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keep increasing visitor numbers by just targeting one particular age group.”


Family-friendly


“Only about 50% of our visitors ride the big rollercoasters,” observes Henrik B Nielsen, director of Djurs Sommerland in Denmark, which last month doubled the size of is former children's area by opening the 10,000 square-metre Bondegårdsland (Farm Land) featuring 10 new attractions.“I would actually say it's more of a family-orientated area than a kids’ area,” he explains. “We had an area that was only for the very small kids. The typical family might family come with the two kids; one is three-years-old and the other eight, something like that. The small kid wants to be in the kids area, but then the older kid wants to go and ride the family rollercoaster or the rapids. Therefore we thought it would be good if we tried to a family area that caters to everyone up to 10 or 11 years of age.” “We are currently spending 70% of our investment in the


target age below 10 years,” says Lund at Kongeparken. “This trend is driven by a clear understanding in our company that we can not be best in our segment if we are not very targeted in reference to a age group. Second is that it is very challenging to balance the thrill for youth and the need for tranquillity and togetherness for families.” Nielsen tells us that the offer of 10 new rides – including


a family rollercoaster – has given Djurs Sommerland a very strong message when it comes to marketing Bondegårdsland, but can a kids/family area really compete with a big coaster in terms of headline-grabbing potential? “That’s like comparing apples to oranges,” says Scheid. “Each has its own place in a theme park. We provide thrills at Kings Island with coasters like Banshee but Planet Snoopy certainly has an audience too.” Duncan Phillips is convinced of the power of children's


attractions, for a number of reasons: “Obviously the target market for a major ride is very different to that for a themed or branded children’s area, but the latter would still provide the park operator with many marketing opportunities. As well as helping to increase visitor numbers, other plus points are increased per-cap spend, increased merchandise sales, more party bookings, opportunities for winter opening and so on.” ”The growth in attendance often is not as strong as a major coaster etc, but if you do it right and tell the right story, the longevity will be much greater,” adds Lund.


IP or not IP? When combined with a recognised intellectual property, as many new children's lands have been in recent years, the marketing potential is enormous. “You only have to look at the likes of Drayton Manor with Thomas Land or Paultons Park with Peppa Pig World in the UK to see what can be achieved when a strong brand is introduced and the related area really well done, observes Phillips. “Thomas the Tank Engine is such a wonderful character and has such a wide appeal, not just in the UK but across the globe,” smiles William Bryan at England’s Drayton Manor. Since taking over from his father Colin as managing director this season, William has overseen the introduction of a £2 million ($2.5m/€2.4m) extension to Thomas Land, firmly convinced of the brand's staying power. “Because it is 70 years old, there are many people that go through their


JUNE 2015 “


ABOVE: La Forêt d’Idéfix at Parc Astérix features mini versions of big rides, such as this junior flume ride by Reverchon


Obviously


the target market for a major ride is very different to that for a themed or branded children’s area, but the latter would still provide the park operator with many marketing opportunities


Duncan Phillips, DP Associates





CBeebies Land, Alton Towers (UK)


Bamses Värld, Kolmården, Sweden 43


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