Out-of-Home Leisure and Entertainment
Is Poised for a 7-Year Run: Are You Ready?

October 30, 2010 No Comments

January 1, 2011 could mark the start of a steady climb out of the United States economic recession.  Leading financial experts seem to agree that we have hit bottom and the curve is heading in a positive direction.  Well, let’s be more specific.  There will be sectors of the economy that will see the benefits much more than others. The number one sector will be infrastructure improvements (roads, bridges and government buildings) that will receive a huge chunk of the stimulus money and create many new jobs.  The number two sector will be health care and related services.  The number three sector will be leisure and entertainment.  Yes, of all of the hundreds of other sectors, our industry will be poised to reap the benefits of the next seven-year cycle.  Our industry for the past 100 years has more or less followed a seven-year cycle of ups and downs.
However, don’t get a swelled head over this prediction, for only those facilities that are competitive for the leisure entertainment dollar will benefit.  People are still going to be looking for “value,” and “family” is still the name of the game.  Those facilities that can appeal to a wide range of markets at a reasonable price, “and with superior service,” will benefit the most. FECs and bowling-anchored FECs may be in the best position.   Amusement Parks, Waterparks, and Resorts are seeing steady attendance for their main attractions, but guests are being very frugal with additional spending for games and gift shop purchases.  Per capita spending is a concept that we will all have to fully understand in each market. For FECs and bowling-anchored FECs, repeat business is the key to success.  (As an aside, did you know that 70 million Americans bowl at least once per year and that 60 million ski at least once per year?)
The season pass concept is stronger than ever as families are looking for the best bang for their leisure entertainment buck.  One of my (Frank) clients owns an outdoor waterpark and an indoor/outdoor pocket park/FEC.  They recently marketed a season pass for the 2011 summer waterpark season that included a year-round pass to their pocket park/FEC where guests could go on all of the attractions for free and just pay for food and games. The results were terrific and thousands of guests are visiting the pocket park/FEC each weekend and taking advantage of their season passes.
Amusement Parks have been re-opening and extending their seasons for Halloween and now more are getting ready for Christmas.  They are also using these times as an opportunity to sell season passes for 2011.  For those parks and waterparks that are located in high-population areas, the concept of opening up the front part of the park as a year-round (or just weekends and holidays) FEC can bring additional dollars to the bottom line, especially by attracting birthday party and other group business.
The bottom line is that our industry needs to be ready to take its place as the third leading sector.  During these economically challenging times about 10 percent of our industry has been actively investing in their businesses, knowing that when the economy improves they will be way ahead of their competition.  Others have just sat back and “milked” their businesses and may have done well, but have also dug a deeper hole to climb out of that will place them at the back of the pack when the race to profitability in sector number three officially begins in 2011.
The IAAPA Attractions Expo, this year Nov. 15-19 in Orlando, Fla., is our largest-attended industry sector trade show.  We can say one thing for sure:  if you are not attending, then you probably are not “ready” to take advantage of the upcoming seven-year run.  So stop digging a deeper hole.  Put your shovel down and make the most of your time at IAAPA, and see your future business opportunities. “Are you really ready?”-

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Gould Manufacturing, Ltd.

Concession trailers and Antique, Jeep and Grand Prix auto rides.

Sureshot Redemption

One-stop source for prize redemption counters at entertainment centers.

Price Chopper, Inc. Wristbands

Admission, financial equipment and wristbands.

Hoffman Mint

Tokens, medals, coins and key tags.

Poly Products

Tables, benches and related products. Green products for a green world.

Fast Corp Vending

Frozen food vending machines

Tube Pro

Waterpark tubes.

Store on Wheels

Importer and distributor of quality toys, lighting and novelties. Cater to the amusement, retail and entertainment industries.

Amusement Entertainment Management (AEM)

Premier entertainment consultants.

Spectrum Sports

Climbing walls, ropes courses, go-karts and more.

Soft Play

Leader in designing, manufacturing and installing soft contained playground equipment.

Lazer Runner

Laser Tag Systems

California Portable Dance Floor Company

Embed

Provides innovative IT products and services with a primary focus on card-based solutions and database applications for the leisure and retail industries.

Splashtacular

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Tear-Aid industrial strength patches to repair holes and tears.

S&S Worldwide

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Subway

Fresh food and sandwich options.

Zebec Water Sports

Large variety of waterpark needs

Enchanted Castle Studios

Fiberglass statuary and figures for restaurants, mini-golf, theme parks and other attractions.

Knight Equipment

Drive cables for ferris wheels, Tilt-A-Whirls, Rock-O-Planes and many others.

Ride Development Corp.

Electric floor, gas and battery-powered bumper cars.

Brunswick Bowling

Entertainment bowling center developer and manufacturer of bowling equipment and entertainment products.

Wells Fargo

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Playsmart

Patented soft play design, soft playgrounds.

Laser Star

Laser shooting galleries, laser tag, dark ride target systems, overhead target ranges.

Flagship Carpet

Custom carpets and rugs.

Wapello Fabrications

Inflatables and portable amusements.

Klopp International, Inc. (Playmeter)

Quality coin counters and sorters.

Look Solutions

Fog machines.

Lakeshore Merchandise (Smart Vending)

Premier vending supply for all of your vending equipment and supply needs.

R&R Creative Amusement Design

Designers of unique themed parks, attractions and environments for the entertainment business.

Empex Water Toys

Aquatons Water Toys

Safari Ltd.

Leading manufacturer of innovative educational toys.

Richie's Italian Ice

Italian Ice Kiosks and Carts

Thomco Insurance (Fun Pro)

Fun Pro is an insurance program especially designed for party planners and party rental businesses.

Challenger Industries

Sports surfaces, carpets and mini-golf surfaces.

Center Edge Software

Facility Management Software Solutions

Coast to Coast

Coin-operated entertainment, crane machines.

Muncie Novelty Co., Inc.

Admissions, financial equipment, printing and tickets.

Berk Paper & Supply

Concession supplies.

A'maze Ventures, Inc.

Mazes for every location, new and used.

Art Attack

Theming, miniature golf, parade floats, 3D props, air-brushed murals, signage and art panels.

Money Tree - ATM

ATM machines.

GloCones

Flashing cotton candy cones.

CFX Composite & Effects

Special effects make-up and prosthetics

Omega Carpets

Printed carpeting for all your facility needs.

Tarobots

Boxerjocks robotic boxing amusement ride game attraction.

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