The leisure and attractions industry could be forgiven for thinking that nothing happens after IAAPA in Orlando, except Christmas. What fools they would be to think this way.
blooloopLIVE was the last chocolate in the box in what has been a whirlwind 2019 for the industry, and the Katapult team too. We were honoured to both sponsor and grace the event with our presence. A stellar line-up of speakers from the likes of Disney, Universal, Meow Wolf, The London Resort and Bompas & Parr took to the stage in London to deliver a key theme – transformation.
Transform the whole industry
Joseph Pine, author of The Experience Economy took to the stage first to talk about the influx of new and more competitors into the leisure industry. Pop-up retailers, mobile devices and games consoles are taking time, attention and money away from the ‘traditional’ attractions.
What can be done to ensure market share is safeguarded and grown for these traditional attractions? Joseph Pine points towards “transformation”. Transformation can be achieved by providing radically different and immersive experiences. He pointed towards Disney’s new Star Wars development as a shining example.
Transforming the UK scene
The message was very clear from Chief Executive PY Gerbeau, ‘The London Resort will happen’. Years of speculation and setbacks have been swept aside as PY unveiled the first visuals of the new UK theme park.
Combining the IPs of Paramount Studios, the BBC and ITV, the resort now has a clear pathway to open the first gate by 2024 and make the multi-billion investment very soon. Asked what will make the London Resort thrive, the Frenchman responded with, “human capital is the biggest thing”.
Transforming how we view ourselves
As long distance admirers of Meow Wolf, I was captivated by their creative approach and understanding of the guests desire to ‘explore the unknown’. The museum/gallery/entertainment centre has sent shockwaves through the industry over recent years and Co-Founder Vince’s talk at blooloopLIVE arose the question of how we view art.
Referencing the entrance to their magical world through a fridge door (see above), Vince spoke about the power that they like to give guests. ‘A fridge is normal but walking through a fridge is abnormal, it teaches people that the world can be different. Here’s what your life could be.’ A truly enlightening talk.
Transforming through diversity
Keynote speaker, Joe Rohde from Walt Disney Imagineering spoke about the importance of diversity to transform an experience into something extraordinary. He referenced his fond memories of his first decade in employment with Disney where the make-up of the team included a vast difference of people with unique opinions and skills.
Joe also spoke about the need for immersion into diverse cultures to be able to make a unique experience. His research to design Aulani, Disney’s Hawaii themed resort which used a panel of people from traditional Hawaiian tribes, typifies his approach.
Transforming the senses
The one sense underutilised in the leisure and attractions industry has to be taste – hence the reason why ‘eatertainment’ and themed restaurants have seen such a huge increase in popularity. Bompas & Parr are also capitalising on this trend with food experiences that boggle the mind and defy the guest’s expectations.
With a whiskey bottle in one hand, and liquid nitrogen in the other, the duo took to the stage of the epitome of a corporate conferencing room and blew up a bin full of ping pong balls that created a ‘whiskey cloud’. This, just a sample of the work they are doing with leisure and retail operators to bring taste to the fore.
blooloopLIVE brings together the biggest theme park influencers and allows them to share their insights. Keep an eye on the Blooloop website for details on blooloopLIVE 2020.