How the Asian attractions sector can optimise the guest experience
With the huge proliferation in social sharing platforms in Asia like WeChat and Instagram, consumers are constantly looking to take part in incredible experiences that they can boast about online and in turn, increase their social currency. According to research, the Asia Pacific Region accounts for more than half of all social media users worldwide. 93% of social network users in the region have accessed social media sites on their mobile devices, spending between two and four hours each and every day on these platforms via their mobile devices
This extensive use of social platforms across Asia presents a huge opportunity for the Asian attractions industry. However, in order to capitalise on it, it’s important to offer visitors personalised, highly desirable content that guests will be itching to get hold of and share with friends and family.
The amusement and theme parks industry in Asia has grown exponentially over the years, and in fact, Asia is predicted to become the world’s largest attraction market by 2020 in terms of the number of visitors and value. But despite this growth, it’s important to understand that every region across Asia has its different challenges and opportunities. But they do all have one thing in common – the need to increase guest engagement to ensure visitors remain loyal long after they have left.
When it comes to regional differences, if we look at the North for example – particularly Japan and South Korea – we’re no longer seeing a large amount of growth. With well-established developers currently dominating in this area, North Asia has a mature, stable attractions market.
On the other hand, the attractions industry in Southeast Asia is growing at a rapid rate, and is in fact a significant contributor to the region’s overall growth. With a strong, growing economy, Southeast Asia has become a prime target for investors and theme park owners looking to tap into the wallets of the region’s immerging middle class residents. Countries within the region like Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand are also currently benefiting from a strong tourist economy, meaning we’re seeing a higher investment in attractions.
When it comes to central Asia, mainland China is dominating the market, with research predicting that it will become the largest market for theme parks in the world by 2020, overtaking the US. In 2017 alone, 190 million people visited Chinese amusement parks, recording a growth of 20% compared to the previous year.
Mainland China is currently in the midst of an attractions revolution. With such a high consumer demand for international IPs like Disney, Universal and Six Flags, the country is now seeing more mega parks being built, as well as many smaller, regional attractions, meaning there is a rise in homegrown tourism.
Despite these regional differences, if the amusement and theme parks market in Asia is set to continue growing at the same rate, especially in such a competitive marketplace, they must ensure they are able to keep up with the latest consumer trends – like the importance of selfies and videos – and provide guests with the best and most exciting experiences possible that are shareable for social platforms.
This is especially true for the more immersive, experience-led attractions using new technologies like VR that are becoming more mainstream within attractions in Asia Pacific and all over the world. These experiences are driving the demand for more interactive content that captures guests’ overall virtual experience – something they wouldn’t be able to capture themselves.
But it’s not just about being able to provide content-rich products that will delight and surprise guests. It’s clear from the rise in social platforms mentioned previously that we are now living in a mobile-first world, where consumers expect to receive everything on-demand through the simple touch of a button. Attractions must therefore ensure they are providing guests with the ability to access content straight to their mobile phone that can easily be shared across social media not only during attraction visits, but after.
For too long image capture has been an adjunct to the tourism industry, but with technology advancing at breakneck speed, it has now become intrinsic to the guest experience. By partnering with image capture experts who understand visitors’ needs and the overall market, attractions can remain one step ahead of competition, increase brand reach and create new revenue streams through capturing special moments and memories that guests will be able to relive for years to come.
By Chris Warhust, CEO at Magic Memories