Like in every business: Time and Money are key in Visual Merchandising. And these elements are rare especially Time in peak periods or staff budget in low season to actually improve your store standards. During low season you are often busy with calculations, staff or tasks which are not finished during the peak season. Or simply you now have the chance to use your overtime and take some days off. Below I will describe the major challenges (I faced at different job roles) in Visual Merchandising in a fast moving environment with tide budgets and where time plays a significant role. These are common situations and hopefully will help you think of the standards in your own commercial area. Continue reading Theme Park Retail: 14 Challenges in Visual Merchandising
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!
Last week I had the chance to visit Beijings’ most popular theme park Happy Valley. The park opened in 2006 as the 2nd of the 6 Happy Valley parks in China operated by OCT. Happy Valley has its own metro station ‘Happy Valley Scenic Area’ which creates the opportunity to start the experience from here, like Disneyland Hong Kong and Paris do with special Mickey trains towards the park. However the station just looked like an ordinary metro station in Beijing. I have missed the clear routing within the station to the nearest exit to the park. The entrance does not matched the experience of the (Chinese) website however in front of the entrance there is a kind of a ‘monument’ which is colorful and includes the characters of the park (would be better to place something similar to this on top of the entrance). So the start was not really inspiring but I was curious to understand the commercial strategy of the park. Though the right experience will increase impulse purchases.
Retail in Happy Valley Beijing