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Marketing Communication Mix

1.0 Introduction

In this report, I aim to provide an overview of the theme parks market. Using useful sources such as Keynote and Mintel, the market research will identify who the main players are in the market, recent trends, expenditure within the market, the target market of theme parks and spending trends. With this information, these should allow and help form up a PESTLE analyse on the market as well as on the main players within the market in order to make a conclusion on why the marketing communication strategy within the theme park industry is successful.

2.0 An Overview of the Market
2.1 The main players in the market
In the theme parks market,their are many contenders within the industry. As the theme parks market has evoled into a multibillion industry, its entertainment factors has drawn vistors from all around the world in which many themes have generated over the years. Having looked at companies information, annual reports and other theme park resources, they have provided estimates of theme parks attendance to distinguish the main players in the market.
Figure 1 (below) shows the top 10 amusement/theme park attraction chains worldwide.

Fig. 1 [8]
It is clear that the most visited theme park in the world in 2007 was Magic Kingdom at Orlando’s Walt Disney World and has been for the last couple of year. Coming second was Disneyland Tokyo, with an estimate of 15.1 million vistors in 2007.

 

Having looked at the 2007 report on the attendance in amusement/theme parks, it is clear that the dominate players in the theme parks market are DisneyLand, Universal Studios and Everland.
Attendance for the top 25 theme parks worldwide increased in 2007 by 0.5 percent to 187.6 million vistors. Vistors to the 20 most popular parks in Europe increased by 2.8% – 41.2 million.

Fig. 2 [8] Fig. 3 [8]

Although figure 1 is based on the theme parks worldwide, it is apparent that theme parks in the USA seem to be the more attended and popular than other countries. However, looking at Europe for instants, Pleasure Beach-UK, Tivou Gardens-Denmark and Europa Park-Germany are the top theme parks visted. Overall, the Walt Disney Attractions remains the world leader by a large margin within the theme parks industry,prodominately due to its various locations around the world.

2.2 Recent Trends
According to a graph on the worldwide theme parks attendance trends for the top theme parks and water parks (2005 – 2007), the key theme park chains showed that the overall increase of 3.8 percent was “primarily driven by acquisitions by Merlin Entertainments Group, Parques Reunidos, Herschend Family Entertainment plus growth in most of Disney’s and Universal’s theme parks.” Christian Aaen (ERA) [8]

Fig. 4 [8]

Paying particular attention to Europe, between 2005 and 2007 the graph shows that the top 20 European parks had the highest average annual percentage growth of 2.4%. This was due to “The 15th anniversary of Disneyland Paris saw strong attendance growth as a result of strong marketing strategic investment.” according to David Camp, one of the Directors of ERA.
Another Director also stated that “whilst relatively poor weather, particularly at key holiday periods, led to a downturn in attendance for many sites, the parks that invested in new rides and attractions and/or on site hotel development in 2007 all showed year-on-year growth.” Lesley Morisetti.

The idea of the theme parks was often know to be developed by concepts based on fairs and pleasures gardens in Europe. As these were specifically created for people’s amusements, world’s fairs and exposition were another influence on the development within the theme and amusement park industry. [13]

When the whole concept of theme park was created, it was often the case that theme parks were based on the culture of the country. Theme parks were gradually reflected the attributes of the country (e.g. historical settings), specifically showcasing regional pride and technological achievements. However, the downfall to this trend proved to show that if the theme parks were hugely inspired just by culture alone, the theme park could risk attracting only specific type of people, where theme parks objective are often to be versatile and to entertainment, to appeal to wider range of consumers.

Another trend that is often common among theme parks is additional components. As theme parks were often known to build in urban area, theme parks are being built surrounding shopping centres, hotels and restaurants as well as incorporating concepts based on special events and other expositions.

A fairly new concept that has recently been grasps amongst theme parks is the use of simulation experiences and virtual reality. The advances in technology have meant that theme park rides designers can replicate realistic virtual special effect experiences, with the combination of high quality visual imagery with seats that are programmed to move with the motion of the imagery. Visitors can practically experience a ride that is just as good as the average ride.

Virtual rides are often based on films that have a scientific element to it. Disneyland was the first to use this concept, introduction the ride Star Tours based on the film Star Wars. However, since then other concepts have been developed. New simulation rides based on extreme sports such as river rafting having proved to be popular as well as driving experience in virtual sport cars and experiences in virtual space.

Overall, virtual rides have proven to be cheaper to produce than traditional rides. Technology has become more flexible and trends such as the virtual experience has also proved to be more land efficient. However, virtual rides sometime lack the thrill and spontaneity compared to the more traditional rides (white knuckle) and has been perceived as a personal risk due to the lack of group interaction.

http://www.hotel-online.com/Trends/ERA/ERARoleThemeParks.html#Theme [7]

2.3 Environmental Influence
Although common and recent trends have proven to be successful, it is often the case that there are some environmental issues that may affect them.

Several theme parks such as Walibi – Belgium and Sea World have incorporated water into their theme parks. Although this is seen as normal, theme parks that combine water within the theme park often partly responsible for massive inhabited expansions on the edge of a desert. Although this is not always seen as a desert, combining water within a theme park can result in the area using more water faster than the way nature would normally replenish or refills it. In the long run, the issue has been raised that incorporating water within a theme park can result and lead to water being untreated and becoming more brackish (salty). [14]

In the process of building theme parks, they are often designed to be built for all weather conditions. Over the years, theme parks have gradually been designed to have covered attractions in addition to having climate controlled resting areas and walk paths. This trend has proven to be popular as it enables a theme park to have longer operating seasons as well as an extension on the operating hours within a day.

As theme parks are expected to have larger number of visitors, there is frequently pressure put on the environmental and social resources of the theme park. Although theme parks are often built to be occupy and handle large number of people, naturally it is often the case that it would be able to also control and manage excess amount of people in confined spaces.
Since theme parks are normally filled with people, it is often the case that the theme park is faced with litter issues. Despite litter control as well as recycling being an important environmental issue in countries such as the UK and the USA, it may not be much of an issue in other counties.

However looking at the IAAPA website(International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions), it states that in the future, it aims to emphasise the importance of recycling by introducing and interpreting to overseas tourist about the environment in all theme parks, although without diminishing the values and objectives of the theme park. The IAAPA aim to provide a message that can be understood internationally as well as being educational. [9]

2.4 Expenditure on marketing communications and share of voice (SOV)

Looking at the database, Mintel Oxygen it provided information on “UK theme parks expenditures on main advertising.” Although the information found was not an overview of expenditure worldwide, image 5 gives an insight into how much is spend in the UK alone. Mintel stated that the main contenders in the UK spent heavily in order to maintain and secure their position in table of visitors’ choice. Overall, the theme parks that were often at the top were the ones in the Merlin Entertainment Group. These theme parks significantly account for most of the main advertising spending in the UK. The main mediums used by theme parks are TV and radio.

However, there are restrictions to using these mediums. In order to precisely target the right market, theme parks tend to advertise in specialist press as it is the preferred medium for communication and more cost efficient. Another form of communicating to visitors is through a website. Almost all major theme parks have websites. Although is could be seen as a way to advertise, it is also an information portal , where visitors can get information on opening times, location and details on rides and other attractions. This is also a way of building contact details for direct marketing through offering an online booking system.

Having looked at the immediate future website, it stated that the theme park Disney was in the top 100 brands in social media. However, looking at a chart, this provides a breakdown of the top 100 global brands’ share of voice in social media, by industry sector. Although technological brands account for the 7 out of the ten top performing companies, Disney, a non-technological brand, can in at number 9, showing that a theme park such as Disney can also understand the values of its audience, listening to them as well as developing a strong relationship and reputation just as well as the other technological brands.

However, looking at the table of the top 25 most discussed brands across selected social media sites; it clear that Disney is one of the brands that account for 36% of brands that are also in Interbrand top brands. Interbrand is a leading brand consultancy, who establishes “the Best Global Brands” and when comparing social media share of voice to Interbrand’s top 100 brands; it is also clear that Disney and our brands show the closeted link with the Interbrand’s ranking, revealing that these brands such as Disney economic rankings are more closely associated the consumer’s awareness in social media. [12]
Another graph that was found on the SOV of Disney showed that the theme park was mostly mention on the website Flickr. This graph showed a further breakdown of what specific social medium were being used to broadcast certain brands. Flickr is a site where people can share their image, perhaps pictures of Visits to theme parks. This shows that brands such as Disney can be associated with photo-sharing network, in which would be relevant.

Graph 1 –
http://www.immediatefuture.co.uk/the-top-100-brands-in-social-media-/2/

2.5 Customers and how do they buy – Consumers and their Expenditure
According to spreadsheet created by Mintel, it showed that 50% of both female and male had been to a theme park. This means theme parks appeal to both men and women equally. However when it came to age, theme parks were more visited by 16 – 24 years old. Although the graph shows that more than 50% of every age group (up to the age of 64) have visited a UK theme park, the information shows the main market is young people (age 16 – 24) and families and proves that theme parks find it difficult to attract a broad range such as young children as well as parents and grandparents. However the few over 65s that have visited a theme park perhaps could have been attracted to the more ‘softer’ parks, attractions such as carousels and other more gentle rides. On the other hand, ‘retro’ theme parks are often popular among the older market as it takes them back to their childhood memory [9].

The spreadsheet also showed that majority of people who are in the socio-economic group of A+B, C1 and C2have visited a theme park. However, it is unclear on what the exact figure are for the social group A and B are as they the two categories represent two completely different occupations. As these social grades give an idea of household income and how it might get spent, it is clear that perhaps social group E may not be able to afford to go a theme park due to transport cost as well as ticket prices.

Comparing this to ACORN groups, this links with the chart on socio-economic groups, showing that more wealthy achievers have visited a theme park also linking with the group of people who earn more £50,000 PA. This shows that perhaps these are the same people that are categorised in the same groups – AB/wealthy achievers/earn more than £50,000.

The spreadsheet also identified that more than half the average of visitors were internet users. This indicates that theme parks can or have attempted to appeal to their target market through their websites in which they can push online bookings. As this is the “way of doing things” in this time period, it has proved to be more efficient and less time consuming. Using the internet to appeal to the right target market can also inform visitors of new development within the theme park as well as building a relationship with the target market.

Looking on the database, Mintel oxygen, it provided information on “Consumer expenditure on selected leisure activities, 2002-07”. This shows different type of leisure activities consumers participate in, including spending at theme parks.

Fig. 6
Source: SIRC/CGA CENTRO/SOLT Box Office Data Report 2005 by Richard Andrews/CAA/Nielsen EDI/Mintel

The table shows that although the theme parks market has shown grown over the last 5 years, the amount on what consumers spend doesn’t compare to some of the other leisure activities. Perhaps the reason for this is due to weather as most of the activities listed in the chart can’t really be affected by the weather. However overall, the leisure market has shown growth, as consumers are spending more and more every year on leisure activities. And in addition to this, the leisure sector are improving their game, in terms of enriching the quality of their products and services by offer incentives and extra bits that consumers are willing to pay more for. An example of this is theme parks offering food and drink.

3.0 A Comparison between two brands within the theme park market
In this section of the assignment, I’m going to focus on two brands that are popular in their nation. Looking at Disneyland, USA and Pleasure Beach, UK, I am going to compare both marketing communications activities, in which make them successful within the theme park market.

The main purpose of theme parks is to entertain. The key elements to a successful park are often due to its employees, its crisis management and the parks environmental design [2]. Two theme parks that are mostly known for these key elements are Disneyland and Pleasure Beach. Being the most famous and most visited resorts in their nation, both resorts are aimed at families and children, offering hotels and many other form of entertainment including dining, shopping and various rides and attractions.

3.1 Objectives
3.1.1 Disneyland’s Objectives
Being such a big empire, Disney takes pride in its marketing staff, in which they oversees the quality control of the resort as well as ensuring that the resort keeps consistency among all the parks’ services. Looking on the Walt Disney company website, it stated that their objectives were “to be one of the world’s leading producers and providers of entertainment and information.” [15]Although the objective is quite broad, the brand felt to achieve this objective, they would have to use it portfolio of brands to differentiate itself, its services as well as the products the are offering. Despite being the most visited theme park in the world [8], the theme park also had financial goals of maximizing earnings and cash flow in order to allocate capital towards plans for growth to increase the value of their shares financially and socially.
http://corporate.disney.go.com/investors/index.html [15]

3.1.2 Pleasure Beach’s Objectives

Looking on the Pleasure Beach website, it stated that their objectives were to increase the number of visitors each as well as to try and encourage visitors to spend more at the park. The website stated that Pleasure Beach aimed to ensure that their customer service that consumers received was the highest standard during their visit to the park. Pleasure Beach felt this was important as this would allow their customers to leave with a positive image, therefore passing it on their good experiences to others, “word of mouth is a very powerful marketing tool”, and most importantly the customers returning back again.
http://www.blackpoolpleasurebeach.com/downloads/Infopack.pdf [16]

3.2 Main Message
3.2.1 Disneyland’s Main Message
Looking at Disney’s last corporate responsibility report, it is clear that Disney’s main message is to be a good corporate citizen. Disney doesn’t only want to be known for doing the right thing but to known for doing good by their guests, their employees and the business as a whole. Disney feel that in doing this, it will allow the company as a whole to be a desirable place to work for employees and a profound way of “reinforces the attractiveness of our brands and products and strengthens our bonds with consumers and neighbours in communities the world over.”

http://corporate.disney.go.com/responsibility/index.html
3.2.2 Pleasure Beach’s Main Message
From Pleasure beach website, there main message is “To provide an outstanding Amusement Park that offers something for everyone and which is presented in a well maintained manner so as to ensure that all visitors thoroughly enjoy themselves and want to return.” Although their main mission statement is to “To make adults feel like children again”, it also states that the theme park has recognised the need “To have a mutual respect between You and Us, in modelling good behaviour and providing a safe environment.”
http://www.blackpoolpleasurebeach.com/downloads/Risk%20assessment_07_NK_EM.pdf

3.3 The Positioning Strategy

3.4 Target Audience
The Target Market
Families and children of all ages are designed as potential and current visitors to Disney hotels, attractions and parks. Markets are based on regional, national and global geodemographic segments.

3.5 How much money are they spending and how
3.6 Marketing Communications Tools and Media
3.6.1 Disneyland’s Marketing Communications

3.6.2 Pleasure Beach’s Marketing Communications

So we know who our customers are – what are the next steps? We need to communicate back to our customers so they know what we’re all about. Pleasure beach Blackpool, communicates via the following medias.

aDvertisinG

An organisation such as Pleasure Beach, Blackpool uses a complex mix of advertising techniques to communicate with its customers. Each one works in a different way, with different positive and negative points. Listed below are forms of advertising used by Pleasure Beach, Blackpool.

TELEVISION

Television is regarded as one of the most powerful and persuasive of all the media, due to its potential large audience. However, a large target audience comes at a cost with TV being the most expensive type of advertising a company can carry out. 30% of all advertising is on TV.

TV airtime is sold in slots of varying length e.g. 10, 20, 30 seconds. Airtime is bought regionally, so for national advertising you have to buy numerous regions. Coverage is measured by TVRs – TV ratings. Each programme has a number of rating points, based on audience.

NEWSPAPERS
43% of all UK advertising is in newspapers and is good medium as you can select the titles most appropriate to your target audience. National daily papers can be pricey, but local papers are usually very cost effective. Newspaper adverts can carry more detail than TV adverts and offer a good variation in size and creativity.
24
Magazines
Magazine adverts have more colour than newspapers; therefore they are associated more towards niche markets.
Poster Sites
Messages must be simple and bold since the reader’s attention span is limited and the most effective of those are handled creatively and with imagination. There are numerable poster sites around the Pleasure Beach park where all the shows compitions are advertised. Poster sites are also available around Blackpool Town Centre but there is a lot of completion for these sites and the majority of them are snapped up very quickly.

Radio
Radio sells itself as an intimate medium, a ‘friend’ that listeners become fond of. It’s the fastest growing medium, but is not suitable for complex messages. Repetition is important because people don’t tend to listen to the adverts themselves, but if they hear the same thing often enough it will stick in their minds. Radio offers the most immediacy in its impact than other media.

Direct Mail
More money is spent here than on radio and posters put together. This type of advertising generates a high response and can be easily monitored. Direct mailing has increased significantly in recent years, as have services associated with it, i.e. database suppliers.

Internet
The Internet for many people is still a relatively new medium, but it is an extremely effective way of reaching customers. E-mail is a very quick way of contacting somebody, whilst a well designed website, like ours, (www.blackpoolpleasurebeach.com) can give prospective customers an idea of what you have to offer, with images, articles and even media clips. The Pleasure Beach site gets thousands of hits per day with general queries and booking on line, it has become an increasingly powerful advertising tool. publiC relatiOns

It is very important to develop good relationships with journalists. The media can be very useful in promoting a business by writing positive articles and hence giving good publicity, although it can also be damaging, as they can also be very negative and critical. PR is often dependent on what your organisation is actually doing. For example a press launch for Bling, Pleasure Beach’s newest ride, will attract lots of publicity, a new car park will probably not!

Other marketing functions undertaken at Pleasure Beach Blackpool include producing park leaflets and brochures, attracting group visits, devising special offers and promotions and responding to enquiries (like this one!) Also pushing some of the more unassociated capabilities of Pleasure Beach such as hosting and organising corporate functions as well as weddings and social events.

3.7 Evidence of IMC

In contrast, Euro Disneyland had an ineffective integrated marketing communications program when it opened in the early 1990’s. Although it had a comprehensive marcom program: new web site, prints, collaterals, advertising and public relations programs, it just ignored the fact that the core idea of IMC is to satisfy clients’ needs. On top of that, Euro Disneyland had made a series of cross-cultural gaffes that reduced much of the consumer goodwill.

For example, it developed wrong marketing efforts, which emphasized the grand size and scope of the project, an issue which played well to an American or Japanese visitor but left the Europeans largely indifferent. Furthermore, the alcohol-free policy, the admission costs–running some 30 percent higher than a Disney World ticket back in the States, and the American-style fast food restaurants all helped discourage European visitors.

As the result, Euro Disneyland faced bankruptcy with losses of FFr 5 billion and debts of over FFr 21 billion. Consequently, without a thorough analysis of consumers’ true demands in every aspect, any marketing program is not an effective integrated marketing communications program.

http://medill-imc.blogspot.com/

The idea of Integrated Marketing is not new. Walt Disney was using what he called “synergy” in the 1950’s and 1960’s to drive the Disney Company forward. Disney used a coordinated marketing effort between print, television, movies, merchandising, and the theme parks. Each part of the Disney marketing mix reinforced the other aspects of the mix that when viewed together built the Disney Brand of today.
http://www.manoconsulting.com/page/page/3821783.htm

 

4.0 Conclusion
http://academic.mintel.com/sinatra/oxygen_academic/search_results/show&/display/id=280378 confusing park many parks will make the mistake of abandoning their traditional identity, making a reflex grab for the hottest new sensation without considering how it affects their image. the eventual result will be a confusing park and a confused public. telling a story is the most important element. the story of a park is its identity, it is vital to marketing of any park

– for how can you sell something if the customer is having trouble understanding what it is? Long term winners will be those who protect, preserve and grow established story identities until they become bankable brands.

larger markets for bigger, better and fewer attractions American parks have traditionally had much lower rates than the American, but according to speculation, this may be changing. public expectations and standards will be raised and the public will no longer be satisfied with the traditional attractions currently offered by many theme parks.

This has already sparked a construction boom as competing parks rush to add more top quality attractions to keep up. Parks which grow and upgrade will prosper and those that stagnate will die. In some cases smaller parks with outstanding management will grow, while larger parks, either over-leveraged and lacking borrowing power, or those limited by non-profit ownership or less adaptive management, will be unable to meet the challenge and disappear.

http://www.designboom.com/trash/themepark.html

SWOT Analysis
Strengths Weaknesses
· Disneyland is the generally considered the premier park of the premier company in the amusement park industry.· The 50th Anniversary celebration brought increased media and consumer attention to the Disneyland resort.· The Disney Company owns a wide variety of media outlets including: television, radio and print.

These permits cost-effective media buys and detailed demographic research to qualify marketing initiatives.· The Disney brand (including Disneyland) has an extensive base of very loyal consumers in most (if not all) demographic categories. · Disneyland lacks the “thrill rides” many contemporary amusement parks visitors seek.· Disney’s California Adventure has thus far failed to post significant attendance figures, resulting in poor word-of-mouth and additional operational costs, which are not additional costs, which are not offset by attendance revenue.· High ticket prices may prices may place a visit out of reach of many potential customers.
Opportunities Threats
· Rebounding economy and tourist industry means additional customers.· New regional attractions (such as shopping malls and museum exhibits) increase the number of potential customers in the area.· Corporate sponsorships with large companies (such as Vons and American Honda Motor Corporation) expand avenues for cross-promotion. · New attractions and experiences at local amusement venues (including even Las Vegas) currently integrated their themes and adventure experiences with more “thrills” than Disney have, potentially drawing customers away from the resort.· Significantly lower admission price to local amusement parks may spark a “price war” during critical summer months.· Recurring accidents and the publicity surrounding them have been public relations nightmares.
Table 1
Sayre, S. (2008) Entertainment Marketing & communication Selling Branded Performance, People and Places. New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall.

5.0 Reference
Books
1 Sayre, S. (2008) Entertainment Marketing & communication Selling Branded Performance, People and Places. New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall.
2 Vogel, H.L. (2004) Entertainment Industry Economics A Guide For Financial Analysis. 6th ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
3
Journals
4 Formica, S and Olsen, M.D. (1998) Trends in amusement park industry. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management. 10 (7), p. 297 – 308.
5 Haahti, A and Yavas, U. (2004) A multi-attribute approach to understanding image of a theme park: The case of SantaPark in Lapland. European Business Review. 16 (4), p. 390 – 397.
6
Internet
7 Jones, C.B. and Robinett, j., 1998. The Future of Theme Parks in International Tourism [online]. San Francisco: Economics Research AssociatesAvailable from: http://www.hotel-online.com/Trends/ERA/ERARoleThemeParks.html#Theme[Accessed 22nd December 2009]
8 Rubin, J., 2008. Themed Entertainment Association/Economics Research Associates’ Attraction Attendance Report [online]. USA: InPark Magazine and Park World http://www.connectingindustry.com/downloads/pwteaerasupp.pdf[Accessed 21st December 2009
9 http://www.iaapa.org/[Accessed 21st December 2009]
10 http://www.themeparkinsider.com/reviews/[Accessed 23rd December 2009]
11 http://corporate.disney.go.com/investors/index.html[Accessed 27th December 2009]
12 http://www.immediatefuture.co.uk/the-top-100-brands-in-social-media-/2/http://www.immediatefuture.co.uk/the-top-100-brands-in-social-media/3/ [Accessed 8th January 2010]
13 http://www.themeparkguide.net/[Accessed 8th January 2010]
14 http://www.americansc.org.uk/Online/disney.htm[Accessed 27th December 2009]
15 http://corporate.disney.go.com/investors/index.html[Accessed 8th January 2010]
16 http://www.blackpoolpleasurebeach.com/downloads/Infopack.pdf[Accessed 8th January 2010]
Databases – Reports
Mintel OxygenTheme Parks – UK – January 2008 (Report)
KeynoteEuropean Tourist Attractions 2009 (Report

 

6.0 Bibliography
Books
· Egan, J. (2007) Marketing Communication. London: Thomson Learning.

Databases
· Keynote
Leisure and Entertainment 2007 (Report)

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