Attraction Profile

to the collection so we now have a large barn with 17 lovingly restored, working rides. In 2002 we began developing the zoo area. Since 2013 we have added penguins, lions and critically endangered Eastern black rhino. These have been big projects with world class enclosures so have required heavy investment in infrastructure and staff.” That investment has been rewarded with visitor numbers at

around 5,000 a day during the peak season. As well as investment in its zoo, the firm has also added more rides and attractions. “We have four sections to the park – the zoo, the barn

and farm, the vintage fairground and the indoor and outdoor play. We’ve used Taylor Made and Flights and Fantasy for our playground attractions. “In the zoo, people love the penguins, the Jolly Barn on

the farm area and the Golden Gallopers in our fairground. “We’ve just had planning permission to build a holiday village which is a natural extension to our business so visitors can stay and play at Folly Farm. We’re also looking to

Winning Willows

Willows Farm in Hertfordshire recruited theming specialist Lappset to create an entire Peter Rabbit themed section in the park which has lead to an increase in visitor numbers and gate receipts…. Lappset’s Robert Hetherington, explains how the project came into being: “We believed there was a place in the farm attraction market for the right IP. Peter Rabbit, with its evergreen brand profile of 120 years and natural settings and animal characters, fitted the profile perfectly and so we approached Silvergate Media, IP owner. We created our concept and sought partnership permission to approach the market on their behalf. “Willows was the perfect location to approach as it is extremely well run and is in the ‘top league’ in

UK Farm Attractions. It has an extremely high quality offering and approximately 500,000 visitors. Andrew Wolfe and his team were an ideal partner for Silvergate Media and also Lappset.” “They approached us and I have to admit it wasn’t really on our radar at the time,” says Willows chief

executive, Andrew Wolfe. “Farm parks are local businesses and even the best ones won’t pull people from further afield. That’s

why you add IP. It was an opportunity to extend our catchment area. “We were happy with where we were going and had plans to increase our numbers and prices, but it

was a really good opportunity and it gave us the ability to widen the catchment area and lower the age range of the children we wanted to attract so we could be busier from Monday to Friday and in term time.”

“Over the two years we spent around £1m on the Peter Rabbit content and another £1m other stuff to support the extra price we are charging. We went from £15-£20. We also rebranded some existing stuff and increased the capacity on certain parts too. “The whole thing probably took around 18 months and it was

pretty easy. Lappset and the licensor Silvergate were very enjoyable to work with. We sat down with them and came up with some concepts for the main play area and looked at what we could also rebrand - the show stage and the theatre for instance. Our role play area was reconfigured to be Cotton Tail Village. So 30-40 per cent of the park is now Peter Rabbit themed. “From a pricing point of view it has allowed to get rid of our

two for one discount and increase prices without any noise from our customers. We lost a bit of volume initially and a proportion on the two for ones but we knew that would happen. And that is now coming back. We’ve recruited a new head of marketing and we are now ratcheting up that activity and we are probably 20 per cent ahead in the first quarter in both revenue and visitor numbers.”

APRIL 2017


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