Attracting all generations to Theme Parks
When you think of theme parks, you often associate them with excited, joyous children. But this isn’t necessarily true. The rides and attractions and overall experience must meet the expectations of the whole family unit (children, parents and also grandparents). The entire group needs to experience the attraction together.
Attracting the whole family means addressing different generations and with that, different tastes, and stages of life. There are currently 5 biggest generations in the whole family, this includes:
Baby boomers: born between 1946 – 1964 (59 – 68 years old)
Gen X: born between 1965 – 1980 (43 – 58 years old)
Gen Y or Millennials: born between 1981 – 1996 (27 – 42 years old)
Gen Z: born between 1997 – 2012 (11 – 26 years old)
Gen Alpha: born between 2013 – now (under 10 years old)
So, let’s go behind the scenes for each category:
According to the Intergame report the number of visiting ‘Baby Boomers’ in theme parks are increasing. The increase in the number of visiting baby boomers will drive the demand for 4D rides, giant rides, and challenging roller coasters. This will fuel the growth of the global amusement park market during the forecast period.
Popularity of amusement parks in the United States as of 3rd quarter 2022, by generation
Gen X is made up of people who are mostly busy with work and family. Including families with young children or families with teenagers or young adults. To attract families with children of all ages, some of the theme parks incorporate a kid’s area along with the larger rides better suited for teenagers. Remember happy kids, happy parents.
Millennials grew up watching Disney movies, superheroes, and cartoons, and they also followed the entire digital revolution and with that, they were greatly impacted by theme park advertisements – both on TV and on the internet. Currently, we have Millennial parents (78%) and non-parents (75%) and the whole group wants to visit theme parks, either with their children or with friends. IP plays a role in connecting and engaging this audience.
Gen Z is the first generation to grow up in a fully digital world, and they expect connectivity wherever they go. It’s essential to capture this segment right from the beginning – website, socials media so they can find everything they want. Virtual queuing is also a good way to gain the attention of this audience, as this allows guests to step out of physical lines and spend that time in other ways, whether that’s shopping, catching a show or grabbing a bite to eat.
Gen Alpha are the most technologically immersed generation, as they born in the age of TikTok, Instagram, iPads, 5G and electric cars. Since very young they have a smartphone or iPad put into their hands, it seems that they are likely to want virtual reality technology with individual user-controlled motion simulation bases.
Consideration must be given to the elements that can provide comfort, rest, relaxation for all generations. For example, seating and shade areas can be interesting for baby boomers who feel tired during the day, or even for parents and young children who may also need a rest. Landscaping and natural environment elements can appeal to all generations, bringing a relaxing moment or a family photo time.
What savvy marketing can address all generations? Currently, many people have an Instagram account so focusing on social media is a great way to impact the whole group at once. However, it is also important to consider that each generation must be impacted in the place where they are most present. If we analyse gen Alpha and gen Z profiles, and a good part of the Millennials, they are always connected, so the easiest way to find them is on social media, especially Instagram, TikTok and YouTube. Gen X and baby boomers, on the other hand, can be impacted with more traditional marketing methods such as TV, radio or outdoor advertisements.
The economic benefit of attracting “the whole family” can be enormous from a retail, accommodation and F&B spend. Many of the larger parks also operate hotels to provide a one-stop vacation destination for family travellers. In addition, it is important to offer merchandise that appeals to the whole group, from a person dressed as the child’s favourite character, to a personalized snack or t-shirt for the adult.