During my visit to Japan I took the opportunity to experience two major theme parks: Universal Studios in Osaka and Disney SEA in Tokyo. As you can imagine expectations were high since I have visited both premium brands in other countries. Really excited to visit these parks! Not only from a professional point of view also as a theme park fan.
Both parks impressed me on theming, entertainment and cleanliness. However Continue reading Why Universal Studios Japan beats Disney SEA
One of the great benefits working for Madame Tussauds in Amsterdam were the free tickets to other attractions in The Netherlands. There is a special membership pass which allows employees from one attraction to visit the other attraction or theme park.
On a Saturday morning we decided to go to one of the most popular attraction near Amsterdam: De Keukenhof. A seasonal outdoor attraction with over 7 million flowers and bulbs. If you want you can spend the complete day walking around the tulip fields. De Keukenhof is extremely popular with tourists from Asia so expect dozens of touring cars filled with Asian tourist on a single day.
Anyway, after parking the car we headed to the main entrance. Usually with the membership pass you need to collect the tickets at the Guest Service desk before you can enter the attraction. I entered the Guest Service office and saw 2 employees talking to each other. I wanted to wait until they were finished but suddenly there was an ice cold silence. I looked up and saw 4 annoyed eyes staring at me with the look: “what are you doing here…? You are disturbing our conversation!” Without saying a word. I said Hello and asked where I could collect the tickets. The reaction did not surprised me. “You need to buy tickets at the entrance!” I mentioned the membership card and the response was far from friendly pointing to the entrance and telling me that I could walk through. Continue reading De Keukenhof: a colorful experience with a lot of potential!
It was obvious that I needed to pay a visit to one of the attractions of Merlin Entertainments, so why not go for a concept I really enjoy? And since Legoland Malaysia was on route to Singapore and I worked with the Director of Operations in Europe it was an easy pick! Continue reading Legoland Malaysia: bricklayer for tourism in Johor Bahru
It is 6 weeks already since I have left Amsterdam to explorer the Asian theme park and attraction market. And although I have visited a couple of theme parks over the last years in Bangkok, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur and Beijing (read the post about Happy Valley here), Asia keeps surprising me. Last year I did set the goal to relocate to Asia but did not want to settle in China (based on a 3 week holiday trip, which is obviously not really showing the real China). This time China really got me. Due travelling on a budget I pushed myself to blend more with local (tourists) and eat, sleep and travel like a local (as a matter of fact: I write this post during a 10 hour train ride on a standing ticket, yes standing means really standing or sit in the aisle if you beat the competition by running at the platform like I did). Must admit it is far from comfortable but this is China: be flexible and you will enjoy the country, people and all what is crossing your path. And maybe the most important reason for now: it gives you time to observe the behavior of people. Which you should know is totally different from the rest of Asia.
Culture, People and Behavior
The cultural difference between the East and the West is the most important element to keep in mind when driving business or setting up a tourist attraction in China. Although I don’t consider myself as a cultural guru and there are books describing the Chinese culture better than I do. When it comes down to driving spends in tourism destinations it is about understanding guest behavior. Culture affects behavior (or does behavior results to culture?) what will impact your strategy to attract visitors and make them spend within the attraction. READ MORE
Amsterdam Airport: time to leave the country! This time not for work but for a once in a life time experience: travelling the world for the next 9 to 12 months together with my wife. Exploring culture, nature and the theme park industry on the other side of the world.
We are heading to the KLM lounge to get some drinks prior boarding. Nothing special to post about the lounge since all services are complementary. Once on 33.000 feet after our breakfast KLM started to increase the Average Transaction Value with their inflight shopping program: Sky High Collection. I fly frequently with KLM and used to see the shopping cart being pushed through the isle after the announcement via the speakers. I always wondered what the average spend onboard was. Actually I still do since I have never seen any passenger purchasing a Mont Blanc watch or KLM merchandise. Of course I have seen passengers on flights like Ryan Air or Air Asia spending on board but that was on food. Continue reading Upsell in the air!
Guests entering the store in a Theme Park usually are forced or have time left to cruise your store. Not particularly to shop but more from curiosity and as an extra activity what makes it a different customer journey. We could say our stores and other commercial areas should be approached as the extra attraction. Continue reading The customer journey
A personal Customer Journey experience: During the planning of my Asia-Pacific trip I decided to buy a real back pack. The last 10 years I have travelled with a trolley to all parts of the world from Seattle to Hong Kong and from all-in resorts to cozy hostels in the jungle of Indonesia. Last year we travelled to Koh Lipe, a real cast away but to get to this bounty island we had to face heavy storms of the Andaman Sea during the monsoon season. Long story short: my trolley drowned on deck and the salty water did the rest of the work afterwards. So time to shop online for a new travel buddy. And there is where my customer journey began. Continue reading Beat the competition on Customer Service not by discounts!
The value of Visual Merchandising is impressive. Imagine it is 15 minutes prior closing time and you are standing in a store where there is no overview, no clear walkways and it is either dark or TL-lighting is in place. You came to the store to buy a teddy bear (the one displayed in the shop window) for your nephew but you are not able to find it next to the toys but behind some boxes in a dark corner next to the silverware. You look at the price tag and see that this plate (?) costs you €5,-, at least that’s what the label on the shelf says. (apparently someone did not replenished the store well) You are looking around to find a staff member to tell you the price but there is nobody around. At the till you see the price of €25. This is over your intended budget however you are buying this bear because there was no other option. Since all the stores are closed and you are the only one in this store left you needed to find this product. Now if you had more time… Did you consider going to this store in the first place? You were triggered by the bear in the window but standing in the opening of the store you could have made up your mind. With this experience you would not go back to this store as this will take too much time and probably frustration.
Does the example point out the value of Visual Merchandising? Yes, it does! Continue reading The value of Visual Merchandising (part one)