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Park Operations
With a few bucks at
Merchandising know-how for parks and attractions
stake from every
What will park guests spend on merchandise How early should parks consider associated
visitor, not to
in relation to food and beverage? merchandise when planning a new
mention the added
WK: At Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari, total attraction?
marketing value of
spending for merchandise and games against spending MS: We prefer to be involved at the very beginning of
for F&B (including catered picnics) is 73.8%. a project. We always look to be creative with
branded goods,
RS: Due to the fact that German visitors usually spend merchandise, and often these creative thoughts can
your park’s retail
more time and money for lunch or dinner than, for be integrated into the theming of the attraction itself.
offering should play
example, Americans, the amount which is spent on Often parks build a shop near the attraction, but
merchandise is a bit less than that spent on F&B. forget that the shop needs to be stocked! Themed
an important role
merchandise takes time to develop. Due to lack of
in your pre-season Have you noticed a drop off in merchandise time, standard items or badly themed merchandise
planning. Here Park
sales in recent years due to the economy? can make their way into the shop. This degrades the
World quizzes a
WK: Yes, we have. In 2009, total games and experience and the brand as the merchandise
merchandise per-caps were down 4.5% in comparison represents the park and will be taken home.
handful of
to 2008. RS: There’s a very important planning issue here. We
operators and
RS: No. Actually, we had even more visitors at our park start to think about our merchandise as soon as
suppliers about
compared to previous years, and we noticed stable and possible. Once the theming of the attraction or
their merchandise
even increasing per capita consumption in our themed area is defined, we start our planning in order
merchandise section. to avoid problems regarding the production and
offering delivery of goods, which usually take longer than
What mix do you offer of branded and non- “regular” items.
Our panel is as follows: Will
branded goods? MS: For themed merchandise it is important to have
Koch (WK) is the president of
WK: Most of our T-shirts and a significant portion of enough stock to last the season. When it is sold out,
Holiday World & Splashin'
our hat sales are park logo-ed. We sell a fair amount reproduction time is often too long to cover the
Safari, Santa Claus, Indiana
of park logo-ed pick up souvenir items such as months without stock, especially in high-season.
(, which
magnets, mugs and glassware. On the other hand, However, we prefer not to stock huge quantities that
entertains over 1 million guests
non-logo-ed clothes and convenience items such as will last for years. It gets messy towards the end when
a year. Ralf D Stumpf (RD) is
swimsuits, flip flops, sandals and sunglasses make up a no one is enthusiastic to buy a particular product.
director of shopping at Europa-
significant part of our sales too. I’d guess that logo-ed
Park (,
merchandise sales would represent somewhere around What are your best sellers?
Germany’s largest amusement
50% of our total volume. MS: The products that sell the best at the moment are
park and resort, attracting over
RS: One-third of our turnover is based on non- the same products that sold well for the last 10 years!
4 million annual guests. Jim
branded goods, one third on branded merchandise These include double wall tumblers, soft PVC
Chapman (JC) is sales
and one third on sweets and candy. keychains and snow globes. More and more parks
manager with Family Fun
are also realising that merchandise will bring revenue
Companies in Illinois
Should parks develop their own characters to not only through the shops, but also in restaurants.
encourage better merchandise sales? This includes the sale of items such as melamine
which operates three parks/FECs
MS: We feel that custom made characters are part of a plates, conical drinking cups with straws and shaped
in the Chicago area including
park’s identity. When only standard merchandise is cups for ice cream.
Enchanted Castle and Haunted
sold, the competition is much stronger. This means RS: Our all-time best sellers are plush toys and on-
Trails, as well as manufacturing
price will also be an issue. Fortunately, we specialise in ride photos, offered at the exit of various attractions.
its own redemption machines.
small quantities, which makes it possible for parks to WK: The best sellers are our logo-ed T-shirts,
Melanie Simons (MS) is
have their own character and create stronger branding however sales of swimwear, sunglasses and footwear
commercial director of Imagic in
to distinguish themselves from other parks in the at our Splashin’ Safari waterpark continue to amaze
the Netherlands
market. me. Also toys and jewellery
(, an
established producer of themed
merchandise concepts whose
clients include Efteling,
Phantasialand and the Vienna
Prater. Ed Bush (EB) represents
Jersey Shore Imports
( in
New Jersey, which sells sports
jerseys and other apparel to the
amusement industry throughout
North America.
Plush toys in the Middle East Candy counters are a good earner for Family Fun Companies
MARCH 2010
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