering means to touch the customer’s emotional side. but. but a ‘creative thought’ or a ‘vision statement’ of the organisation (Nijs. since it can be used to achieve commercial and social objectives. ‘Much of that attendance resulted from adding experiences that the company dreamed up for an ever-changing world’ (O’Sullivan and Spangler. It is a marketing tool. the resort attracted 30 million visitors a year. and geopolitics. 2003). It is a marketing tool.needs. but the traditional marketing does not focus on the image and imaginative qualities a product may provide but instead.377). When it celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary. emphasising on the cultural product instead of the material one and involving emotionally the customer. but foresight rests as much on imagination as prediction. II. it concentrates on functional features and benefits of products. To create a future a company must develop a powerful visual and verbal representation of what the future could be. it is not the customer here who represents the starting and end point. 1998. 89) Imagineering is a term introduced for the first time by Walt Disney. demographics. Now the imagineering will be presented as a starting point of creating durable emotional commitment not only of customers but also of employees. ‘Imagineering’ means ‘engineering for imagination’ and is the art of management to combine soul and professionalism into ‘inspiring’ business operations. the experts and the critics predicted that some day it may receive 6 million visitors annually. When Disney World opened in 1971. It turned to be that Disney is the most powerful ‘engineer’ of experiences and imaginations. ‘Imagineering refers to the work of a group of 31 . p. To borrow from Walt Disney.
researchers. Imagineering is not only a marketing tool.people a team. to ‘the emotional’. 3) ‘Where Disney used to be the only theme park proprietor. Experiential marketing uses experiences as a marketing tool for promotion. in the new economy. it is the starting point for operating strategically and tactically by creating durable emotional commitment of employees and customers (Blaas. 25-26). Everything becomes coloured by experience and emotion. 32 . engineers. This fact makes them change their product in order to keep their market share and competitive advantages. Although experiential marketing and imagineering are highly linked. 2004). 2003. it now faces scores of competitors in every line of business. In 2005 Disneyland Paris re-launched one of its most popular attractions as a completely new experience. and depending on the nature of the project many others’ (Nijs. writers. Nijs (2003) introduces imagineering as an answer when companies try to differ from others. which used to be on ‘the material’ in the old economy. which is in charge of the creation. The trend is therefore obvious: value creation in society evolves from ‘undifferentiated material’ to ‘differentiated immaterial/ emotional’. 2003). development and communication of all the elements of a theme park. Therefore. 2003). Is this the new key word – ‘experience’? The general assumption which is made is that the focus. This unique theme consists of illustrators. artists. the art of appealing to the imagination has become a management skill essential in every sector (Nijs. planners. Value is created more and more in the ‘emotional sphere’. film producers. p. scale-model builders. designers.’ Nowadays theme parks are facing fierce competition even from outside the tourism industry. they have some substantial differences. Pine and Gilmore stated: (1999. architects. p. and therefore these two elements make up the latest form of competition strategy for organisations (Nijs. both traditional and experimental. sound technicians. has shifted to ‘the immaterial’.
The second phase suggests trying to put yourself in people’s thoughts. The third phase is based on the first two and suggests the creation of a concept in which unique factors are linked to the product or company in order to give it a unique strength and charm which leaves the customer with a lasting impression. 24) state that ‘an experience can become richer and more intense when a well defined theme is added. Blue Ocean Strategy The Blue Ocean Strategy is a corporate strategy presented by Professors from NASTEM Kim and Mauborgne in a book of the same name (2005). Brainstorming is important for developing ideas and ways of solving the problems.4. Disney also shares the opinion that discovering your own unique pathways to continued success is better than imitating others and adopting their strategies (Blass. This new product at the same time could be seen as part of the overall management strategy. This model suggests that in the first phase the company thoroughly analyses the idea or problem which necessitated the concept development. Nijs and Peters (in Blaas. it creates a synergy-effect between different parts of the experience’. trying to understand them and to predict their demands and actions.Implementing imagineering could be seen as a difficult process because there are no defined steps or formulas. p. The ABC model for implementing imagineering could be applied when an organisation realises that there is an existing problem and new differentiated product should be offered. B for ‘Experiencing’ (‘Beleven’ in Dutch). which implement the factors. Nijs and Peters (in Blaas. Thus. actions and tools previously discussed. II. ‘Brood’ and ‘Brainstorming’ and C for ‘Creating a vision and concept’. The strategy is 33 . 2004) present an ABC model for implementing imagineering.4. 2004). then attention should be paid to the business environment and the competitors. The next paragraph will present a possible management strategy for theme parks. is seems that there is a potential for theme parks by implementing imagineering to their strategies to rejuvenate their product and to become more appealing. In this model A stands for ‘Analysing and Attention’. 2004.
or delivery) must raise and create value for the market.based on the metaphor of the ‘ocean’ which refers to the market or industry. Table 2-5: Main differences between Red ocean and Blue ocean strategies Red Ocean and Blue Ocean strategies Red Ocean Strategy Compete in existing market space. rather than compete. service. already crowded with companies providing the same type of services or producing the same kind of goods. Exploit existing demand. Align the whole system of a company’s activities with its strategic choice of differentiation or low cost. An essential concept is that the innovation (in product. Create and capture new demand. The bottom line in the book is to create new markets and woo new customers. According to the theory ‘blue oceans’ are untapped and uncontested markets.html. The authors (op. refers to a saturated market where there is fierce competition. Blue Ocean Strategy Create uncontested market space. Source: http://www. cit. while simultaneously reducing or eliminating features or services that are less valued by the current or future market. Table 2-5 visually represents the differences between Red Ocean and Blue Ocean strategies.valuebasedmanagement.net/methods_kim_blue_ocean_strategy. Make the competition irrelevant. A ‘red ocean’. In blue oceans. demand is created rather than fought over. thereby creating a ‘blue ocean’. accessed on 15.) suggest two ways for the creation of blue oceans: to launch completely new industries or to create a blue ocean from within a red ocean when a company expands the boundaries of an existing industry. Make the value/cost trade-off. since the markets are not crowded.2007 34 .07. Align the whole system of a company’s activities in pursuit of differentiation and low cost. on the other hand. The concept suggests producing something that no one has yet seen. Beat the competition. which provide little or no competition for anyone who would dive in. Break the value/cost trade-off.
) moves more towards the consumer himself and by seeing the world more from his perspective. science witnesses uncommon. Technological advances have improved industrial productivity. and 10 Wikipedia. etc.Pollard (2005)10 claims that blue ocean strategy and its related ideas are ‘descriptive’ rather than ‘prescriptive’. The main discussions include whether something is an example of creation of a blue ocean or rather creation of new. and businesses should adopt new approaches in competition and management. you will create a blue ocean. available on http://twoscenarios. ‘Without a marketing strategy. sometimes unexpected and innovative concepts.07. has created a new competitive ground. accessed on 15. but while you’re out there. there are new emerging values. trade barriers between nations and regions fall and information on products and prices becomes instantly and globally available.typepad. The important outcome is to benefit from those ideas. accessed on 15. The thorough analysis of that theory once again suggests that there are changes in customer behaviour. compelling product for an existing market. The blue ocean strategy. ‘Blue Ocean Strategy’. you’ll be chum’ (Pollard in vSente’s Blog11). In the case of the blue ocean strategy the assumption of finding an option to escape from competitors could be very useful for theme parks operating in highly competitive environment. benchmarking. sure. Creating a new blue ocean could result in finding a unique competitive advantage.com/maneuver_marketing_commun/blue_ocean_strategy/index.07. In the academic literature various critiques of the blue ocean strategy can be found.wikipedia. available on http://en. all by yourself in that open water. He sees as a disadvantage in this strategy that the authors leave out the most important part of the strategy – the marketing which helps to keep and maintain the market shares even in a new business or industry. however. by combining elements of different ‘experiences’ or industries. you won’t be the market leader. Despite all the critiques of the blue ocean strategy its main ideas are highly applicable in the current economic situation.2007 35 .org/wiki/Blue_Ocean_Strategy .2007 11 vSente’s Blog. business is moving away in strategy and the focus which used to be on how to win the battle (be better than others.html. In fact. gives the direction of looking across the traditional industry borders: Cirque du Soleil (it does not matter whether it is a blue ocean or a new product in a red ocean) for example.
it turns out not to be a long-term solution. making decisions today that will enhance their organisation’s chances of succeeding tomorrow’ (op. p. it could be concluded that the essence of both approaches assumes that scenario envisioning could be the first step and after the economic potential is assessed and the optimal strategic option is developed. cit.niche markets and monopoly industries are continuing to disappear. 1). there is little evidence of any increase in demand. One result of this has been the process of exporting the production of goods to low cost countries like India and China. These issues alone make blue ocean strategy a rising imperative for CEOs. the company could decide what blue ocean to create. Scenario envisioning suggests the creation of a set of scenarios that enable management to experience the possible results of major shifts in the industry value chain when the industry borders are redefined under possible future competitive conditions. At the same time. Here. This means moving companies’ products and services from the red ocean to the blue ocean. According to recent studies. people increasingly base purchase choices on price and companies are driven to compete principally on cost. The result is that in more and more industries. And as brands become more similar. His theory has something in common with the blue ocean strategy because he states that ‘executives practice operating and understanding their business in states that current rivals don’t expect. supply is overtaking demand. The long-term solution to creating jobs is in companies creating compelling products and services that take them out of the vicious cycle of commodity competition. major American brands in a variety of product and service categories have become more and more alike. it would be possible to be stated the main problem of the water park 36 . While governments may seek to solve the issue of outsourcing through legislation.. Berman (2003) implies similar suggestion in his research. where recent United Nations statistics even point to declining populations. He introduces the approach of ‘Scenario Envisioning’. at least in the developed markets. Only after the next chapter. Scenario envisioning will be evaluated after the analysis of theme park industry and a discussion on customers and competitors of Action Aquapark in Bulgaria.
37 . and the customer attention will determine which businesses thrive or fail’ (Berman. People’s need for experiences is already recognized and companies compete in offering them to customers. The new type of consumer – ‘the experiencer’ (Berman. what looks to be the biggest challenge is ‘new consumers’ whose attention should be attracted. Secondly.and the possible management strategy will be investigated and applied in the empirical part of the dissertation. theme parks should find new management strategies for maintaining the perception that they offer personal and engaging experiences by involvement and interactivity of their customers. Florida (2002. p. 2002. For adopting an adequate strategy those attraction sites first of all should investigate their customers because in the experience economy ‘customer perception will rule. Conclusion The obvious conclusion on this chapter is firstly. Consequently. although opinions on the subject are quite controversial.5. 2) is going from ‘what’s in this catalogue’ to ‘what would I like to put in this catalogue?’ This change results in pressure between companies which constantly compete for customers’ attention by offering various kinds of experiences. p. 2). 2002. Moreover. The discussion on the experience economy reveals that businesses are witnessing a fundamental shift in the way people value and allocate their time. Each theme park should try to find a product which differs from others and the discussed approaches will be applied for finding the best possible strategy for a water park in Bulgaria in the empirical part of the dissertation. II. 12) admits that the ‘new’ economy ‘did not cause … changes. that the emergence of the experience economy is not a problem for companies. though it did help push them to surface and make them more noticeable’. p.
Theme/water parks industry III. a primary purpose of which is to allow public access for entertainment. The most quoted and frequently used definition for attractions is that of the English Tourism Council: ‘A permanently established excursion destination. the theoretical framework of theme parks will be presented.6) Visitor attractions undoubtedly play a substantial role in development and success of a tourism region. Boniface and Cooper (in Fyall.1.1. In addition. under a single management … and must be receiving revenue directly from visitors. At their basic level they operate as generators of tourists in a destination. In the following paragraph. they generate the visit. Theoretical framework of theme/water parks ‘Attractions are the raison d’être for tourism.III. It must be opened to the public without prior booking. III. but also they could be seen as determining factors of change and growth of the social benefits and attracting significant revenues in a certain area. their classifications.. rather than being principally a retail outlet or venue for sporting. and should be capable of attracting tourists or day visitors as well as local residents. theatrical or film performances. that is the reason why there is not universal definition for all kinds of attractions.10) 38 . 2003. give rise to excursion circuits and create an industry of their own’.. Definitions of theme/water parks Attractions are broadly discussed in the literature. p. p. for published periods each year. 2003. interest or education. et al.1. the attraction must be a single business.’ (in Fyall. characteristics and development. et al. Perhaps.
In this grouping the biggest part is presented by theme parks. provided by numerous water attractions. for a short or limited period. They represent also the highest percent of investments in the amusing industry. whose main theme is water – in the costumes of the employees and the tourists and also in the exotic architecture – pools. 2003. In general. et al. Water parks (also called aqua parks) are entertainment parks catering for an emotional day. 40).’ (Fyall. combining the continuity of costuming and architecture with entertainment and merchandise to promote a fantasy provoking atmosphere. adrenalin and high speed. e. attractions are seen as part of the category entertaining places. Bovy and Lawson (1998) present different classification of leisure parks in figure 3-1: Attraction parks Attraction parks Themed parks Safari parks Themed parks Парковеparks Leisure за отдих и Recreation and leisure Aquatic/water parks Recreation and sports Recreation parks Recreation and nature Source: Bovy and Lawson (1998. attractions have boundaries and can be controlled and managed. etc. In water parks the emphasis is on amusement.96) Figure 3-1: Classification of leisure parks 39 . A popular definition of a theme park is that of the American Marriott Corporation: ‘A family entertainment complex oriented towards a particular subject or historical area. p. usually during the free time. According to this definition it could be concluded that water parks are a type of theme parks.. some climate or atmospheric conditions.Attractions are separate places or clearly defined small geographical areas which are opened for visitors and act as motivators for people to travel the distance from their homes to the attraction. According to definitions. waterfalls. ships. All the definitions of attractions exclude uncontrollable or unmanageable phenomenon which sometimes are referred to as attractions. rivers. slides. out of home. p.g.
in the vicinity of a large centre of population. Water parks are mainly developed near sun and sea resorts. water parks are a separate class of parks. p.’ According to Beaver (2002. Water parks directly gather the tourists already visiting the regions. on holiday. as opposed to tourists. in this case. undoubtedly comprise the vast majority of most European theme parks’ clientele.Type of visitors – as a result of the first difference both parks have diverse visitors. usually for the general public and on payment of an admission charge. or worlds. .e. For instance. For the most adequate explanation of water parks. most of the attractions are water-based. Davidson (1992. such as a water-based theme park. or a tourist attraction. p. 76) .e. The main difference between both parks. In the water parks the range of the attractions varies depending on the market segment they cater for and not on different themes. i. the ‘themed areas’ in water parks are not different stories or lands but are 40 . other water-based activities and such visual attractions as waterfalls. p. For the comparison will be used the characteristics pointed out by R. two definitions will be presented: Medlik (2003. it could be concluded that water parks are man-made attraction whose theme is water and their main purpose is to attract visitors and to cater to their needs. Regardless of their categorisation as a type of a theme park or a type of the general ‘leisure parks’.Theme – most of the parks are developing a theme around which all the attractions are designed and situated in ‘themed areas’. Even though water parks are considered to be a type of a theme park. . is the theme that is chosen. i. Day-trippers. there can be distinguished some different features between theme and water parks in Europe. In the water parks always the main theme is the water.In compliance with figure 3-1. These provide variety by giving visitors the impression that they pass through different lands. or a combination of the two’.Location – theme parks are usually built outside a town or city.179) describes it as ‘a recreation area providing water sports. 321-322) the use of the term water park varies: it ‘may be a large water-sport complex. or time periods.
but the theme is always one and the same – the water! . Parking is usually free ‘as research has shown that visitors do not like to pay out twice before entering the park’ (Davidson. However. the first are much bigger in most terms. Worldwide attendance at theme parks reached 756. Water parks which are situated mostly near sun and sea destinations offer not only the man-built attractions but also the enjoying of the nice weather and sunbathing. All of the discussed definitions of attractions and their characteristics show that they are an open system which will be subject of future expansion following the dynamic development of this sector of the tourism industry. water parks are smaller – mostly not more than 60 hectares which means that they also require less people for serving smaller territory. for the whole family.Physical size.Pay-one-price admission – since the parks are purpose-built attractions all of them charge admission fee on entry.4 billion in revenue (Haden. Theme parks elsewhere in Europe generally occupy 150-200 hectares (the size of a small town). 2006). 76). analysing the differences between theme and water parks. As a reason for the development of water parks it could be pointed out the tendency of worldwide increase in summer holidays which represent the biggest share of holiday travels. in some cases water parks offer more value for money than theme parks.5 million in 2005. . For the purpose of the dissertation water parks will be investigated as a kind of theme parks in the empirical part of this research. for relaxation. This charge allows the tourists to use all the attractions without paying extra. IAAPA. generating US$22. As an answer of the development and expanded distribution of water parks worldwide there are several associations serving the interests of that industry – WWA. That is the reason why in the admission fee they include the usage of a sun-chair and sun-shade. 41 . huge amount of initial investment – considering these characteristics amusement parks as a whole differ significantly from the other attractions. created jobs. for the brave.areas for the children. Water parks are the attractions which contribute also to the image of a certain destination with sun. Hence. 1992. sand and water. etc. the amount cannot be generalised. As far as the investments are concerned. p.
Online source) report that a greater use of water related activities. rivers. out-of-town sites’ (op cit.1. The use of family cars resulted in expansion of the catchment area of theme parks which gave them the opportunity to be constructed ‘on low-cost. bars and restaurants. wide range of water activities (pools. In the countries with warmer climate. although there is the counter opinion that those parks are an answer of the market forces and they preserve the natural resources.2. 42 . (Bovy and Lawson. but the seasonality should be also considered. showers. The big complexes of this type undoubtedly are planned as a commercial investment and are highly dependable on the numbers of visitors. The main elements of a water park include: shaped pools. Theme parks are mostly situated in Northern Europe (UK. but ‘future expansion will be limited by restrictions on capturing’ and will display aquatic mammals. As major reasons he points out the ‘spread of private car ownership and changing socio-economic conditions’.III. toilets. viewing areas. islands). p.). The attendance could be increased by proximity of a resort or a big hotel. etc. changing rooms. Jones and Robinett (1998. Distribution of theme and water parks in Western Europe is not equal (see the Appendix 2 and 3). Southern France and Italy). where in densely inhabited countries ‘the most prosperous population of the continent live’ (op cit. Spain. whereas water parks are located in Southern Europe (Portugal. water parks are sited in the open air and are used by the local people and the tourists during the summer season (four to six months). 1998). attractions and landscaping is occurring in theme park design. 101) suggest a comparison table (table 3-1) between traditional outdoor leisure and aquatic parks. Germany and Northern France). Characteristics of water parks and their customers Davidson (1992. whirlpools. slides. waterfalls.). In reply of this dispute. More often they are in proximity of a beach in seaside resorts as additional attractions. 75) explains that most of the European theme parks were developed in the last 20 years. Bovy and Lawson (1998. There is much criticism of the artificiality of those facilities. p.
Table 3-1: Comparison between traditional outdoor leisure and aquatic parks Traditional outdoor leisure Near nature. animals. the following investigation should be taken into account: . 43 . circulation and management of tourist flow during the peak hours including additional attractions and show programmes. The financial.). . requirements for the facilities. fairytales elements. infrastructure. factors which influence the future consumption. as explained before. demographic and socio-economic profile of tourists. environment. contracts for financing. physical and design planning are not a question under investigation in the dissertation. etc. accessibility. expected number of visitors. . ecological and socio-economic influence. That is why the analysis will follow with one of the most important issues – the customers whose preferences and motives are changing in the experience economy. of the weather Not expensive to develop and operate Cheap for users Without technical infrastructures Risk of erosion of natural resources Source: Bovy and Lawson (1998. p. competitors. its fauna and flora Awareness of the seasons. . 101) Aquatic parks Totally artificial surroundings All year round controlled climate Heavy investment and operational costs Expensive for users High consumption of energy and water Visual intrusion in the landscape In the process of planning of water parks. cost distribution (investment and operational).Physical planning – movement.Marketing research – the size of the territory which will generate the tourists.Surveying – definition of alternatives for themes (shipwreck.Research on the localisation – a place convenient for the tourists.
Those classifications will be used in the practical research of the customers of Action Aquapark. the worldwide approaches to theme parks will be discussed. Current management approaches to theme parks The approach and the conception of theme parks around the world differ according to the culture and lifestyle of their customers. young family. they spend money on entertainment and they are easily convinced by tour operators.family status – a child.social affiliation. However. .age.Temporary residential market: second-home owners. Haden (2006) claims that the US market 44 . . each water park has its specific target group which could be classified in accordance with the following main elements: . they are holidaymakers in the catchment area. before narrowing the analysis from the Bulgarian perspective. parties and families with young (3-15-year-old) children (Bovy and Lawson. . young non-married person. elder family.excursionist or tourist. . . They could be segmented into three main markets: .Permanent residential market: inhabitants of the catchment area who would be attracted mostly once a year. 1998). According to this segmentation water parks mostly rely on the tourist market because tourists change approximately every week.There is a close relation between the number of visitors and the residents in the catchment area.place of living. Visitors to water parks are mainly town dwellers.individual or group visitor. However.2. couples. . but they would not be attracted to visit a park often during their holiday. III. travel agents or advertisements to visit the park.Tourist market: tourists who spend their holiday in the nearby resorts. young family with children. friends. .
growing at a pace of around one and a half times that of the world average achieved over the period 2000-2005 (op cit. there are several hotels. On the contrary. 72) warns that the day-trip market has already been confronted with variety of alternatives and choices and hence ‘a visit to a stand-alone attraction is becoming less important and. However. most major US operators have not planed to construct new parks but rather to expand existing parks. Europeans are more varied. as the available leisure time increases. p.). This leads to the conclusion that when Americans go on a holiday. But the brochure of 45 . In comparison to the American customers. 67) said: ‘The idea here was not a single theme park but a total holiday destination as it comprises three main theme parks. With more disposable income but overworked. Fifty-six percent of Western Europeans take at least one holiday per year. more significantly. Disney Corporation followed the example from the USA and developed more than 13 hotels inside and in the surroundings of the park. restaurants and other additional attractions. Theme parks in Europe are mostly day-trip attractions. with 34 percent of these taking two or more. Bryman (1995. p. For example. Americans are looking for ‘vacations that can pack a week’s worth of fun into just a few days’ (Mill and Morrison. the short-break and weekend markets are very active. there are many countries. Davidson (1992) stated that Western Europeans tend to have four to six weeks’ holiday per year which is greater than the American average of two to three weeks.’ Moreover. two water theme parks and two minor theme parks. the Asia-Pacific region is the fastest growing theme park market. they stay longer and have more disposable income. in recent years the American pattern of travelling also is changing. In Europe. the biggest theme park in Europe is Disneyland Resort Paris or Euro Disney. showing characteristic differences from nation to nation. In the not so big continent. For Disney World in Florida. Stevens (2000.is mature and at present. less relevant to the needs and the demands of the consumer’. p. 252). 2002. Making an overview of the favourable leisure rends in Europe. People can easily travel from country to country for a day. as well as to renew and introduce new rides and attractions. Most of the American theme parks are designed to attract people who will stay for a week or even longer.
Another example for the different perceptions between both of the continents is the American company which is operating ‘Six flags’ theme parks. putting money into rides for all ages. critics say that the attempt to implement an American park like Euro Disney without any adaptations to the very peculiar European nationalities could end in a failure. domestic tourism trends and a lack of leisure time and expenditure. Haden (2006) reports that despite the optimism for US theme park operators who ventured into Europe during the late 1980s and early 1990s.).the park is offering a package of mostly four nights which reflects the result of an investigation that people will not consider staying longer (not to speak for seven or more days).). particularly within key markets including the UK. led to operational and financial difficulties. The Euro-centric management and marketing policies did not result in higher demand and the market is still determined by uncertainty. such as consumer confidence. 46 . and cultural differences. due to poor management as well as a lack of understanding about European consumer markets. Now the company has devised a back-to-basics approach. Germany and France. A decade later. the parks were converted again into Walibi. Haden (2006) also supports the opinion by stating that Six Flags’ expansion plans in Europe failed. As a result. in 2004. and instead. have been undermining theme park attendance growth (op cit. At the end of the 1990s it bought the biggest percentage of the shares of the Belgian firm operating the ‘Walibi’ parks which came under the name of ‘Six Flags’. where environmental factors. Plans are also underway to transform Six Flags theme parks into more family-friendly attractions (op cit. she simply answered: ‘They did not understand the European market’. In a personal interview with the communication manager of Walibi World (in Holland) – Miss Alice Kroeze – to the question ‘Why did you change the name again?’. a lack of understanding of European consumer dynamics. intending to expand its appeal beyond the traditional market of teenagers and young adults by shifting away heavy investment on thrill rides.
even within Europe. 2002 – 13.American theme parks are targeted specially at teenagers and young adults. However. to 0. 2001. As part of the marketing strategies for boosting attendance and sales. Leisure Opportunities Magazine (2004).2 million. where there are currently approximately 300 theme parks (Haden. in 2003 the number of visitors declined to 12. The European average figure is 0. as well as regional visitors. it is 0. whilst for France it is only 0.70. theme parks on both of the continents use the co-branding with major retailers and manufacturers.23 in Europe’. For the USA this index is 0. It is called ‘theme park visitation per head of population’. aiming the local or indigenous population. Those statistics also illustrate the global impact of theme parks. They apply ethnocentric marketing approaches.25. celebrations and ticket deals. focusing their marketing strategies primarily on promoting new rides. p. 2001 – 12. 227) introduced similar numbers which ‘vary from 0. attendance of the parks varies in the different countries. Those changes in the tourism industry as a whole and particularly in the theme parks industry could 47 .32. But more than 55% of the visitors in the Parisian theme park were travelling by cars and only 15% by planes in 2005 (see Appendix 4).60 in the USA and Japan. which have attracted a great deal of debate among researchers on their wider significance to contemporary society.1 million).50 in Australia. Till 2002 the attendance of the park was increasing (2000 – 12 million. One of the simple and general explanations (which was often used in that period) was that there was a downturn in the whole tourism industry primarily due to the attacks from 11th September. The figures published in the web page of Euro Disney do not show a very optimistic trend in the number of visitors.4 and for 2004 it remained the same. For Denmark. Then. to 0.80. The breakfast cereal producer distributes free vouchers for holidays in its packages with cornflakes. 2006). For example. reports that Disneyland Paris and Kellogg’s have teamed up. These indicators reveal the unequal distribution of theme parks’ visitors in the different continents and also throughout Europe. European theme parks are attuned to attract families and cater mainly to children. A comparable index is presented by David Camp (1997) (Director of Economics Research Associates). Ryan and Page (2000. parades.
the managers are looking for different options to attract people who have already visited the symbol of Paris. Twenty one percent of 48 . 2005. with reference to emotional satisfaction and the need to personalise. including one new ride each year (Haden. According to company sources Disneyland Paris. This summer a pool with waterproof photos of fluorescent fish at the bottom was placed under the Tower. 45) remarks that the significant success of Disney corporation ‘is based on the very simple idea that adults wish above all else to re-attain the happiness which they had – or.be explained partly with the evolution in the psychology of the customers in the experience economy context. Bos (2004) claims.8 million and the revenue increased from 1. p. Another recent example of adding experiences concerns the world famous Eiffel Tower in Paris. And the customers want new attractions and new experiences. on the verge of becoming profitable. which has been operating at a net loss since it opened in 1992.g.068 adults) answered that they would only visit an attraction more than once if there was something new. Despite its popularity.040. He adds that artificial supply that does not distinguish itself from others (e. wish that they had had – as children. theme parks) will decrease in importance if it does not meet higher standards. This assumption is supported also by the fact that after Euro Disney re-launched one of its most popular attractions as a completely new experience in 2005 the trends from the statistics seemed to have changed (see Appendix 5). It offers scuba diving lessons and three winters ago there was an ice-skating rink installed there. A total of US$308 million will be spent on improvements at Disneyland Paris over the period 2005-08. is. March 2002. Lawson (in Theobald.’ The higher standards which Bos mentioned mean not quality but answering to the higher needs of the customers. In 2006 attendance grew to 12.6 million euro in 2005 to 1. between its four legs.7 million euro in 2006.087.40). that the more experienced tourists will in the future favour greater authenticity. That is proven by an interview held in December 2001 which was investigating British consumers’ attitudes towards attractions (Mintel. p. more poignantly. Seventeen percent of all the respondents (2. 2006).
but the search for ‘ever more gravity-defying rides has reached a point where the human body is now being subjected to dangerous levels of acceleration. for example. Haden (2006) notices that there has been a shift in emphasis towards building experiential rides that stimulate the senses. ‘on entering the park. interview. theme parks begin to exceed the normal human boundaries. 80) suggests that ‘the most successfully designed parks are those which immediately delight visitors’ by offering the feeling that. at 259 feet. He thinks that video games are ‘the next story medium’ and claims that the most important aspect of the design is ‘the emotional show and story that is being told’. they have moved into a different. It could be concluded that the best strategy for theme park design is to find the right balance between high-thrills. But all the discussions presented here have concerned mainly America and Western Europe. Taking into consideration the design of theme parks. The key factor is in precise planning and design of the park. p. in their search for new adventures.those who visited attractions in last 12 months would need a new exhibit or ride to justify revisiting an attraction. high-tech and high-impact emotional content. Japan. it will be illustrated that the Eastern and particularly Bulgarian perspective are quite different. 2002. and engineers believe nothing higher than 300 feet is feasible’ (Holloway. as has been highlighted several times. design and management approaches differ in each continent and even in each country in Europe. Eddie Sotto (a designer in Walt Disney Company. boasts the highest roller-coaster. However. better world. He adds (op cit. Davidson (1992. the ‘Fujiyama’. The author has decided to present them in order to be able to throw further light on the different situation in Eastern Europe. p. However. ‘the “real” world must be firmly left outside’. In the next paragraph where Action Aquapark will be presented. 202). Online source) explains that kids are already bored by rides which do not offer interaction. 49 .). with its own rules and logic’.
Indeed.III. in Bulgaria for a period of four years five water parks were opened.1. III. Haden (2006. The Bulgarian perspective – Action Aquapark Mintel (February 2002. Sunny Beach and the nearby towns offer altogether about 80. Slovenia and Slovakia’ (op cit. There was an obvious lack of an attraction of that kind. restaurants and construction of second homes.. 2003. The subject of investigation in this dissertation is one of the first water parks in Bulgaria which opened its doors in the summer of 2003 – Action Aquapark. 20).5% for the period 2004-2009. p.3. However. the private sector realised the gap in the amusement industry and developed various sites for entertainment. At that time there were no water parks in Bulgaria and the only possibility for managers was to consult foreign experience. but of course not of the scale displayed in Western Europe.3. For example. with growth stemming mainly from Eastern Europe and the Middle East. all the countries from the Eastern Bloc suffer from the insufficiently developed infrastructure and do not have enough budget for investing in attractions. p. With a population of about 7 million people. 15) is of the opposite opinion discussing the forecasts of PricewaterhouseCoopers which predict that theme park sales in EMEA are expected to climb by 27. This destination has become very popular among tourists the last decade primarily due to rapid development in hotels. p. For that reason a leading Spanish company in constructing water parks – Action Park Multiforma Grupo –was selected and all the facilities were developed in conformance with the Western European 50 . Further on the report concludes that ‘the least optimistic forecasts for investment are for Bulgaria. 12) predicts that the Eastern Bloc will focus on ‘infrastructure development and consolidation of the cultural and heritage products rather than on capital investment in non-traditional attractions’. After seven months of construction works Action Aquapark was opened to the public in July.000 hotel beds and many foreigners have bought their second homes there. these developments do not seem very feasible. History and background Action Aquapark is situated in Sunny Beach resort.
p. the major determinants of new consumer behaviour presented by Pikkemaat and Schuckert (2004. For example. The third – is the local population from the towns in the catchment area (mainly Nesbar. The second group is the temporary residential market. children’s pool and garden. As Swarbrooke (2002. All these attractions are designed to cater to various tastes of customers from all ages and nationalities. Sim Leisure Consultants from Malaysia were hired to advise the management team of the park during its opening. restaurants and bars (see Appendix 6). III. Additionally. Vlas. Pomorie). will be used for comparison. The third group is very different from the other two as the survey will show. The Bulgarians are the opposite. Obzor. They even sometimes ridiculously deny their own culture. p. Western Europeans tend to be more patriotic and despite the globalising world they try to preserve their own cultures. 2) in table 2-2.standards. occupying a territory of 30 hectares and offering 12 different slides.3. The first and most important group consists of international tourists who spend their holiday in Sunny Beach and the nearby resorts (Nesebar.139) reports one of the most important factors for the professional management approach is ‘appreciating that there is not one big “public” but lots of different market segments with different needs and desires’. The international tourists and the temporal residents are more alike because they are mainly British. Action Aquapark is privately owned by a Bulgarian company. Customers of Action Aquapark Action Aquapark’s target market is divided into three main groups. It is not large compared to the Western European water parks. a river. the major tourist market at the Bulgarian seaside.2. a wave pool. For more clear analysis of the customers. people here are keener on the Western cultures and their products. in the centre 51 . After all the reforms in the last 15 years and additionally the acceptance of Bulgaria in the European Union. Pomorie and Bourgas).
90 percent of the respondents only 20.20 percent were on a holiday in another resort. A study conducted by a specialised research company in 2006 (see Appendix 7) proves the conclusions from the previous paragraph. Another factor .000 Bulgarian respondents 75. In this regard. For its 50 years of existence it became the ‘symbol of indestructible dream’. Bulgarians are not showing very individualistic behaviour and control over their decisions for their holidays. they have one two-week holiday during the summer. Even then Bulgarians prefer to go to the Southern seaside resorts because Sunny Beach still remains an expensive resort for the average population. This trend has been changing since the fall of the Iron Curtain.80 percent admitted that they had no time. However.60 percent have visited Action Aquapark.10 percent did not visit the Black Sea resorts in 2005 and 2006. From 1. and the average percent for the EU is 47.the personification of holidays – is also different in the West and in the East. their expectations are much higher. did not travel a lot especially abroad. This means that those customers have travelled a lot and have previous experiences of this kind of attraction and hence. It was a world-famous attraction representing a long period of the Bulgarian history. the government decided that it was a monument representing the repressive and inhumane communist past and in 1999 that historical symbol was destroyed. 10. However. the Schengen contract and the acceptance of Bulgaria in the EU. a very important factor is also the travel experience. Western European countries are the generators of tourists worldwide. August. 2007) reports that 69 percent from the questioned Bulgarians have never used the internet. As main reasons stated for not visiting the park 20.of Sofia (the capital of Bulgaria) there was a mausoleum of Georgi Dimitrov (the first communist leader) which was built in 1949. Bulgarians consider even a water park as Western or American type of attraction. Usually.80 percent considered the water park to be very expensive and the other 7. But a recent study by the European Commission (published in a Bulgarian newspaper – ’24 Hours’. It is available mainly due to internet possibilities. Trying to follow the Western pattern of living. on the contrary. The respondents living in the catchment area point as main reason for not visiting the park that it is an 52 . Bulgarians. From the other 24. people still do not have enough free time and disposable income for short-haul holidays.
some of the residents from the catchment area have already visited the park. 1994). many other parks of that kind have been constructed over the last two years. That is why it is of crucial importance for the managers of the park to be able to attract repeat visitors. The question is how the customers can be attracted again.). the foreign tourists have visited Sunny Beach several times. 5) also supports the opinion that ‘US companies expanded into Europe without any due consideration for cultural differences’. water parks should aim at designing and constructing new and more exciting rides and attractions (op cit. which had a disastrous effect. high-quality entertainment. Haden (2006 p. but to highlight the idea that ‘they are places offering extraordinary and memorable experiences for all ages. The study adds information on the profile of the tourists. 53 . Repeat customers are a must for such attractions (Braun and Milman. catering and facilities’. In the empirical part of the research the investigation of the customers will be correlated with their nationality in order to draw conclusions on the cultural differences and hence the different management approaches necessary. On the one hand. This calls for a carefully coordinated and balanced combination of sophisticated.50 is much higher than the average. Sunny Beach is a destination where the tourists have been several times and they are used to come here. reporting that visitors aged up to 25 years with higher income are the main market who visits the park remarking that the percent that they represent – 27. Due to that reason Action Aquapark aims mainly to attract repeat visitors. rides. The next paragraph will discuss the main competitors of the investigated water park. For this strategy to be effective. As stated above Haden (2006 p. they have to listen not only to consumer wants and needs. After the success of Action Aquapark in the first 3 years of its operation. Haden (2006) suggests that repeat potential guests could be attracted by providing the information that the park is new and improved.expensive place for them. 20) gives a hint that for the success of theme parks. On the other hand.
They consist of: . secondly.000 people per day. The conclusions of the managers were: firstly. The crucial question before the management of Action Aquapark is what do the others not offer which could be offered here? 54 . Competitors of Action Aquapark Today there are five water parks in Bulgaria.III.visit to the old town of Nessebar which is declared a UNESCO monument.3. As it can be seen only the water park offers a mixture of full day of sunbathing. people who went to the new park during that summer were potential repeat visitors to Action Aquapark but they chose to visit a new park rather than a park that they had been to before. . The indirect competitors could be considered among other excursions and attractions that tour operators offer to their customers.an excursion to Istanbul. emotions and thrills. The main competitor appears to be the newly built water park (Aqua Paradise) which is about 10km south of Action Aquapark. Here it could be concluded that the main competitor remains the other park as well as the beach which is the prime reason for the holiday.visit to a typical Bulgarian village.mountain safari.3. During this period Action Aquapark’s attendance grew to over 3. four of which are at the 300km long coast line. Action Aquapark should offer something that the other park does not have in order to keep its competitive advantage. the marketing policies of both of the parks together contributed to the increase of the popularity of the attraction sites. . That was a maximum that had never previously been reached. . The general assumption is that situated in Sunny Beach where the majority of tourists are staying. In the summer of 2006 the new park was closed for ten days in August due to legislative problems.
). The managers have to consider something new which could appeal to the Western tourists who have rich experiences and at the same time attract the local population for repeat visits. Some scholars regard it as theoretical but from the analysed approaches 55 . The Bulgarian water parks would not succeed in re-paying such an investment firstly. because of more limited budget and secondly. The discussed current management approaches demonstrate that one of the most important things remaining is to consider the national characteristics. In the Bulgarian situation it is very difficult because the new hi-tech innovations are very expensive. Moreover. most of the parks abroad concentrate on adding new experiences and emotions by introducing new rides and attractions. On the other hand. As can be seen. Haden (2006. 7) suggest that instead of constant investment in new attractions. tourists and locals’. p. it is more ‘appropriate to support attraction management strategies which address both. Moreover.1) adds that developing new rides and facilities ‘only has a short-term uplifting effect on attendance and sales’. customers’ needs are changing in the experience economy context. In the experience economy theme parks need ‘to connect with their guests emotionally. for its four years of operating the water park have not been introducing any new experiences for its customers.4. The analysis of Action Aquapark shows that the attraction site needs a new management strategy in order to be able to operate feasibly and to remain the major attraction in Sunny Beach. The author considers The Blue Ocean Strategy is very applicable to the current situation. Main problems of Action Aquapark Action Aquapark confronts several challenges in its attempts to attract visitors. On the one hand. One thing becomes obvious – Action Aquapark needs a new management strategy. p. because the parks work only during the summer season. it is worth mentioning that the entrance fees of the parks are much lower than elsewhere in Europe because the admission fees are in accordance with the lower salaries and prices in Bulgaria. the existence of another water park in close proximity creates a new competitive situation.III. and evoke positive connotations’ (op cit. Pikkemaat & Schuckert (2004.
According to the success factors of Pikkemaat & Schuckert (2004) a product which implies impressions and emotions. to introduce unique product against competitors. In Bulgaria the situation is more predictable because all the parks and attractions are owned by Bulgarian companies and all of them have more scarce financial resources. The scenario envisioning was suggested to be the first step. Kim and Mauborgne (2005) and Destot (2000) claim that what is important is to do what the others do not offer. Then managers could envisage what will be the counter reaction of the competitors. Action Aquapark is looking for something unique. involvement and interactivity should be introduced which will contribute to a new branding of the park. The other park does not operate very well due to marketing or management gaps and it could be predicted that it will not undertake new experience developments in the near future primarily due to financial reasons. 56 . However. The author suggests that managers of Action Aquapark can create a blue ocean from within a red ocean. the scenario envisioning could be partly applied when the management of Action Aquapark is deciding its new management strategy. meaning that the company have to expand the boundaries of the existing industry. More concretely the action which should be considered as the ‘experience rules’ involve is extension of the experiences.some practical directions could be implemented.
involvement and interactivity.IV. This chapter will present the methodology used for the research of the stated issues and the limitations and problems encountered. Methodology IV. The aim of the primary research is: ‘to discuss and evaluate the adoption and practical implementation of the Blue Ocean Strategy as a management strategy for Action Aquapark to overcome the current challenges of the competitors and the changing consumer behaviour and at the same time to be able to attract repeat visitors’. 4) Access and apply the preferences of customers. the primary research will concentrate on finding a management strategy for Action Aquapark to expand the boundaries of the existing industry by finding a unique product which implements new experiences. Aim and objectives of research After the extensive literature review a more precise aim and more focused objectives are formulated. uncovering an unexpected product in the practical adoption of the Blue Ocean Strategy. impressions and emotions. 5) Implement the Blue Ocean Strategy in Action Aquapark using the ABC model. 2) Determine the profile of Action Aquapark’s customers. This aim can be achieved by accomplishing the following objectives: 1) Investigate and analyse the approaches of four leading Portuguese water parks. preferences. Introduction Adapting the blue ocean strategy. post purchase behaviour and likelihood for future visit to Action Aquapark. 3) Identify customers’ determining factors of satisfaction.2. 57 .1. IV.
They were chosen as a main tool for collecting data mainly because the research aims at gathering many and various opinions of Action Aquapark’s customers. surveys. Primary and secondary research There are two main approaches to gathering information. focus groups. observations or experiments. The questionnaire’s last 58 . The latter data does not generally imply numbers and figures. usually by questionnaires. family status). Quantitative primary research The quantitative primary research of the dissertation includes questionnaires. sex. In the quantitative research. interviews.3.1. It is called primary research because it provides first-hand information (Blaas. For this specific research both methods are used. The first data implies statistical analysis based on numerical evidence. etc. The questionnaire is structured in four main parts and consists of introduction and 19 questions (see Appendix 8).3. The fourth part inquires about potential future visits of respondents.1. 2004). respondents share their opinion on their perception of a water park and their past experience in that type of attractions.IV. education. In the third section. Primary research approach Primary data is usually either quantitative or qualitative. The second part asks general holiday behaviour questions concerning the period of stay in Bulgaria and activities during the holiday.3.1. it is often required approach of a large number of people. IV. IV. their recommendations and perceptions of Action Aquapark. Secondary data has already been collected by someone else for a different purpose and can be re-used by another researcher. Primary data collection is necessary when the researcher cannot find the data needed in secondary sources and has to collect it himself. nationality. It involves gathering a huge amount of information about a small number of people by observations. The first section deals with the demographic profile of the respondents (age.
128 completed questionnaires were collected back. taking the advantage of half-day price. come in the early afternoon. German. English. The questionnaires were translated in five languages: Bulgarian. a response rate at 84. many of the completed inquiries were returned in the restaurants. The author approached people who were relaxing on their sun chairs. 59 . Hence. However.628 people had visited the water park. An additional suggestion can be made. Those languages cover most of the nationalities which visit Action Aquapark.18 percent. However. In the period of the research a total of 13. even though the English language is used by most nationalities. Response rate was surprising even for the author – 1. The three-times a day method of distribution enables fuller coverage of visitors because some people come early in the morning and some.83 percent of all the tourists. The inquiries were distributed among all the tourists who were relaxing on their sun chairs in the morning. they were not included in the sample. there were a few tourists who did not speak any of those languages. The author had chosen five languages for this research. Respondents were asked to fill in also their children’s (if any) opinion. Two limitations of the questionnaires were considered. The second obstacle is the way the questionnaire was distributed. The inquiries were distributed from 15th of August till 1st of September 2006. at noon and in the afternoon. Russian and Serbian. that at least one member of a family was sitting on a sun chair to keep the belongings and if this assumption is correct the author had reached at least one member of a family or a group. That is why in some questionnaires there is more than one answer and the total percent of answers is more than 100%. During this period the attendance of the parks is in its peak and tourists from various nationalities are visiting Sunny Beach. A sample of 1.question is open-ended in order to receive an unlimited number of possible answers and richness of details. Visitors who were spending their time only on the slides or in the restaurants were not approached.340 visitors had been chosen which represented 9.
that international tourists show distinct patterns of preference and motives when they travel (Hu. thrills and fun or rather seen only as a place for children. The dependent variable framework used to develop and compare the profiles of the functional segments was chosen because it either would seem to contribute to a manager’s understanding of the product or which conceivably could be influenced by the manipulation of the marketing mix. 1996. Whether it is still related with emotions. This will help in determining the direct and indirect competitors of Action Aquapark. 1) The first correlation studies whether the motives for a visit to a water park are different for the diverse profile of the tourists. 388). Kau. The descriptor variables were selected on the basis of managerial relevance. After an examination of the answers of each question separately. As suggested in the literature review the main issues of investigating in the questionnaire include: fulfilling the expectations and the likelihood of future visit and 60 . The aim of this correlation is to investigate their perceptions of this attraction. 4) The last correlation aims at studying Action Aquapark’s competitive advantages. The tourists were asked to point out their reasons for choosing to visit Action Aquapark. 2003. 3) The third issue of discussion is what different visitors associate a water park with. The analysis of the questionnaire will help to identify the attributes of Action Aquapark that have to be promoted (Kozak in Bansal and Eiselt. 2) Another question that investigates different answers correlated with the three factors deals with the alternatives for spending the free time while on a holiday in Sunny Beach. nationality and age.The findings that resulted from the quantitative research – the questionnaire – have been analysed by SPSS. mainly depending on their nationality. a computer program used for statistical analysis. as suggested by the tourism literature. p. Whether it is relatively competitive in the experience economy context. The suggested correlations will demonstrate one of the most important issues that influence tourism marketing. 1993). I have made a correlation between the following four questions and the personal characteristics: sex.
Water parks’ managers from two different countries were chosen. source of information. The questions were considered in advance and an appointment was made with each of the managers. The main limitation of the interviews was seen in the highly competitive environment among parks in the Algarve. The length of the south-facing coastline is approximately 155 kilometers. and contains four large water parks. Additionally. the interview with Action Aquapark’s marketing manager outlined the main problems the park encounters.3. socio-economic status. Qualitative primary research In the qualitative primary research I use expert opinions collected from four water parks’ managers questioned in the Algarve. perceived image benefit. past experience and attractiveness. 11. Portugal (see Appendix 9. customer loyalty. level of satisfaction. IV. estimation of alternatives. tour operator recommendations. The results will provide information whether the customers have changed in the context of the experience economy.2. Bulgaria (see Appendix 13). In accordance with table 2-3 the findings will analyse the elements of advertisement. I encouraged respondents to talk and explain their ideas. Portugal and Bulgaria are two European countries with not very high living standards even though the latter is less developed. characteristics of tourists.positive word-of-mouth (recommendations). and 12) and one in Action Aquapark. Moreover.10. Each of the interviews took approximately one hour. A comparison will be interesting primarily due to analysis of old versus new managerial practices. The interviews as a tool of collecting data were chosen for obtaining in-depth understanding of management practices in the industry. The interviewer was prepared to be flexible in the order of questions and in the development of interviewee’s ideas. The Algarve is the southernmost region of Portugal and one of Europe’s holiday destinations well known for warm climate throughout the year and sandy beaches. Portugal has already been part of the water park industry for more than 20 years and Bulgaria has just started to develop it. Managers who 61 .1.
2. However. Asked for the number of visitors. 53). The years that have passed gave the opportunity to discuss whether the intentions of the managers had been fulfilled and whether they had resulted in new management strategies. IV. the first interview was with him and the pleasant conversation biased the author in the next interviews where comparable positive attitude was not felt. Secondary research approach Secondary information has been collected and is presented in chapters two and three. The interview in Action Aquapark can be considered as the most reliable because the author worked as Key Account Manager there and had personal access to numbers and knowledge of polices and strategies. Action Aquapark’s survey made by a specialised research company was used. The interviews in Portugal were carried out in the second half of May. internet articles and other secondary research of Bulgarian and foreign authors in the field of the attraction industry. Furthermore. 2004. 62 . Findings from other research serve as a basis ‘for deciding what is worth investigating and how it needs to be investigated’ (Denscombe in Blaas. Aqua Show’s manager. Additionally. preferences and motives of customers which should lead to new management strategies in the attraction industry. p. This analysis shows the relation of the research aim with previous investigations and studies. which form the literature review. All these sources formed an analytical frame of literature regarding the changing needs. magazines. Secondary sources for the dissertation were books.wished not to share parks’ details may be afraid of information reaching their competitors. The only park’s manager who was completely open and helpful was Paulo Severino. they exaggerated the figures. information published by theme and water parks was analysed. The interview in Bulgaria was held in July. 2005. journals.3. He consulted with the company’s reports and gave exact numbers on the questions. 2006. articles.
conclusions and recommendations of this research included in the last chapter. Concerning the nationality of the sample there were 28 cases missing.2. V. Tables with figures discussed in the text and results which are not strictly relevant to the study are provided in Appendix 14. possible actions. 63 . Finnish. Then findings continue with analysis of the qualitative interviews with water parks’ managers.V. Scandinavians (8%) and Germans (8%). Scandinavians are cumulative determinant which includes Danish. Demographic profile The profile of respondents shows a mix of men (40%) and women (60%) across all age groups – 28% were between 18-25 years and 50% between 26-45 years. Swedish and Norwegians. The results combined with the secondary research presented in chapters two and three will contribute to the interpretations. V. The majority of the interviewed tourists appeared to be British (over 38%). A graph and a table with data. It starts by presenting data collected by the quantitative research – the questionnaires distributed amongst visitors of Action Aquapark. followed by Bulgarians (17%).1. Over 63% of the households reported no children under 12 years of age and 33% of the respondents had one or two children under 12 years of age.1. Main findings of research V. relevant to the overall research are presented in this chapter. Findings through questionnaires Quantitative findings are arranged in four paragraphs.2. Introduction This chapter discusses the findings of the primary research.
V. There were still keener visitors who were coming for the fourth to sixth time (13%). additionally ‘a place for amusement with friends’ 64 .3. Most of the customers of the water park came with their family (64%) or with friends (22%). A total of 75% of the respondents had visited an aqua park before. the percentage of Action Aquapark’s repeat visitors is low – 17%.2. America (17%) and Sunny Beach (12%). The sixth question of the questionnaire is open and suggests that respondents list the factors which contribute to a nice and happy day in a water park.Perception of a water park and past experience Water parks are a well-known type of attraction for most people. While on a holiday respondents mostly prefer to go to the beach (49%) and in the evenings to bars and discos crawl (22%). one third of the tourists came because of their children. More than half of respondents (59%) associated a water park with ‘a place full of emotions. Tourists were visiting Action Aquapark either at the beginning of their holiday (between the first and the third day of their arrival – 31%) or at the end of their stay (between 7th-10th day – 29% and between 11th-15th day – 20%). Figure 5-1 in the next page demonstrates all the possible answers given. Only afterwards they visit historical and cultural places of interest (20%).V. and 80% of them are visiting the park for second or third time. The most important factor is the weather (28%) because usually water parks are open-air. However. The second most important factor is the variety of attractions (26%) and the third is the nice atmosphere (22%) which implies the design of the park. As a main reason for visiting Action Aquapark. mostly in Spain (34%). The answers to this question show that only 8% of the respondents are bored of the beach and as a result had decided to go to the park. 54% of customers report that they like this type of attraction. However.2. fun and entertainment’. Holiday patterns of behaviour The next group of questions investigated the holiday patterns of the respondents.2.
was considered by 37%. On third place. the most important reason for visiting the attraction remains its situation in Sunny Beach (56%) and the ease of access (33%). Important factors influencing a nice and a happy day in a water park 2% 1% 0%5% 6% 2% 0% 0% 3%1% 1% 17% 9% 1% 10% 2% 7% 14% 3% 17% Many attractions nice food good services/nice organization safety happy children cleanliness nice attractions Not overcrowded Everything Relax Nice weather nice atmosphere cost visit all attractions music don't know Warm water Nice company Happy hour Other Source: personal questionnaires Figure 5-1: Important factors influencing a nice and a happy day in a water park V. 65 . Another 20% associate the name with water action.Customers’ perception of Action Aquapark The name of the park is chosen properly because when people hear of Action Aquapark for the first time they think of fun in the water (43%).2. 36% of the respondents thought of a water park as a place for children. Most of the respondents had heard of the water park from brochures (37%) and decided to visit it because they liked the image of the park in the brochures (28%). The tour operators and travel agencies remain the second most important channel providing information about the park (31%).4. However.
The other 6% were dissatisfied because they had larger expectations (43%). The likelihood of a future visit presented in table 5-1 depends primarily on the launching of a new attraction (62%) and on lower prices (40%). Even more people evaluated their experience on the rides as good or excellent – a total of 93%. Half of the other 14%.0% Valid Lower price Higher quality of service New attraction An educational attraction (small museum. animals or exhibition) in Action Aquapark. 94% of the respondents were going to recommend the water park to their friends.A very high percentage of the respondents (86%) felt that Action Aquapark had fulfilled their expectations.0% 12. reported that they had larger expectations. the water was cold (17%) and service was bad (14%). 66 .4% 138. When asked for their suggestions and recommendations 36% of the respondents pointed out that there should be more attractions. animals show or exhibition) Other new experience 131 Total 1467 8.7% Source: personal questionnaires Most of the respondents rated their experience in the Aquapark on a four-score basis as good or excellent (91%).5% 12. Another 24% were disappointed with the size of the water park.0% 44. An additional 12% would like to find an educational attraction (museum.5% 61.9% 100.0% 9.4% 8. Table 5-1: Factors influencing a future visit to Action Aquapark Responses N 426 132 651 127 Percent 29. Better services were suggested by 13% and 7% insisted on safer environment. As a result of tourists’ satisfaction.7% Percent of Cases N 40.3% 12.
there is a diversity in the answers to the same question between the two most presented nationalities of respondents – British and Bulgarians. nationality and age did not show any significant differences. perceptions of customers and the competitive advantages of Action Aquapark. Distribution by age of the motives shows that younger people like water parks because of the attractions which are entertaining. Bulgarians like aqua parks as well (47%). while for British these attractions are well known. Correlation analysis Some of the findings of four of the questions were correlated with the personal characteristics of respondents: sex. However. British and Bulgarian respondents show different perceptions of a water park. Four questions were considered for their importance to the research. alternatives for spending the holiday time. respectively for 63% of men and 56% of women. Correlation between the preferred activities during the holiday and the sex. The main motive for visiting a water park for men and women does not show any significant difference. The reasons for this difference can be found in the fact that for Bulgarians aqua parks are something relatively new and interesting. since they are travelling a lot more and visit such attractions all around the world. Mainly it is a place full of emotions and fun. investigating motives. The aim of this analysis is to outline possible variations of answers from different segments of visitors. Older visitors prefer the aqua parks because they are seen as a place where they can take their children and grandchildren. nationality and age. Both men and women had the same associations about a water park. but they are attracted mainly of the possibility to try something new and entertaining (49%). fun and entertainment (50%). They both stated mostly that they liked these type of attractions.2. While British thought it was a place for children (56%) and place full of emotions. The British go to a water park mainly because of the children (55%) and because they like these type of attractions (55%). for Bulgarians it is mainly a place full of emotions. fun and 67 .5.V.
The correlation analysis reveals that there are certain differences between consumers’ preferences only in terms of nationality. There is also no variation between the reasons of men and women to choose Action Aquapark.entertainment (75%) and only 12% consider it a place for children. That meant that visitors were choosing one or two attractions during their holiday. V. while Bulgarians considered it a high-adrenaline place (32%) and visited the park because it was recommended by friends (37%). British people go there because it is near Sunny Beach (69%) and is easy accessible (42%). Findings through interviews Portugal’s parks are in a more advantageous position than many European water parks. while the people between 36-45 years of age think of it at as a place for children (53%) and as a place for fun and emotions (59%). Interviewed managers sometimes complained about the law but at least they had the legislative framework necessary for the parks’ functioning. The reasons for going to Action Aquapark are the same for the people of all ages. After a terrible accident in a water park in Lisbon. however. There is considerable difference. The younger people consider the park as a place for entertainment (63%) and amusement with friends (49%). The interviews revealed some common trends in considering the economic situation and in management polices: • The four managers admitted that in the last years tourists coming to the Algarve were changing – they stayed for less time than before and had lower disposable incomes. 68 .3. Most of them prefer it because it is near to Sunny Beach. in the reasons of the British and Bulgarians for choosing the Aquapark. The other two factors: sex and age show no important variation in the answers and are not necessary to be considered. Both decided to go there mainly because it is near Sunny Beach and is easily accessible. the government introduced a law defining all regulations in the industry.
The promotion. 69 . Due to a bad image before its bankruptcy Aqua Show was less developed in 2005. Exception was made by Aqua Show’s manager who was familiar with the experience economy concept. developments in the next 3-5 years. and supported the opinion that customers needed something completely new. The managers of Aqualand. The other three parks relied on their old fame. competition in the commission relations with tour operators. which was ‘unique in Portugal’ but could be found in most of the water parks abroad. • All of the managers were experiencing strong competition between the four parks but they did not want to admit this fact directly. advertisement and distribution channels were also similar. The author considered that the other three managers underestimated the fact that the park had changed its owner and managers and all of them had high enthusiasm for making different things. She thought that this company would consider and take all the responsible decisions in its headquarters. Aqualand’s manager emphasised that the park had already been part of a large company occupied in this industry. Slide and Splash’s manager insisted that the fact that this park was the largest was the priority advantage for them. Even the positioning of the parks was the same: high quality and safe place for families. Slide and Splash and Zoomarine did not consider Aqua Show to be their equal competitor.• • Managers were still optimistic about the future of the water park industry in Managers were not acquainted with innovations and new technologies and the Algarve. The manager was very optimistic because park’s owners were planning many new attractions for the next two years. Zoomarine had some kind of relations with the local government and they relied that it will help in developing the idea that Zoomarine was a symbol of the Algarve. did not consider it a necessity to launch something different from the traditional attractions. • • • • As competitive advantages each park’ manager reported a certain attraction The major problems of the four parks were seasonality and the non-loyal Except Aqua Show none of the other parks had a clear idea of their future The target markets of the four parks were the same.
The interview of Action Aquapark’s manager illustrated the different situation for the industry in Bulgaria. They have a completely new logo. A remark can be made that Aqualand and Slide and Splash has not introduced anything new neither an attraction nor a vision and it is evident that they have no new management strategies.• Two of the parks – Zoomarine and Aqua Show considered the animals as an important part of their products. They were underestimated two years ago but knowledge and proper planning have led to significant development. Aqua Show’s website gives information about the success of the water roller-coaster which was launched in 2005. The similarities of answers between the managers of Aqua Show and Action Aquapark suggest that comparison between management approaches of both water parks could be made. The competition environment in Bulgaria is not so complicated and Action Aquapark could gain an absolute competitive advantage if it undertakes the proper measures on time. As mentioned earlier the fact that the interviews were conducted in 2005 and in 2006 gives the advantage of analysing what has changed since this time. pools. The other two parks did not consider animals important. The plans to build a hotel have not been realised but instead they have opened a multipurpose centre with seven conference rooms suitable for various events. more travel experienced and with more disposable income. Aqua Show’s development is an example of how the tension between competitors can stimulate a company to find appropriate strategies for the future. Aqua Show was a typical water park with slides. 70 . but they had added the animals as part of their product in order to increase children’s options for interactions whilst in the park. For this reason the Bulgarian water park could adopt some of the strategies used in the Portuguese park. etc. roller coaster. Zoomarine was more themed as a water zoo and the animals were their main attraction. vision and approach. The marketing manager was acquainted with the experience economy concept and realised the challenges defined by the new tourists to Sunny Beach – more demanding in terms of experiences and quality.
Conclusion The main findings of the quantitative research show that customers from different nationalities have different motives and perceptions about water parks.V. In Bulgaria. 71 . The qualitative research findings revealed that each country has its own business environment. there is no weekend holiday market. there are no big players for co-branding. However. Water park industry in Bulgaria is immature and American and European management approaches could not be applied without an adoption. there are no expertise and experienced managers and there are experienced versus nonexperienced customers who Action Aquapark have to cater for. all the respondents reported that they need new attractions and experiences for a future visit to Action Aquapark.4. there are limited financial resources for new investments.
A conclusion can be made that theory and practice in both continents differ and it is not reasonable for an approach to be implemented only because it is successful in another part of the world. Analysis of the current situation and approaches in the theme parks industry reveals two crucial aspects which were investigated in the primary research. The research on Action Aquapark’s visitors showed that Bulgarian tourists like water 72 . theme parks’ managers can adopt it practically by using the ABC model for implementation of imagineering. The first one concerns the different approaches in America and in Europe. Conclusions and recommendations VI. 2004) and ‘experience rules’ (Erdly and Kesterson. the experience economy concept can be useful as an explanation for the changes in consumers’ needs and behaviour. Based on the analytical conclusions. Because this strategy seems rather theoretical and general. Implying some ‘success factors’ (Pikkemaat and Schuckert. VI. suggestions for a possible management strategy and recommendations to managers of theme parks will be proposed. Conclusions of the literature review and of the main findings The literature review highlighted that.2. a general conclusion is made concerning the overall aim of the research. Recommendations for future research will follow from these analyses. Each management strategy should be tested and geared towards the national characteristics and conditions where the park is operating.VI.1. At the end. 2002). though highly debatable. Introduction This final chapter interprets and discusses the findings of the primary research described in the previous chapter and of the literature review examined in chapters two and three. the Blue Ocean Strategy can be considered by theme parks’ managers as a proper strategy for future development. It imposes the necessity to investigate the specificities of local and international customers to the destination.
This leads to the second aspect of investigation – the highly competitive environment of water parks. Due to their lack of travel experience their expectations are not high and it is easer to satisfy them. the presence of few more aqua parks at the Bulgarian seaside imposes a necessity to consider a strategy which is different from introducing traditional attractions. excitement. the fact that Action Aquapark has operated for its first four years without launching any new attractions can be regarded as a reason for the park failing to attract many potential repeat visitors. as the literature review illustrates. offering unique attractions (the water rollercoaster) for Portugal and additional convention facilities. At the same time the limited budget would not allow construction of hi-tech innovative attractions. interaction and involvement of tourists. something that the competitors do not have and preferably this new product should provoke emotions. customers from both nationalities shared the opinion that a new attraction or more variety of attractions could make them visit the park again. theme parks in general remain an expensive amusement for them. expensive and unique product to be constructed. On the one hand. Two years ago this park was not considered as a major competitor and now it is the strongest. However. It became a park with a completely new vision.parks because they are a new type of attraction for them. Many of the British respondents had higher expectations due to their previous travel experience. Moreover. only Aqua Show’s management were familiar with the experience economy concept and had 73 . But as Aqua Show’s case reveals it is not necessary for a new innovative. The analysis of the quantitative research concludes that Action Aquapark’s managers should find a new unique product. This brings to the surface the requirement for continuous innovations and introduction of new more and more unique products. All of the interviewed managers shared directly or not their concerns about the competitive tension between them and other parks. Coincidentally or not. They mostly considered water parks as places for children. Interviews with water parks’ managers were made in two European countries – Portugal and Bulgaria. It is enough to have a structured vision and strategy for development in order to be successful. However. the experience economy concept suggests that companies outside the tourism business are indirectly competing with theme parks for the free time of customers. However.
The theoretical frame of this strategy states that one of the possible actions is the creation of a blue ocean from within a red ocean. This suggests that Action Aquapark should aim at a creation of a new compelling product for the existing market. this new experience or attraction will be much easier to be found by Action Aquapark. meaning that a company expands the boundaries of an existing industry. Recommendations to Action Aquapark’s managers The findings from the questionnaires reveal that people need new attractions to stimulate them to make a repeat visit to the park. nine percent of the respondents added that a factor which would influence their future visit was the presence of an educational attraction (see table 5-1). Moreover. VI. The issue of animals in water parks was discussed with the four Portuguese managers.realised the evolving needs of consumers. Action Aquapark’s marketing manager is also one of the few who appreciated the importance of the new challenges and the need for a new management strategy. design of water parks suggests that animals could live in their natural habitat.3. There is one Dolphinarium 110km away from Sunny Beach but because of its distance it is not considered as a direct competitor. Again in America and Western Europe this new product should be considered on a higher level. On the one hand. This will be a unique product for the whole seaside not to say the whole country. Due to the economic and business environment in Bulgaria and moreover to the lack of various products. For Action Aquapark this could be a completely new product. 74 . The combination of the findings from the primary and secondary research concludes that the Blue Ocean strategy could be used by Action Aquapark. On the other hand. there is no zoo or any animal park in the Sunny Beach region. However. in Bulgaria zoos are in extremely poor condition. Aqua Show’s manager supported the idea that animals are always interesting for children and they provide the possibility for interaction between animals and customers.
When respondents ranked the importance of attractions influencing the decision to visit they reported as the most important factor the ‘exhibits/attraction promoting learning’.Another study revealed that animals are an important factor influencing visitors’ motivation for a visit. McClung (in Swarbrooke. 85) describes the three phenomena a company should realise for implementation: ‘an idea’. they went even further. hence the third approach is the most suitable. The next step comprises the ‘Creation of a vision and a concept’. rating exotic animals second after educational exhibits. When asked about the preference of a theme on which a park to be based. Action Aquapark does not face a concrete idea or a problem. 2004). This will lead to the following objective in the vision statement – a 75 . the managers of the park may think of diversifying their product from the competitors by finding a ‘blue ocean’ in the existing industry. In this part of the implementation of the model. For the practical implementation of the Blue Ocean Strategy the author suggested that the ABC model could be used. the product and the competitive advantages of the park. p. These elements have also been discussed. for the complete adoption of the model and the design of an implementation plan more research is essential. On third place after ‘variety of restaurants’ they ranked the attraction of ‘animals in their natural habitat’. 72-73) carried out research in 1991 on customers’ decisions on whether or not to visit attraction sites. shown in the empirical research. Blass (2004. Further on. further research on the feasibility of the idea need to be undertaken. Here the author only gives ideas and recommendations for the future development of the strategy. the product should be considered. p. The second phase involves ‘Experiencing. However. The first step in the ABC model includes ‘Analysing and Attention’. ‘a problem’ or ‘a search strategy with a specific purpose in mind’. The primary research outlined the sector in which the water park operates. However. name) (Blaas. The suggestion to introduce animals could be considered. Brooding and Brainstorming’. is part of this stage of the model. The understanding of the different perceptions of the customers. To create a proper vision information is required about the organisation itself (culture. background.
Swarbrooke (2002) suggests that attractions constantly have to anticipate the market changes and to attempt to plan the future. 76 . additional knowledge about employees’ motivations. 2004.4. the water park’s managers have to plan its long-term vision and concept. the emergence of the experience economy creates the basis for increased levels and non-traditional methods of competition in the industry. VI. anticipations and perceptions will provide sufficient information on the supply side of the water park. 89). Cliché or not. their necessity and international compatibility could lead to more focused control over the future operation of those parks and the non-loyal competition. And Roy Disney adds that ‘when values are clear. The author is aware that these recommendations may show some disadvantages when further research is done. After all the additional research is completed. However. And. as concluded before. increased knowledge regarding legislation and regulation for theme and water parks industry. they are the people who are serving the product and cater for the satisfaction of customers. changes in the management policy of Action Aquapark should be made in the near future in order for the park to keep its competitive advantage and market share. On a more theoretical level. At least. It may be a cliché that in the tourism industry the product depends on the employees because of the service character of the business. the managers of Action Aquapark could think of a concept creation in which the unique current advantages and the ‘new product’ have to be combined with the overall aims of the organisation. Suggestions for future research A possible strand of future research should be to investigate the personnel of the Aquapark. p. However. decisions are easy’ (Nijs and Peters in Blaas.new branding and positioning where a larger segment of the market have to be targeted. This will contribute to understanding whether the personnel are acquainted with the challenges of the market and whether the employees are inclined to accept the new management strategy.
Dare and then just Do it!’ Well. Overall conclusion The dissertation achieved the overall aim and the stated objectives. However. still developing and opened. What I have tried to do is to stimulate some thoughts about the future management strategies of theme parks. Certainly. the discussed issues proved that this topic is debatable. And now.VI. A lot of questions were investigated and answered. I have done it! 77 . I could smile and remember Walt Disney’s words: ‘Dream. Believe.5. when it is completed. At the beginning. there are a lot of things that can be added. the task of writing this dissertation seemed so difficult and almost impossible.
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APPENDICES 83 .
C. accessed on 27.2006 84 .Appendix 1: Euro Disney’s attendance and revenues figures for the period 2003 – 2005 Key Figures Statistics Key Figures Statistics Source: Euro Disney S.07.com/en/0222_3.A.php.. ‘Key figures – statistics’ available on http://www.eurodisney.
p. 201) 85 .Appendix 2: Distribution of theme parks in Western Europe Source: Holloway (2002.
201) 86 . p.Appendix 3: Distribution of water parks in Western Europe Source: adaptation by the author from Holloway (2002.
php. accessed on 27. ‘Key figures – statistics’ available on http://www.2006 87 ..Appendix 4: Euro Disney’s breakdown of transportation used by guests in 2005 Key Figures Statistics Source: Euro Disney S.com/en/0222_3.07.eurodisney.A.C.
.07.C.php.Appendix 5: Euro Disney’s attendance and revenues figures for the period 2004 – 2006 Key Figures Statistics Key Figures Statistics Source: Euro Disney S. ‘Key figures – statistics’ available on http://www.com/en/0222_3.A.2007 88 .eurodisney. accessed on 29.
Appendix 6: Map of Action Aquapark.bg 89 . Sunny Beach.aquapark. Bulgaria Source: Action Aquapark’s web site: www.
Appendix 7: Quantitative research of customers of Action Aquapark. July 2006 Source: GfK Research Company. 2006 GfK Bulgaria Custom Research „Аквапарк – Слънчев Бряг“ Юли 2006 GfK Custom Research The knowledge you need to make successful business decisions 1 Growth from Knowledge Quantitative research Action Aquapark July 2006 GfK Bulgaria Custom Research „Аквапарк – Слънчев Бряг“ Юли 2006 Table of content 1 2 3 4 Aims and characteristics of the research Attendance of the Aquapark Reasons for not visiting the park Conclusions 2 90 . July.
Aquapark’s attendance in the period 2005 – 2006. Reasons for not visiting Action Aquapark. 4 Aims of research: To be defined: Holidays to the Southern seaside.GfK Bulgaria Custom Research „Аквапарк – Слънчев Бряг“ Юли 2006 1 Aims and Characteristics of the Research GfK Bulgaria Custom Research „Аквапарк – Слънчев Бряг“ Юли 2006 Aims of the research Marketing aim: To be determined the Aquapark’s attendance and the reasons for not visiting it. GfK Bulgaria Custom Research „Аквапарк – Слънчев Бряг“ Юли 2006 Characteristics of the research Type of research Coverage of the research Quantitative research Omnibus National representative research of the population aged 15+ Method of casual pace (with last birthday) 5 Method of research Sample size Sample: n=1000 Method of collecting data Personal interviews at the house of the respondent Period of research July 2006 91 .
0% 11.0% 10.1% 7.0% 8.2% 34. N = 249 А1.4% NO 75.0% 10.7% 10.GfK Bulgaria Custom Research „Аквапарк – Слънчев Бряг“ Юли 2006 Sample structure 6 Representative sample Age Sex 51.7% 11. Did you visit the Aquapark in Sunny Beach in 2005 or 2006? 92 .8% Region 48. Did you visit the southern seaside in 2005 or 2006? А2.9 % 50% 40% 30% 20.0% 14.7% 11.1 % YES 24.0% 8.0% Men Women 15.3% Bourgas Lovech City of Sofia GfK Bulgaria Custom Research „Аквапарк – Слънчев Бряг“ Юли 2006 2 Action Aquapark Attendance GfK Bulgaria Custom Research „Аквапарк – Слънчев Бряг“ Юли 2006 Aquapark’s attendance Holidays to the southern seaside Aquapark’s attendance Haskovo Plovdiv 15-19 20-25 26-35 36-45 46-55 Over 56 Montana Sofia Region Varna Ruse 8 100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 79.6% 20% 10% 0% No YES Base: All respondents N =1000 Base: Respondents who have visited the southern seaside in 2005 or 2006.0% 15.5% 17.0% 17.
Did you visit the Aquapark in Sunny Beach in 2005 or 2006? GfK Bulgaria Custom Research „Аквапарк – Слънчев Бряг“ Юли 2006 Aquapark’s attendance .5% No Yes Base: Residents of Bourgas region N = 99 А2.age 11 Much higher than the average А2. Did you visit the Aquapark in Sunny Beach in 2005 or 2006? GfK Bulgaria Custom Research „Аквапарк – Слънчев Бряг“ Юли 2006 Aquapark’s attendance – residents of the city of Bourgas 10 100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% 75. Did you visit the Aquapark in Sunny Beach in 2005 or 2006? 93 .GfK Bulgaria Custom Research „Аквапарк – Слънчев Бряг“ Юли 2006 Aquapark’s attendance – residents of Bourgas region 9 100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% 83.5% 16.4% No Yes Base: Residents of the city of Bourgas N = 52 А2.6% 24.
9% 9.7% Residents of the city of Bourgas (N=39) I had no time I am not interested I have never heard of it I am old for that No specific reason А3.1% 7.GfK Bulgaria Custom Research „Аквапарк – Слънчев Бряг“ Юли 2006 3 Reasons for not Visiting the Park GfK Bulgaria Custom Research „Аквапарк – Слънчев Бряг“ Юли 2006 Reasons for not visiting Action Aquapark Base: respondents who did not visit the water park 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% 13 I spent my holiday in another region It is expensive 20.2% 56.5% 58.1% 16.8% 17. Would you please state which are the reasons for not visiting Action Aquapark? GfK Bulgaria Custom Research „Аквапарк – Слънчев Бряг“ Юли 2006 4 Conclusions 94 .4% 0.2% 10.4% 0.6% 3.8% People who visited the southern seaside (N=198) 4.
Generally. It is expensive. I am not interested. GfK Bulgaria Custom Research „Аквапарк – Слънчев Бряг“ Юли 2006 Recommendations More intensive communication aiming at attracting the local population. I have never heard of it. people point out: They had holiday in another remoter region. respondents find difficult to define a specific reason for not visiting the park. 16 To be emphasized on promotions of package prices which seem to be more appealing for customers. As main reasons. GfK Bulgaria Custom Research „Аквапарк – Слънчев Бряг“ Юли 2006 To understand your customers is the key to success ! Growth from Knowledge 95 . Customers of Action Aquapark are mainly young people at the age of 25 with higher income. 15 About ¼ of the residents of the city of Bourgas have visited the Aquapark in 2005/2006. The main reasons for them for not visiting the park are: It is expensive.GfK Bulgaria Custom Research „Аквапарк – Слънчев Бряг“ Юли 2006 Conclusions About 1/5 of the respondents who visited the southern seaside in 2005 / 2006 have visited Action Aquapark. I had no time.
Appendix 8: Questionnaire distributed among Action Aquapark’s customers
Dear guests, You are spending a nice and amusing day in Action Aquapark. We are very interested in your experiences in our water park. Between the different slides, while sunbathing, we would appreciate if you could spend few minutes in sharing your opinion with us. Darina Suleva from Bulgaria is doing a research study on the water park industry as part of her Master course in European Tourism Management in Bournemouth University, UK. This research is primarily based on water parks’ visitors, to see what their experience in Action Aquapark is. Besides the parents’ opinion we would also like to know what the children think: ‘If the children are happy, we are happy’. Isn’t that often the case? It would be preferable when more questionnaires per family are being filled out (in case of more children). Please, help us so we can make your action world more amusing! Many thanks on behalf of Action Aquapark management! We wish you exciting and unforgettable memories in Action Aquapark!
Name (optional): ……………………………………………………………… Age: ………… Sex (circle the correct answer): M F Education: …………………………………………………………………… Profession: …………………………………………………………………… Nationality: …………………………………………………………………… Where do you stay (which hotel and resort)? ………………………………… Family: young (age between 20-35) mature (36-45) older (46-65) Children aged below 12 in household: ………………………………………… 1. For how many days are you already in Bulgaria? 1) 1-3 days 2) 4-6 days 3) More (please state) ………………………….. 2. With whom are you here? …………………………………………………….. 3. What are your activities during your holiday? 1) Going to the beach/pool 2) Visiting historical and cultural places of interest 3) Bars and discos crawl 4) Other (please state) ……………………………………………………….................... ...………………………………………………………………… 4. Why did you decide to visit a water park? 1) I looked for something entertaining and emotional 2) I am bored of the beach 3) I like those type of attractions 4) Because the child/children wanted 5. Have you ever been to a water park before? 1) No 2) Yes (where) …………………………………………………………………… 6. What is most important for you to spend a nice and happy day in a water park? ……………………………………………………………………….. …………………………………………………………………………… ……………………………………………………………………………
7. What do you associate a water park with? 1) A place for children 2) A place for amusement with friends 3) A place to escape from the ordinary world 4) A place full of emotions, fun and entertainment 8. What did you expect when you first have heard Action Aquapark? What do you associate the name with? …………………………………………………………………………… …………………………………………………………………………… …………………………………………………………………………… 9. Have you visited Action Aquapark before? 1) No 2) Yes. How many times? ………………………………………… 10. Why did you choose Action Aquapark? 1) It is near Sunny Beach 2) It is easy accessible 3) Because it offers high-adrenalin slides 4) It was recommended by the tour operator 5) It was recommended by friends 6) I liked the image of the Aquapark in the brochure 7) I liked the image of the Aquapark in internet 8) Other …………………………………………………………… 11. How do you know about Action Aquapark? 1) From the tour operator/ travel agency 2) From the hotel reception 3) From brochures 4) From other advertisements (please state) …………………………………………………………………… 5) From friends’ recommendations 6) From internet 12. What would make you come again if you have the opportunity? 1) Lower price 2) Higher quality of service 3) New attraction 4) An educational attraction (small museum, animals show or exhibition) 5) Other new experience (please state) …………………………………………………………………… 13. How would you describe your experience on the rides? 1) Excellent 2) Good 3) Fair 4) Poor
Would you recommend the park to someone else? 1) Yes 2) No (Why?) …………………………………………………………. …………………………………………………………………… 19. …………………………………………………………………… 18.14. comments and recommendations that would help the management to improve the Aquapark’s service? …………………………………………………………………………… …………………………………………………………………………… …………………………………………………………………………… …………………………………………………………………………… …………………… Thank you very much for your cooperation! 99 . for example if it was possible? 1) Yes 2) No (Why?) ………………………………………………………….……………………………………………………… 17. Overall how would you rate Action Aquapark? 1) Excellent 2) Good 3) Fair 4) Poor 16. Any suggestions.. Did the park fulfill your expectations? 1) Yes 2) No (Why?) ………………………………………………………… …………. What did you like best? ……………………………………………………………………………… ……………………………………………………………………………… ……………………………………………………………………………… 15. Would you buy in advance before coming to Bulgaria a ticket for the Aquapark through internet..
Every day in the summer we reach this limit. They could make lobby (to change the law).Appendix 9: Interview with Paulo Severino. Algarve. Water parks should be considered as the safest place to go during the holiday. Experience economy. 5. virtual reality)? Where do you gain your information from? In the law there is a limit of the number of guests which a park could serve for a day. Three years ago each park had to present a report about injures that occurred inside. Water parks work only in the high season. Nowadays the difficult thing is not to reach high level but how you will manage to maintain it. There is lack of association of those attractions in Portugal. Besides. The ministry called them 100 . 2. If we have the this permission for more people we will definitely consider attractions with new technologies. manager of Aqua Show Water Park in Portugal Interview – Aqua Show. We are trying now to have this number reconsidered by the government. 3. Do you think that there are many parks in so small area like the Algarve? One is never enough. How do you see the future of the industry? In the future I consider there will have a shift from water to more thematic parks. queue management. Competition is always good. Do you think that the competition outside the industry is becoming fiercer? Portugal is not advertised properly. Portugal Name: Paulo Severino Position: Park Manager Date: 18-05-2005 1. Now I see a challenge in the Algarve’s parks and the tourism as a whole – something has to be done for increasing visitors in the low season. 4. Quarteira. Are you familiar with the new technologies (entrance. What trends do you see in the water park industry in Europe? In 1997 the Portuguese government introduced a law for the water parks. We are not advertising the industry as a whole which is a big problem. people want more emotions and we are considering such attractions which will give us the opportunity for a different diversification and it will help us for working also in the winter.
But I think that there are tourists for everyone. The region didn’t change the last years as a whole and that resulted in less quality of tourists. What are your competitive advantages? We offer toys for the kids. 7. It reached 40% of the ticket price and the parks are continuing to increase this percent. the seasonality. Here in the Algarve there is also one unspoken problem.‘accidents’ and gave the information to the newspapers. 6. 2) The Big One 3) Then Zoomarine 4) Isla Magica – just a little bit Outside the water park industry: 1) Safari excursions 2) Boats and fishing 3) Bullfight excursions 8. in Aqua Show is the biggest pool with waves in Portugal. Now it has a new owner. there is much building of bars and restaurants. The sad think is that the park still has a bad image because of the past problems. we have high levels of safety and security. In this way all the industry suffered. Another problem that we have is the limit of people that is determined by the government and of course. The tourist product of the Algarve is changing. What are they working for? Water parks are not organized and tour operators are dictating the rules. Do you experience increase of the number of visitors from year to year or the opposite? What are the trends the last 3-5 years? Algarve made several main mistakes: the architecture and the construction were not planned. 101 . Which are your main competitors – in the industry and outside the industry? In the industry. There is a commercial war among the parks for the tour operators’ commission. also the white slide which has a fall is unique. And may be the most important – we have been introducing new animals since 2002 which diversifies our product and attracts more people. they are: 1) Slide & Splash which have more people than us. What are your major problems? How do you manage them? The park bankrupted few years ago. 9.
How many employees do you have? We have 16 lifeguards – fulltime. also the children pool and pool with waves are key attraction. What is the number of visitors per season? In 2003 they were 98.10. Twenty percent of all the tourists came by tour operators. 18. they have hired another company to manage the park. As I said there will be a new rollercoaster in August and the White snake slide in June or July.100-1. etc. In few monts we will introduce a new roller coaster. In 2004 – 114. When was the park opened? The park exists from 1991 then it bankrupted. homes. Do you plan to construct a new attraction in the near future? In what period of time do you introduce a new attraction? We plan to expand the area to 70. What is the size of the park? Water surface and public areas altogether form 42. Which is your key attraction? We have the White slide which is unique in Europe. because they couldn’t follow the law. In 1999 the new owner came and the park re-opened in 2001. We have about 12 maintenance workers and 30 bus drivers.m.200 people.500. 16.000sq.300 people. in May the maximum visitors that we have is 1. Who is the owner? A Portuguese family company which main business is constructing hotels.816 people. 15. The F&B department has 12 people who are managed by the park’s managers. 14.m. What is the maximum number of visitors per day? In the middle of July usually we have around 3000 but according to the law at one moment we should not exceed 2.000sq. Next year our intention is also to build a hotel. We would like to change it to 4. 13. What is the operating time each year? From May till the end of October. That makes a total of 80 people.550 people. 17. 102 . In August we double them. There are also parttime life guards who work in weekends and holidays. 11. 12.
It will include meal. It was also a PR event which showed that the management of the park is directly concerned for the tourists safety. What are your strengths? And unique selling points? Diversification. questionnaires. strategic goals of the company/park? Safety is first! We want the park to be known as the place to go in Portugal and we will make this with the introduction of the water-coaster. 23. mission. Do you have animals? Why do the other parks combine the slides with animals? Yes! We are the only water park in the Algarve which offers animals together with high-trill attractions. 2005 we plan to have a huge disco party. Do you make any market analysis. Last year we distributed ours and found out two main things: People were complaining about the restaurants which were given on a Tourists wanted a roller-coaster because there is no in the Algarve and now we concession. Now we manage them and we have no complaints. 21. We have the biggest wave pool in Portugal. 22. dance music. The national institutions – police. To increase the repeat visitors because now they are estimated to 20%. safety. 2002) for four minutes in Portugal. fire-brigade and the health institution were involved. attractions. We were adopting questionnaires in the past. on 6th August. We also consider the idea of a typical Algarve dinner and night catering to the elder tourists. are constructing it.19. To organise events in the evenings – for example. What are your marketing objectives? To increase the off-peak attendance. competitive comparison? We do not have any information about competitors. This enables in theming the park which we consider very important. We were the first water park which made an evacuation (11th August. show with actors and singers. 20. 103 . What is the vision. not higher.
27. otherwise. national/regional press. in the supermarkets)? In the high season we use TV commercials. However. Germans. it is not legal. Is there a change of the markets’ preferences the last 3-5 years? Yes. outdoor. Our busses are also important channel of advertisement. 15€ – children – to (4-14 years) and seniors (65+) free – younger than 4 years We have one fee for the whole park. mini-golf and of course. French in August. The park is positioned as a family park and hence we have mostly families 26. Do you have special PR person? How do you develop the PR of the park? Yes! 104 . guide books. 25. Dutch. What is your pricing policy? Each year the admission fee increases. This park has more than others Portuguese visitors.5€. What is your promotion? On what does the budget for it depend (% of sales)? When is it determined? The strategy is determined each year before the opening of the park in the winter. What kind of advertisement/promotion do you use (TV. Which Are you target markets? Nationality – British. first of all people want more emotions and excitement which results in completely new attractions. Of course. This year (2005) they are: 18€ – adult. Besides there are more families visiting Algarve. transport. we compare our prices with competitors’ but informally. Last year (2004) the prices were 17€ and 13. 29. We have also multi visit cards and offer discounts in the low season – May and October. We have outdoor signs and make promotions in the supermarkets. Additionally tourists are paying only for playing billiard. We don’t have different prices for a full and a half day entrance. radio advertisements. We make small announcements in the national and regional press. Spanish and Portuguese in the high season. we do not have enough money. 28.24. video games. souvenirs.
travel agencies. How do you reach the customers? How do you sell the park? Through hotels (which estimates to 25% of total visits). tour operators and our own promoters (they distribute brochures collect the money from our partners). How do you position the park? A family park. 31. the government introduced a law for the water parks. 32. What is the national/regional government doing to help you? After a terrible accident in Lisbon in 1997. Are you a member of an organization/association? How does it help you? No 33.30. 105 .
A company’s investigation reveals that this is clients’ expectation. manager of Aqualand Water Park in Portugal Interview – Aqualand( former The Big One) – Alcantarilha. queue management. virtual reality)? Where do you gain your information from? Our policy is to use more traditional attractions and not the latest innovations. 4. Are you familiar with the new technologies (entrance. Also we offer the biggest number of attractions. May and September – those are the months when each park needs more visitors. Also two of the other parks: partly Zoomarine. 6. People here are not acquainted with new alternatives for spending free time and hence nobody is offering such. Our unique attractions are: the largest Camikadze slide – ‘Banzai’ and the only semi Olympic pool. it is not really competition. What trends do you see in the water park industry in Europe? The situation is stable. Portugal Name: Maria José Anastácio Position: Park Manager Date: 19-05-2005 1. 5. The group which owns the park – Grupo Aspro Ocio – is buying constantly new theme parks and is expanding each year. 3.Appendix 10: Interview with Maria José Anastácio. Now it owns 25 units. the main problem is seasonality. Do you think that the competition outside the industry is becoming fiercer? Not here in Portugal or at least not in Algarve. but it doesn’t offer much slides and high-thrill attractions and 106 . How do you see the future of the industry? Concerning our park. 7. What are your competitive advantages? We are more spacious than the others. 2. Each park has 2000-3000 visitors during the high season. Do you think that there are many parks in so small area like the Algarve? No. I don’t consider that the number of parks is increasing. in Portugal. I think it is stable. Algarve. However. April. Which are your main competitors – in the industry and outside the industry? The beach is the most important competitor.
11. Also. Who is the owner? Grupo Aspro Ocio. When was the park opened? It was built in 1985 and opened in 1986. because after several days at the beach at this hot weather people prefer the cooler weather there. Moreover. And Scandinavians which were very important market are significantly decreasing. Seasonality is also a problem that I have already mentioned. You experience decrease of the number of visitors from year to year. What is the maximum number of visitors for a day? 3200 – 3500 visitors.Slide&Splash – the nearest water park which is the biggest in the Algarve and has the same area of influence. 10. a Spanish company. What is the operating time each year? 2 May – 23 September 14. competition. Another issue is tour operators. the tourists are changing. lack of tourists. 16. What are the trends the last 3-5 years? We witness lower quality tourists. In May and September – 70 In the high season we have 43 lifeguards. 12. 9. 107 . tour operators)? How do you manage them? Tourism in the Algarve is decreasing and I consider that number of clients is going to be our major problem. 15. What are your major problems (ex. 8. The new tourists coming to Portugal has less spending power. What is the size of the park? 60 000 sq. I would add all the excursions to the mountains. The tourist product of the Algarve is changing. How many employees do you have? During the high season they are 100. But I don’t think of alternative competitors outside the tourism industry. they have the clients are they can convince them where to go. What is the number of visitors per season? 150 000 visitors (average during the last 4 years).m 13.
the attitude of the employees. competitive comparison? Yes. one is free. mission. 20. What are the vision. animals always attract more children. On its basis we made evaluation of ourselves. 21. We are also the biggest park and we are in the middle of Algarve. we make questionnaires which reveal that tourists like The Big One more than the other parks. For that reason we introduced an incentive tool – if 7 people come. price and promotion. Anyway. how to attract tourists from the more passive areas. 18. Do you plan to construct a new attraction in the near future? In what period of time do you introduce a new attraction? The last one was built in 2002 – the semi Olympic pool. So our position is another strong point that we have. Another advantage which we have is that we are part of a big group which gives us more resources and international experience. questionnaires. Two years ago a research of competitors was conducted investigating products. Do you make any market analysis.17. promotional campaign and indication that it was effective. Which is your key attraction? The Camicadze slide ‘Banzai’. Do you have animals? Why do the other parks combine the slides with animals? No. But we use the frog as a symbol of the park. We offer quality service provided by motivated team for our clients to be satisfied and to come back. we do not offer animals as additional attraction because we don’t consider them important. 22. strategic goals of the company/park? Offer entertainment in safe centres and respect the environment. But this research was done for the company before buying the park. What are your marketing objectives? To increase the number of visitors especially by attracting repeat visits from the local population. In the annual budget from the company we have some goals stated which has to be achieved – number of tourists. 23. We do not consider to organize something in the evenings for additional 108 . In 2007 we plan to introduce a lazy river. 19. What are your strengths? And unique selling points? We are the first park built in the Algarve.
27. 29. teenagers Families – between families and young non-married (average 27 year old) 26. What kind of advertisement/promotion do you use? We do our adverts in the national press. They are short stay tourists – average 6 days of holiday. 28. at the beach and in the streets of the resorts. sun. Do you have special PR person? How do you develop the PR of the park? We have PR Manager. Which Are your target markets? Nationality – British. Spanish. We have a tourist card (3 visits of 4 people for 3 weeks). What is your pricing policy? Our prices are: 16.50 € for an adult 13. We don’t compare with competitor’s prices. Is there a change of the markets’ preferences the last 3-5 years? No. few Germans Age – not old. mostly foreigners. retried people (65+) free – under 4 years We don’t offer different prices in the morning and in the afternoon. The Group invest approximately 4% of this budget. the others are rented) which go to all the main resorts in the Algarve are also our promoters.25 € for a child (4-10 years). We want to grab the attention of the anonymous client who has no channel to come to the park. 24. 109 . And if it is a bad year. We have outdoor advertisement also. We invest everything else. hotel receptions and in the streets.50-4. people want always the same: fun.50€. space and speed. we have to invest more and not the Group. We have one fee for the whole park and for the whole day. Dutch. 25.attendance. in the supermarkets. Portuguese. We offer certain discounts in the supermarkets. They cost 3. The buses (we own some of them. Additionally we have a commercial department – 6 people in May and in the high season – 5 more. There are many of them. What is your promotion? What does the budget for it depend on (% of sales)? When is it determined? At the beginning of the season the Group determines a certain budget for each park. Scandinavians.
certainly. we are not. Ours is 2. Are you a member of an organization/association? How does it help you? No. 33.100 people. in accordance with a park’s size you are obliged to have a sign at the entrance of the maximum capacity the park could serve. the safest! 110 . And the institutions are checking whether a park has more than this number of customers very often during the high season. Tour operators are of course another channel but their commissions grew more than ever. We emphasise on publicity. They take from each park 40-45% of the ticket price!!! 31. In Portugal. For example. How do you reach the customers? How do you sell the park? The hotel receptions and some shops are selling our tickets. May be the group is but I don’t know. How do you position the park? The biggest. the best.30. What is the national/regional government doing to help you? They have introduced a law which acquires from us things from various aspects. 32. this park is not.
We intend to have more animals. There should have geographical distribution. 7. How do you see the future of the industry? People want to build a new park. sea lions. etc. What are your major problems? How do you manage them? We don’t have problems with competition and tour operators. marketing manager of Zoomarine Park in Portugal Interview – Zoomarine. 2. parrots. Albufeira. Which are your main competitors – in the industry and outside the industry? Our competitors are the Lisbon Zoo which has dolphins. People (tourists and locals) have not enough money to buy more than two attraction sites while on a holiday. And we are always one of those two! 111 . Portugal Name: Jose Bento Position: Marketing manager Date: 20-05-2005 1. Are you familiar with the new technologies (entrance. Algarve. 4. virtual reality)? Where do you gain your information from? No. I think that there are too many water parks. 5. But there are not enough tourists in the Algarve. What trends do you see in the water park industry in Europe? I don’t see anything new. Two of them are very close to each other and fight (The Big One and Slide and Splash). 3.Appendix 11: Interview with Jose Bento. 6. Do you think that the competition outside the industry is becoming fiercer? No opinion. What are your competitive advantages? We have animals and offer various shows. queue management. Also a new competitor is the water park Aqua Show because it offers now birds shows and plans to bring dolphins. Here the Algarve Zoo is. no slides and technologies. but … not really because it doesn’t have such animals. 8. Do you think that there are many parks in so small area like the Algarve? Yes. We cater mostly to educational groups.
9.000sq. What is the operating time each year? The park is opened all year-round. Also we are constructing new interaction area and will introduce more animals. 18.500 people per day. 13. Now tourists have changed and stay for shorter period 5-7 day. When was the park opened? 3 of August.000 people per day. 15. in July and September they are about 20% of all the customers which accounts to 1. We looked for new attractions in rd 112 . What is the number of visitors per season? 450. 14. Do you plan to construct a new attraction in the near future? In what period of time do you introduce a new attraction? We plan to develop a Biology Museum in the future. from 10.00/20. Which is your key attraction? The dolphin show. What is the maximum number of visitors per day? Thirty percent of all the visitors are coming in August and then we have approximately 8. 12. Who is the owner? One Portuguese and two Argentinean men. the parking area. 7 days of the week. the golf courses and historical attractions. How many employees do you have? 200 permanent staff and 300 seasonal jobs 17. and still not developed area which will be finished in 2 years (in 2007).00 in the summer. Also tour operators don’t know exactly how many people will come for a season. The tourist product of the Algarve is changing.m – that includes all the area – the park. 10. Now Algarve offers as attractions the Zoomarine. What is the size of the park? 200. 11.00 till 18. 16.000 people. 1991. What are the trends the last 35 years? Five years ago Algarve was seen as sun and beach destination and people tended to stay at least 2 weeks.
113 .Italy last year and 3 years ago. the park as a whole. We aim at 600 000 visitors for a year. When the construction works in the additional area are finished. From those analyses the managers decided to change the restaurants place and to develop there the swimming pool area. retried people (65+) Free – under 5 years We don’t offer different prices in the morning and in the afternoon. We offer certain discounts only for big groups. Which are you target markets? Nationality . weddings. the restaurants.British. What are your strengths? And unique selling points? Our unique selling point is the dolphins – 80-90% of people are coming for the dolphins and the birds also. 22. 20. only we have dolphins because it is very difficult to have them as an attraction in a water park. travel agencies and tour operators. Dutch . However. 24. We consider also offering the park as a place for organizing business events. What are your marketing objectives? Our objective is to increase the repeat visitors. We have one fee for the whole park and for the whole day.90 € for an adult 12.20 € for a child (5-10 years). mission. Russians. Each year we make something new (attractions or shows). Do you make any market analysis. questionnaires. 23. Why do the other parks combine the slides with animals? When Zoomarine opened the other parks had already been established. 19. strategic goals of the company/park? Each year we have an increase of visitors. we expect the visitors to visit at least two times the park in order to be able to see everything. not Germans. etc. What is your pricing policy? Our prices are the same all the year and includes a full-day visit: 19. We have free cards for the employees of the hotels. the interaction areas. We make different questionnaires for each department/attraction – for the shows. 25. 21. competitive comparison? We are not investigating competitors. Spanish. What are the vision.
We have busses in all the Algarve which costs 4 € for an adult. 33. What is your promotion? What does the budget for it depend on (% of sales)? When is it determined? Our promotion is planned for the whole year. Do you have special PR person? How do you develop the PR of the park? The marketing department. Is there a change of the markets’ preferences the last 3-5 years? Yes! 27. We use also the national and regional press but no magazines. 31. In your brochure you are using the many ‘experience’ words? Who is the creator of the brochure? The marketing department. How do you reach the customers? How do you sell the park? We are in very good relations with the tour operators and not with the hotels. What kind of advertisement/promotion do you use (TV. We have cooperated with the University of Algarve. Tour operators are our main channel of distribution. They are not doing any promotion but they help us with the animals. national/regional press. 32. 34. They include Zoomarine in their brochures providing information. outdoor. 29. 26. A theme park for education entertainment for all the family! 114 . Are you a member of an organization/association? How does it help you? We are a member of the European Park Association and IAAPA. 30. How do you position the park? It’s a theme park with mammals. What is the national/regional government doing to help you? Yes. guide books. Also the local council looks at us as a good project. transport. It is mainly oriented to the hotels in the region and to the Spanish market. 28. our ticket office sells 60% of all the tickets. the government is helping us. Additionally. in the supermarkets)? We use TV commercials in the summer. However.- School groups from Algarve and Alentejo. We do not distribute leaflets and we do not promote discounts. we offer one ticket including transportation and entrance.
Appendix 12: Interview with Ana Tendinha, marketing manager of Slide and Splash Water Park in Portugal
Interview – Slide & Splash, Lagoa, Portugal
Name: Ana Tendinha Position: Marketing/Commercial Director Date: 21-05-2005
1. What trends do you see in the water park industry in Europe? In Portugal I think there is evolution in the industry. It is increasing. But last year tourism wasn’t good. 2. How do you see the future of the industry? I see good perspectives. 3. Are you familiar with the new technologies (entrance, queue management, virtual reality)? Where do you gain your information from? No. Only in the restaurants, managers are familiar with them. 4. Experience economy. Do you think that the competition outside the industry is becoming fiercer? No. 5. Do you think that there are many parks in so small area like the Algarve? They are just enough. 6. What are your competitive advantages? Quality and innovation in slides. We are improving the area all the time, for now – only its appearance. 7. Which are your main competitors – in the industry and outside the industry? Aqua Show – they are increasing the level of their management. Also Aqualand is a competitor, because they are improving their current attraction. 8. What are your major problems (ex. lack of tourists, competition, tour operators)? How do you manage them? The competitors seem to be a problem mainly because they make secret discounts which action is not loyal competition. And for that reason tour operators want very high commissions.
9. The tourist product of the Algarve is changing. Do you experience increase of the number of visitors from year to year or the opposite? What are the trends the last 3-5 years? The product of the water parks is changing – it’s becoming bigger, but with no quality. Also we witness worse quality of tourists (paying for packages and allinclusive). But I believe it is changing for better. Tourists choose only one park or at least their children. Obviously everything depends on the development of the European economy. 10. When was the park opened? In 1986. 11. Who is the owner? Two Portuguese men. 12. What is the size of the park? 85.000sq.m. 13. What is the operating time each year? One week before Easter till 31st October. The working time is from 10 till 17/18 in August. 14. What is the number of visitors per season? Approximately 300 000 visitors. 15. What is the maximum number of visitors per day? 3 800 people which is in accordance with the limits exposed by the law. This law determines the limit in accordance with the size of the park. Each park is obliged to have a counting machine at the entrance and the authorities are checking this machine. 16. How many employees do you have? Now (May) – 100 employees, in the high season they are becoming 150. 17. Which is your key attraction? The Black hole slide is the key attraction. It is only one in Portugal and it is here. It is dark inside and you hear screams. Also the Race Slide is important attraction.
18. Do you plan to construct a new attraction in the near future? In what period of time do you introduce a new attraction? Yes, we plan to have a new attraction in the next 3 years. We constructed a kids’ area three years ago and a swimming pool. 19. Do you have animals? Why do the other parks combine the slides with animals? We have only parrots for making photographs. 20. What are your strengths? And unique selling points? Quality and innovation. Also our distribution system is very well organized – we have 1000 points where the park is offered. 21. What is the vision, mission, strategic goals of the company/park? We target at more clients. We have summer promotions in the shopping centers and we are their sponsor. This positions the park in people’s minds. We have to do it because the others are doing it. 22. Do you make any market analysis, questionnaires, competitive comparison? We made questionnaires before several years. The last three years we meet with potential visitors before the season. 23. What are your marketing objectives? To increase the number of visitors during the low season. Tour operators were organizing night shows here but it was 15 years ago. We have many repeat visitors which is nice. 24. What is your pricing policy? Our prices now are: 16€ – adult 13€ – child (5-10); seniors (65+) free – under 5 years Tourists are paying additionally the sunshades and the lockers, they also pay a deposit for the sun chairs. We are going to introduce multi visit cards next year. I would like to add that in Augusts there are not so many group discounts. 25. Which Are you target markets? Nationality – British, Dutch, Germans – no, in the weekends Spanish and Portuguese.
Do you have special PR person? How do you develop the PR of the park? I am that person. There are even no signs of the park on the highway. hotel receptions and separate selling points. 118 . What is the national/regional government doing to help you? Nothing. What kind of advertisement/promotion do you use? We use guide books. What is your promotion? On what does the budget for it depend (% of sales)? When is it determined? No answer. 28. outdoor advertisement and the transport. 26. How do you position the park? The best park in the Algarve. Is there a change of the markets’ preferences the last 3-5 years? No. 30. How do you reach the customers? How do you sell the park? Through tour operators. 31. 27. 32. 29.Mostly families. We aim first at quality and security and then the slides. Are you a member of an organization/association? How does it help you? WWA 33. The children area is unique because the parents can stay very near to their children. rent-a-car companies.
2.Appendix 13: Interview with Mila Razsolkova. The proximity of Aqua Paradise (10km away from here) is influencing attendance in both parks. Do you think that the competition outside the industry is becoming fiercer? Definitely. It includes new attractions and completely new strategies. The queue management is something we need to introduce soon as it appears to be a problem in Action Aquapark. Do you think that there are many parks in so small area like the Black Sea coastline? There are different opinions in the issue. What trends do you see in the water park industry in Europe? Water parks in Europe are becoming more themed and managers introduce many hitech attractions. 119 . queue management. Each company aims at satisfying consumers’ needs of experiences and interaction. Sunny Beach. How do you see the future of the industry? The rapid development of the industry suggests that competition moves to different levels. Due to lack of finances (all the parks are built with bank loans) Bulgarian water parks are not able to invest in innovative attractions. Bulgaria Name: Mila Razsolkova Position: Marketing manager Date: 26-07-2006 1. 3. The price competition is not important any more. I personally think that there should be one park for several resorts. as a member of WWO we receive each month their magazines where all the latest innovations are presented. virtual reality)? Where do you gain your information from? Yes. Are you familiar with the new technologies (entrance. Experience economy. 4. 5. In Bulgaria this industry started its development two years ago. marketing manager of Action Aquapark in Bulgaria Interview – Action Aquaprk.
Which are your main competitors – in the industry and outside the industry? The main competitor is Aqua Paradise. 8. 10. What is the size of the park? 24. 9. 7. What are your competitive advantages? We have the previous experience. the other water park nearby.m.00 till 19. from 10. What are your major problems (ex. The last years British and Scandinavians are significantly increasing. We had operational consultants – Sim Leisure Consultants which taught us to the foreign experience. Sunny beach and the near resorts attract same tourists for years. When was the park opened? 13th July.00. 120 . For the three years of operating we have almost paid our bank loans and soon we will be able to consider the introduction of a modern attraction. I think that for the attraction industry this trend is advantageous because both of the nations are keener on amusement and excitement. Do you experience increase of the number of visitors from year to year or the opposite? What are the trends the last 3-5 years? Three years ago Germans were the main market for Bulgaria.6. 12. We have to find something new which will attract those tourists again. All our lifeguards were trained by them also. But even at the beach there are so many interaction activities offered that the beach itself could be considered as major competitor. lack of tourists. We are the first water park in Bulgaria. Who is the owner? A Bulgarian company. People have visited our park already several times and they know everything here. 2003. What is the operating time each year? The park is opened from end of May till beginning of September. tour operators)? How do you manage them? Our main concerns are the repeat visitors. competition. 13. 11.000sq.
they are a bit scary.14. which are the highest and the most vertical in Bulgaria. Honestly. 18. What is your pricing policy? We have one ticket price which includes the entrance fee. What are your marketing objectives? Of course. 16. quality.14€. Do you plan to construct a new attraction in the near future? In what period of time do you introduce a new attraction? Next year we will start the season with a new Racing Slide. Additionally. 22. strategic goals of the company/park? The most important strategic goal is to keep and expand our market share by offering safety. we organise each week Scandinavian foam party – a night disco party. questionnaires. The price depends not on the age of children but on their height because certain slides are not appropriate for shorter children. We have just ordered to a marketing company to conduct a market research on the local population. What is the maximum number of visitors per day? 2.000 15. half day . The other park has the same so that will not give us a strong step ahead. parking. What is the vision. and other corporate and leisure events. we aim at increasing the number of visitors and especially the repeat visitors. How many employees do you have? 120 employees. We have full day and half day tickets. mission. From the beginning we are making questionnaires because customers could tell us exactly where we need to improve. hospitality and fun. Which is your key attraction? We have four Kamikaze slides. 17.30m – full day . because our direct competitor has just appeared in the business. The prices are: Over 1. competitive comparison? Competitive comparison – still no. 20. sun chairs and the usage of rubber rafts.500 visitors. What is the number of visitors per season? Approximately 180. This is the first new attraction from the opening of the park.10€. sunshades. 19. 121 . Do you make any market analysis. 21.
There are no standards. How do you reach the customers? How do you sell the park? Our channels include: hotel receptions.full day . Bulgarians. 26. What is your promotion? On what does the budget for it depend (% of sales)? When is it determined? Our promotional and advertisement budget is determined in March-April for the following summer season. 23. How do you position the park? Action Aquapark offers water attractions for each taste and age.5€. 25. 27. management policies and latest news in the industry. Serbians.Between 0. Do you have special PR person? How do you develop the PR of the park? The PR campaign of Action Aquapark is planned and realized by the marketing department. I think that the development of the water park industry in Bulgaria is and answer of the customers’ demand for such kind of entertainment. tour operators. 29. travel agencies and tourist offices. nothing. Russians. 28.90m – free entry. newspapers.90 – 1. May the tourists have changed or at least their way of thinking. half day .30m . mostly young non-married people and families. magazines. 30. That’s why our promotion is on regional level – TV.. billboards and distribution of brochures. 122 . lows or governmental regulations. It depends rather on the owner’s decision than on percent of sales. Are you a member of an organization/association? How does it help you? We are member of WWA. Is there a change of the markets’ preferences the last 3-5 years? Certainly.8€. Macedonians. Below 0. 24. It contributes to our promotion worldwide and additionally we receive information on current innovations. What is the national/regional government doing to help you? Unfortunately. What kind of advertisement/promotion do you use? Our target market is the tourists who spend their holiday in Sunny Beach region and the locals. Which Are you target markets? British. 31. Scandinavians.
7 97.3 89.6 39.6 99.2 .8 99.0 Valid 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 Total 123 .0 Valid Up to 17 18-25 26-35 36-45 46-55 Over 55 Total Missing Total System Children aged below 12 in household Frequency 721 217 155 29 2 3 1 1128 Percent 63.3 .2 .2 96.7 100.0 100.9 99.0 Valid Percent 63.0 Cumulative Percent 63.9 24.0 Valid Percent 11.6 25.6 .2 13.3 100.7 2.0 Valid Percent 40.4 7.3 97.0 Valid M F Total Missing Total System Age Frequency 127 309 270 275 87 30 1098 30 1128 Percent 11.2 13.8 59.9 19.4 23.4 100.3 .6 .3 27.5 99.0 60.7 2.0 7.9 100.7 64.3 2.6 .1 100.0 Cumulative Percent 11.9 83.9 19.7 100.7 2.0 100.1 24.1 100.0 Cumulative Percent 40.6 28.Appendix 14: Figures of findings from the questionnaires 1) Demographic profile of respondents Sex Frequency 449 674 1123 5 1128 Percent 39.9 2.
Nationality Frequency 421 14 41 86 14 24 32 5 193 6 4 26 10 19 20 34 27 43 2 79 1100 28 1128 Percent 37,3 1,2 3,6 7,6 1,2 2,1 2,8 ,4 17,1 ,5 ,4 2,3 ,9 1,7 1,8 3,0 2,4 3,8 ,2 7,0 97,5 2,5 100,0 Valid Percent 38,3 1,3 3,7 7,8 1,3 2,2 2,9 ,5 17,5 ,5 ,4 2,4 ,9 1,7 1,8 3,1 2,5 3,9 ,2 7,2 100,0 Cumulative Percent 38,3 39,5 43,3 51,1 52,4 54,5 57,5 57,9 75,5 76,0 76,4 78,7 79,6 81,4 83,2 86,3 88,7 92,6 92,8 100,0
British Polish Irish German Danish Scottish Finnish Hungarian Bulgarian Slovakian Slovenian Czech Dutch Swedish Welsh Serbian Norway Russian Turkish Other Total
2) Holiday patterns of respondents
For how many days are you already in Bulgaria? Frequency 334 185 312 221 2 20 1074 54 1128 Percent 29,6 16,4 27,7 19,6 ,2 1,8 95,2 4,8 100,0 Valid Percent 31,1 17,2 29,1 20,6 ,2 1,9 100,0 Cumulative Percent 31,1 48,3 77,4 98,0 98,1 100,0
1-3 4-6 7-10 11-15 16-23 Over 23 Total
With whom are you here? Frequency 624 134 215 7 980 148 1128 Percent 55,3 11,9 19,1 ,6 86,9 13,1 100,0 Valid Percent 63,7 13,7 21,9 ,7 100,0 Cumulative Percent 63,7 77,3 99,3 100,0
Family Boy/girlfriend Friends On my own Total
What are your activities during your holiday? Responses N Valid Going to the beach/pool Visiting historic and cultural places of interest Bar and disco crawl 1027 433 464 Other (please state) Shopping Total 178 2102 Percent 48,9% 20,6% 22,1% 8,5% 100,0% Percent of Cases N 92,5% 39,0% 41,8% 16,0% 189,4%
3) Perceptions of a water park and past experience
Have you ever been to a water park before? Frequency 283 835 1118 10 1128 Percent 25,1 74,0 99,1 ,9 100,0 Valid Percent 25,3 74,7 100,0 Cumulative Percent 25,3 100,0
No Yes Total
Where have you ever been to a water park before? Responses N Valid USA Sunny beach Spain Gran Caneria Tunesia Germany Portugal Sweden Primorsko France Cyprus Turkey Plovdiv Dominican republic Italy England Malta Greece Slovakia other Total 130 90 268 31 7 17 24 7 1 17 41 76 2 6 29 56 6 36 6 258 1108 Percent 11,7% 8,1% 24,2% 2,8% ,6% 1,5% 2,2% ,6% ,1% 1,5% 3,7% 6,9% ,2% ,5% 2,6% 5,1% ,5% 3,2% ,5% 23,3% 100,0% Percent of Cases N 16,8% 11,6% 34,5% 4,0% ,9% 2,2% 3,1% ,9% ,1% 2,2% 5,3% 9,8% ,3% ,8% 3,7% 7,2% ,8% 4,6% ,8% 33,2% 142,8%
Why did you decide to visit a water park? Responses N Valid I looked for something entertaining and emotional I am bored of the beach I like those type of attractions Because the child/children wanted Total 347 83 596 428 1454 Percent 23,9% 5,7% 41,0% 29,4% 100,0% Percent of Cases N 31,3% 7,5% 53,8% 38,7% 131,3%
What do you associate a water park with? Responses N Valid A place for children A place for amusement with friends A place to escape from the ordinary world A place full of emotions.2% 13.0% Percent of Cases N 36.1% 59.3% 37.5% 100.9% 25.0% 40.0% 145.6% 9. fun and entertainment Total 395 405 142 642 1584 Percent 24.6% 127 .
0% 5.6% Why did you choose Action Aquapark? Responses N Valid It is near Sunny Beach It is easily accessible Because it offers high-adrenalin slides It was recommended by the tour operator It was recommended by friends I liked the image of the Aquapark in the brochure I liked the image of the Aquapark in internet Other Total 616 363 221 265 206 311 Percent 29.4% 17.3% .4% 6.0% N 43.7% 28.2% 55 59 2096 2.2% .9% 20.5% 16.0% 24.5% 2.6% 9.0% 18.8% Percent of Cases N 55.6% 100.2% .4) Customers’ perception of Action Aquapark What did you expect when you first have heard Action Aquapark? What do you associate the name with? Percent of Responses Cases N Valid Fun in the water waterpark water attractions action emotional experience bigger park utilities for older persons happy children lots of things to do Movie Something new Exactly the same Total 371 212 141 172 71 23 2 5 30 1 14 6 1048 Percent 35.5% .4% 24.6% .3% 10.5% 12.7% 122.8% 14.9% .8% 100.8% 16.1% 1.8% 32.2% .8% 2.2% 13.1% 1.1% 8.3% 189.3% 2.5% 20.6% 3.6% 2.7% .0% 5.9% 128 .4% 20.
0 Did the park fulfil your expectations? Frequency 944 157 1101 27 1128 Percent 83.5 1.7% 54.7 36.6% 1.2 8.5% 1.8 98.7% 6.5% 2.4 1.6 2.6% 2.0 Valid Percent 31.3% 3.3 87.8% 6.7 98.0 Valid Yes No Total Missing Total System Why did not the park fulfil your expectations? Responses N Valid Cold water The size of the park Bigger expectations It was better before Bad service Bad weather Bad food Lack of safety No junior slide Too expensive Too loud music Total 8 31 71 2 1 9 2 2 3 5 3 137 Percent 5.6% 129 .0 Valid Percent 85.5 100.0 Cumulative Percent 31.4 100.3 100.7 13.2% 3.1 79.8% 2.2% 100.9 37.2 10.8 10.6% 51.2% 1.0% Percent of Cases N 6.How do you know about Action Aquapark? Frequency Valid From the tour operator/ travel agency From the hotel reception From brochures From other advertisements (please state) From friends' recommendations From internet Total Missing Total System 347 121 413 94 117 19 1111 17 1128 Percent 30.9% 1.7 100.9 97.8% 1.6 8.1% 23.5 10.8% 22.2 42.0 Cumulative Percent 85.3 100.7 100.5% .5% .5% 2.5 1.3 10.3% 104.5% 1.7 14.
0% 1.0% 8.1% 115.4% 2.1% 7.1% .4% 11. comments and recommendations that would help the management to improve the Aquapark’s service? Percent of Responses Cases N Valid no suggestions more attractions more food suitable music faster slides safety precautions/better work of the safeguards better services better cleaning more entrances promotions lower prices more advertisement attractions for disabled persons dolphins/animal show free beer warmer water better/funnier attractions easier ways to pay more toilet other Total 111 249 34 9 8 52 94 15 7 8 77 2 3 8 1 28 18 7 8 71 810 Percent 13.4% 1.3% .7% 4.0% 9.0% .9% .0% 6.1% 4.3% 1.2% .9% 1.0% 2.9% 1.4% 1.1% 11.Any suggestions.5% 130 .1% 10.2% 1.9% 1.4% 13.1% 1.6% 1.5% .8% 100.2% .8% 35.1% 1.1% 3.0% .5% 2.0% N 15.5% 4.0% 1.6% 1.7% 30.
7% 7.1% 5.2% 4.2% 40.1% 26.0% Percent of Cases N 17. fun and entertainment Total 232 198 50 206 686 Percent 33.1% 55.8% 40.0% 55.2% 50.8% 28.1% 166.9% 100.5% 36.2% Why did you decide to visit a water park? Bulgarian Responses N Valid I looked for something entertaining and emotional I am bored of the beach I like those type of attractions Because the child/children wanted Total 94 11 90 51 246 Percent 38.4% 48.7% 100.9% 131 .2% 5.3% 135.7% 128.0% Percent of Cases N 56.8% 47.8% What do you associate a water park with? British Responses N Valid A place for children A place for amusement with friends A place to escape from the ordinary world A place full of emotions.2% 12.0% 100.6% 20.9% 7.0% Percent of Cases N 49.3% 30.5) Correlation analysis Why did you decide to visit a water park? British Responses N Valid I looked for something entertaining and emotional I am bored of the beach I like those type of attractions Because the child/children wanted Total 73 29 227 228 557 Percent 13.
5% 14.7% 27.What do you associate a water park with? Bulgarian Responses N Valid A place for children A place for amusement with friends A place to escape from the ordinary world A place full of emotions.3% 131.6% 14 14 843 1.0% 3.1% 100.3% 29.4% 3.7% 100.0% 13. fun and entertainment Total 22 60 23 140 245 Percent 9.4% 75.4% 203.7% 1.1% 132 .0% 24.5% 9.3% 6.7% Why did you choose Action Aquapark? British Responses N Valid It is near Sunny Beach It is easy accessible Because it offers high-adrenalin slides It was recommended by the tour operator It was recommended by friends I liked the image of the Aquapark in the brochure I liked the image of the Aquapark in internet It is near Sunny Beach Total 288 176 61 112 55 123 Percent 34.9% 7.8% 32.4% 14.3% 12.6% Percent of Cases N 69.2% 20.2% 13.4% 42.4% 57.0% Percent of Cases N 11.
Why did you choose Action Aquapark? Bulgarian Responses N Valid It is near Sunny Beach It is easy accessible Because it offers highadrenalin slides It was recommended by the tour operator It was recommended by friends I liked the image of the Aquapark in the brochure I liked the image of the Aquapark in internet It is near Sunny Beach Total 50 36 59 9 69 30 Percent 17.1% 24.5% Percent of Cases N 26.7% 4.9% 19.8% 154.3% 133 .4% 31.1% 12 22 287 4.5% 11.7% 100.5% 20.1% 16.4% 12.6% 3.0% 10.8% 37.2% 7.0% 6.