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Visitor Attractions Management Individual Report

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Coursework Details
Module Name and Code Visitor Attractions Management (MANM050)
Coursework Title Assignment 2 – Individual Report
Deadline Monday, 18 May 2015, 16:00 Word Count 2261
Student Details
Student URN(7 digit number on Uni card) Student Name Programme Tourism Management
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Visitors Attraction Management Report

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Executive Summary
This study comprises the assessment of two crucial areas. The first is the lack of areas to attract children and the elderly population. The second evaluation refers to the challenges concerning the perception of queuing times and queues in Thorpe Park. The investigation lead to the following conclusions:
a) To enlarge the park’s customer base, and appeal to children and the elderly, the park should invest on activities that enforce the cooperation and bonding among families. A positive way to achieve the presented goal would be offering leisure activities that focus on cooperative activities that strengthen the family’s bonds.
b) The research noticed that the park’s queueing system is not working correctly, and certain measures have to be taken. For instance, to reduce the perception of time and the physical exertion that comes with waiting on a line, the park should use strategies that distract the customers, making waiting less taxing. In the same way, the research considers that substituting the flooring in the waiting areas and providing cover to the people queuing would prove an effective measure against tiredness and boredom.

1. Thorpe Park Marketing Challenge Analysis 6
1.1 Challenge Identification and Evidence 6
1.2 Recommendations 8
2. Thorpe Park Operation Management Challenge Analysis 9
2.1 Challenge Identification and Evidence 10
2.2 Recommendations 11
3. Conclusions 12
4. References 13

1. Thorpe Park Marketing Challenge Analysis
“Our strategy is to create a high growth, high return, family Entertainment Company based on strong brand and a portfolio that is naturally balanced against the impact of external factors.” (Merlin Entertainments, 2014) Merlin Entertainments, the owner of Thorpe Park, is the biggest entertainment company operating in Europe. It aims to become the worldwide leader in branded, location-based family entertainment. However, Thorpe Park lacks several elements to attract whole families and its members. This assessment focuses on identifying two of those issues and offer possible solutions.
1.1 Challenge Identification and Evidence
According to Kurtz (2010), the target market is a customer towards a group that aims its marketing efforts and finally its goods by business. That way, a well-defined target market is one of the most useful factors to take into account concerning adequate marketing strategies. In fact, Target markets could be separated by location segmentation; psychographic segmentation; behavioral segmentation, demographic/socioeconomic segmentation and product-related segmentation (Cohen, 2005).

Figure1. Relationship of the total available market, served an available market, target market (Cohen, 2005).
Marketers have sketched out four essential techniques to fulfill target markets: undifferentiated marketing or separated marketing; mass promoting; micromarketing, and concentrated marketing (Cohen, 2005). While the most applied one is a differentiated marketing strategy (Kurtz, 2010). Differentiated marketing strategy refers to the strategy where a company decides to provide separate offerings to different market segments to appeal different groups and locations (Cohen, 2005). That way, the park attracts various sectors of the population, obtaining higher profits.
The management team of Thorpe Park positions itself as family entertainment business based on the local communities. Thorpe Park already has diverse products in its facilities; adding new ones steadily (Merlin, 2014). For example, in the year 2014, the ANGRY BIRDS Land and 4D experience was placed northwest of the Thorpe Park and The Thorpe Shark Hotel (Merlin, 2014). The management team of Thorpe Park aims to create a place where family members can have fun together and while promoting family members’ relationship.
The research shows the first challenge found within the park structure is the failure to attract the desired target market. Upon closer examination, the attractions in Thorpe Park cater to adults and teenagers but they do not attract families. That way, the first challenge the park faces is to restructure their target market to appeal to couples or single parents and their children.
The park lacks facilities aimed at children; elderly people and those out of shape. Due to the lack of leisure entertainment projects, some families with children are unable to enjoy most of the recreational facilities in the park. This causes that a substantial amount of customers stay at the coffee shop or play a small number of simple games, which reduces the Park revenue and hinders customers’ satisfaction. That way, the park only caters for a sector of the population, leaving a sizeable amount of prospective clients outside; preventing the management from achieving its long-term strategy of attracting children and the elderly (van Heerd, van Oest and Dekimpe, 2009).
1.2 Recommendations
According to the mentioned challenge; several suggestions are given to attract different kinds of customers.
Given the fact that borders are disappearing between amusements and dining parks, it could be an intelligent idea to incorporate dining areas related to the park, instead of offering food options that do not necessarily go with the park’s vision. Examples such as NASCAR Cafe and Rain Forest Café that are a part restaurant; part historical center, and part funhouse show us the new trends. That way, integrating amusement park with the leisure industry is a main trend in the amusements industry (Clavé, 2007)
The faster tempo of modern life leads most families to spend less time together. Given the fact that the average person enjoys few vacation days; weekends become an excellent opportunity to promote family time.
According Petrick, Morais and Norman (2001) investigation concerning the willing of a park visitants to revisit it, it has concluded that, about 60% people among 30-40 looks for a place where they could have quality family entertainment. That way, it becomes clear that most families are looking for a place where they could relax and treat their children with a fun day at the park (Waghenheim & Anderson, 2008). That way, combining amusement park and leisure activities are the way to win the market and appeal the sectors mentioned above.
Second, building projects that feature parent-children interaction would be a good way to create that bonding experience the park wants its customers to have. That way, the park would appeal larger crowds of parents with their children. (Barb Nefer, 2015). Amusement projects like these will train families’ cooperation skills; featuring activities that boost the confidence and the interfamilial relationships.
Finally, events tourism such as shows; carnivals and community fairs might add vitality to the park; while enhancing its appeal for tourists (Zmyslony, 2011). Events tourism can be defined as the systematic development and marketing of special events as tourist attractions and as image builders for destinations’ (Zmyslony, 2011). That way, catering to the crowds attracted by these prospective events would revitalize the park, adding value to it for prospective families as a place to spend their weekends.
2. Thorpe Park Operation Management Challenge Analysis
In economics “The prices of related goods, consumer incomes, consumer tastes, and advertising are among the factors that we expect would influence the demand for a typical product. However, the demand curve focuses only on the relationship between the price of the good and the quantity of the good demanded.” (Besanko & Breautigan, 2011)
The relationship between supply and demand has been researched extensively in the economy, and it is one of the staples of economic theory. The relationship works in the following way. The more offer, the less demand and vice versa.
In Thorpe Park, the relationship can be interpreted differently based on the services it offers. Given its position as one of the greatest parks in the world, the Park receives thousands of visitors each year. This, and the services it offers can be perceived as the supply. In the same way, the demand can be seen as the amounts of visitors the park receives each year.
Research shows that the sheer amount of visitors has created a problem in the queuing system in the park. This situation makes up for a significant part of the perceived discomfort within the customers. This indicates that when individuals consider that they do not have control over their time, they become unhappy; frustrated and annoyed (Chu et al., 2014)
Going to an amusement park does not have to be an annoying activity. However, there is a handful of situations that make amusement parks at least slightly uncomfortable. Queuing, for instance, can be physically and psychologically taxing for customers of all ages (Carver and Scheier, 2001). The amusement industry attracts 320 million people who visit the U.S. amusement parks each year. That makes for a $13-billion industry where any uncomfortable situation could negatively affect its growing (Ledbetter et al., 2013).
The following part will discuss the problem related to supply and demand in the park, as well as its effects on the design of the waiting areas and how they impact the perception of queuing in Thorpe Park.
2.1 Challenge Identification and Evidence
“Time-saving and convenience are commonly mentioned by consumers as among the most important motivations for purchasing a service. However, waiting to be served may neutralise potential benefits and negatively affect attitudes toward the quality of service” (Jones, 2005).
According to Jones research, customers perceive waiting time as longer as it is. That is why certain devices such as mirrors in the elevator wait areas are used to create the illusion of faster-waiting lines (Jones, 2005).
In the same way, there are certain tasks that are taxing and can hinder people’s perception of time, making it longer or shorter. That way, certain strategies can be taken to play with how humans perceive time. (Muhammad et al, 2014) According to Meister, who is one of the precursors of time perception in queuing environments, there are a series of ways to minimize the perception of queues and enhance the perceived satisfaction of the customers (Meister, 1985).
This part of the assessment intends to build up a scientific categorization on how the negative effect of queuing can be diminished; altering the subjective perception of time within Thorpe Park.
In the beginning, the assessment shows that although the park has a substantial amount of visitors, queues are not properly managed. Some visitors make difficult for the park staff to manage properly the queues and keep the visitors happy. That is why, visitors have to wait for most attractions an average of 30 minutes (Fig. 2).
The park has a good system to calculate a number of time people would spend queuing, and have calculated the time with throughputs. Nevertheless, the waiting environment is poorly managed. Empirical research shows that most attractions’ waiting areas are uncomfortable and offer no distractions.
3095625397192528028901435735-2381251427480This diminishes the perception of satisfaction regardless the entry fee or the general enjoyment of the park (Geissler & Rucks, 2014) At noon, customers wait under the sun, and there are not commodities to help them protecting from the heat. That experience does nothing but lowers the satisfaction customers’ satisfaction, making an improvement of the park waiting system, something necessary.
Figure 2. The queue in Thorpe Park
2.2 Recommendations
At a first glance, the problem in Thorpe Park is related to supply and demand. Clearly the amount of visitors the park receives, exceed the park’s capacity and managerial staff. That is why, queues as the manifestation of supply and demand, hold such importance in this report.
Demand indicators such as the number of arrivals; the number of participants and tourism preferences are easily feasible and basing on an empirical analysis ( , Thorpe Park receives a myriad of guests daily, which while economically positive can be a problem when the demand exceeds the supply. That is why, this assessment focuses on the problem of queues and lines as the main manifestation of the high demand and low supply.
As stated at the beginning of the report, Thorpe Park is among the most important parks in the world. That way, to understand the relationship between supply and demand in the park, it is capital to understand the relationship of its existing resources (Formica, 2006). Cultural importance; natural attractiveness and historical importance are the main points to understand the issue of supply and demand in Thorpe Park. The park’s location combines both the natural appeal and manmade elements that make it one of the most important destinations in Europe.
For queues to be perceived as less long, or uncomfortable, guests should be offered different tasks where they could occupy their minds in various activities to activate the dual-task managing processes (Ledbetter et al., 2013).
That way, customers would perceive waiting time as shorter. To achieve this goal, the park should offer interactive devices that could ease the effects of queuing. Also, given that comfort plays a capital role in waiting, providing methods to alleviate the fatigue of standing on a line can be crucial to improving the queuing system. The unhappiest lines are those who are most uncomfortable, and report a longer perceived time, contrasting with the real time that has passed (Ledbetter et al., 2013).
On the same hand, assessing the amount of the customers’ fatigue is capital when analyzing the waiting lines. Relaxed individuals report higher satisfaction, and relaxed individuals work in an ideal state. The same happens with clients in the park. Research supports the opinion that relaxation during queuing times can make time pass “faster” (Ledbetter et al., 2013).
Therefore, if environmental factors within the waiting areas can be changed to provide a greater amount of comfort, customers will report higher levels of well-being. In the same way, the use of shock-absorbing surfaces will surely diminish the perception of tiredness as this kind of floors offer better support to the knees and the spinal cord (Wiggerman & Kayserling, 2014). Last, planting trees would also improve the time perception while on a queue. Green is known to bring a positive effect on people as well as providing cover from the sun. (Gorn et al., 2004).
However, the main issue of this recommendation is the fact that the park has issues to manage the queues. It is clear demand has surpassed the offer, and the park is simply not capable of having more clients. This issue requires a closer examination as it is the root of all the problems concerning queuing in the park. That way, knowledge of the market’s origins; interests and habits would help in preventing and addressing the issue of the number of guests the park can handle while remaining economically viable
3. Conclusion
After the assessment, Thorpe Park’s needs are clear. It needs a better management of the lines and queues. The park does not seem to understand the importance of managing the tiredness and boredom of its customers. Although those sensations can prove hard to spot, with correct managing, the inconveniences the customers might experience can diminish, increasing satisfaction and return rates.
In the same way, the park does not seem to be a family destination. To change that, the park would have to benefit from event tourism; and the possibilities of attracting families by offering leisure services such as food and drinks concession stands. In the same way, although attractions such as Angry Birds have attracted children, their parents and caretakers do not have attractions that appeal to them. That lack of facilities aimed to cater the adults’ needs is another issue that needs to be changed in order to revitalize the park.4. References
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Clavé, S.A., 2007. The Global Theme Park Industry 1st ed., Wallingford, UK: CABI.
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Merlin Entertainment, 2014. Thorpe Park. Thorpe Park. Available from: [Accessed 21 August 2015].
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