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Attractions management

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    Executive Summary

    China economic grows rapidly in coastal cities especially Guangdong province in recent decades. Due to the increasing disposable income of Chinese it leads to a drastic competition among theme parks in tourism industry. Guangdong Chimelong Group is one of leading tourism enterprises in Guangdong Province and the Xiangjiang Safari Park is well known for a variety of animal species.

    According to the statistic provided by the safari park, there are 1,200,000,000 visitors recorded in 4 theme parks (Xiangjiang Safari Park, Chimelong Paradise, Chimelong Water Park and Guangzhou Crocodile Park) over the past year and most visitors are Chinese families. It is believed that there is an intense demand of theme park in China and domestic tourist flow is the main source of tourists for the Chimelong Group. Hence, theme parks catering for Chinese families become a potential and profitable market. In this report, market study of the Xiangjiang Safari Park is undergone.

    Characteristics and behavior of target market shows that there is inadequate interaction between animals and tourists particularly children in the safari park. Also, children are crucial influencers towards parent leisure decision. Based on the analysis, a new attraction “Petting Park” is designated for the target group’s needs. Hence, Petting Park will stress on “edutainment” concept which is educational value and entertainment brought to children. Getting close contact with baby animals is the main feature of the attraction.

    It aims to satisfy target customers’ needs and increase visitor retention. Table of content Introduction Theme park is an important component in travel industry as an attraction. These days, theme park industry in China is developing rapidly. There are over 2,500 theme parks around China. However, there are 70% of them suffer from loss, including the Xiangjiang Safari Park. In order to increase the number of visitors thus to increase the profit, a new attraction – the Petting Park is chosen to be built in Guangzhou Xiangjiang Safari Park.

    The Petting Park is a newly designed attraction mainly targeting family with children. It is aimed to attract both new and repeated visitors. Objectives The main objective of this proposal is to increase the visitor number of Xiangjiang Safari Park. It is expected to increase 600000 (5% out of the total visitors in 2010) visitors in coming year through attracting more family customers and increasing repeated customers. Measurement of objectives A 5% increase in customer retention can increase business profits by 25% – 85%. (Jang & Feng, 2007: Gitelson&Crompton,1984).

    According to the studies, there is a positive relationship between satisfaction and revisit intention (Kozak, 2001; Yuksel, 2001; Baker & Crompton, 2000). Therefore, it can increase customers’ satisfaction and create customers’ loyalty through the product enhancement. Measurement of Satisfaction As suggested by Oliver (1980), consumers would develop expectations and compare them with the actual performance. If the actual performance exceeds expectation, a positive disconfirmation will occur. Consumers are highly satisfied and will be more willing to repurchase the same products, vice versa (See Figure 1).

    Figure 1: the Expectation-Disconfirmation Paradigm In addition, the repeated customers represent more than just a stable source of revenues, but also act as “information channels that informally link networks of friends, relatives and other potential travelers to a destination” (Reid and Reid,1993, p. 3). They can provide a potential for free advertising (word of mouth). Therefore, it can both increase the market share and keep the loyal customers. Methodology This is a descriptive quantitative research study with the objective to increase the visitor number of Xiangjiang Safari Park.

    In order to conduct analysis, evaluation and provide recommendation, both primary data and secondary data are collected in this study. Primary data A field trip was made to Xiangjiang Safari Park on 27 February 2011. We randomly picked up some families with children to have brief conversation asking about their main motivation of purchasing the product. Besides, we had an in-depth observation to observe the tourist characteristics and the products performance in Safari Park by divided our group members in pairs.

    Secondary Data In order to support this study, secondary data was searched from the libraries of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University and Hong Kong Public Library Statistics concerning the expectation of family visiting theme park. In addition, books, journals, newspaper and statistical reports are reviewed, summarized and quoted in various sections in this report. Background information Main Product The Xiangjiang safari park in under the Chimelong group and opened in 1997. It is located at Guangzhou Panyu (Appendix 1).

    It is biggest animal theme park in China (2000 hectares) and divided into several zones; they are Perform Area, White Tiger Hill, Dragon Hill, Monkey Hill, Australia Zone and Self-drive Scenic Spot (Appendix 2). The main feature of Self-drive Scenic Spot is that tourists can closely watch the wild animals by driving their own cars or taking train. Also, white tigers, parrots performance can be seen in Perform Area. Moreover, nearly 460 species can be found in the safari park and some are even recognized as endangered species in the world. Positioning Strategy Aiming at “protecting wildlife, protecting natural resources”, the safari

    park positions itself as wildlife conservation, educational and entertaining theme park. It becomes one of the most successful animal theme parks in the region as there are over ten millions tourists accumulated to visit since its opening. Existing Target Market The safari park provides entertainment facilities with education and wildlife conservation purpose, it targets local and overseas visitors especially families with children. Their main target is family as it can be found that most of the tourists are families with children during the visiting (Appendix 3). Market Study

    Analysis of the importance of attributes and the evaluation of the performance is a vital step for the management and further improvement in a competitive environment nowadays (Choi & Chu, 2000). Conducting market studies can help to find out the potential customers and strategically important for product innovation that further satisfy the visitors. Opportunity China carries the largest population in the world. Accompany with the rapid economic development, the income level and living standard of Chinese have been raised. China’s economy resumed its annual double-digit growth by expanding 10.

    3 percent in 2010 (Chinese stock information). According to the National Bureau of Statistics of China, the domestic tourism and expenditure are increasing from 524 million to 1712 million tourists and RMD$195. 3 to RMD$511(1994 to 2008). China is still the greatest potential market. One Child Policy has been enforced since 1979 and it requires all couples in Mainland China to have no more than one child. Under this policy, parents spoil their only child, leading them to behave like “little emperors” and put their child’s preference into first priority (Falbo &Poston, 1993).

    Thus, it can be an opportunity to develop a children-oriented attraction. Threats According to the report of World Tourism Organization (1999), China will be biggest world outbound country by 2020, and Zhang and Lam (1999) also claimed that China outbound tourists would play a critical and important role globally. Mainland consumers have more choices as the number of countries granting Approved Destination Status (ADS) for China outbound increase from 14 in 2000 to 81 in March 2006 (Kim et al. , 2006).

    Therefore, the increasing choices of vacation destinations and the expansion of international destinations may affect and snatch the target customers. Strength There are large varieties of animals, such as white tigers, pandas, elephants, and giraffes and have many zoologist with professional knowledge. And it is found that there are many staffs on duty in each zone. They provide useful information to the visitors and enhance the overall service experience. Weakness Interactivity is considered as a way to impress visitors and enhance visitors’ satisfaction. However, interacted activities are limited in Safari Park.

    Despite the fact that they can feed the white tigers and play with them during the White Tiger Show, and can drive the car by themselves in the zone of Safari On Wheels, it is not enough for such great number of visitors, especially for children. Competitor Analysis Xiangjiang Safari Park has a direct competitor, Safari Park Shenzhen. Safari Park Shenzhen is the first safari park in China. It is opened in 1993 in Shenzhen, with history of eighteen years. The park contains a large variety of animals with more than three hundred types. One of the main focuses will be its Beasts Float Parade every day.

    Name Xiangjiang Safari Park Safari Park Shenzhen Theme Safari park Location Guangdong province Target customers Family with children Main products Different animals exhibit zones and performances Features White tigers, over 400 species wildlife Ocean World, Beasts Float Parade, 5D cinema Table 1: the comparison between Xiangjiang Safari park and Safari Park Shenzhen It is essential to undergo competitor analysis. Many competitors make quality to seek competitive advantage and find ways to differentiate themselves and their product (Mei, Dean and White, 1999).

    By doing so, Xiangjiang Safari Park can figure out what is the competitive advantage of its competitor and at the same time discover something that its competitor doesn’t have in order to stand out from others. Product differentiation which at the same time suits the target market is the key to attract more customers. Characteristics and behavior of the target market After the study, China’s family will still be the potential market in coming years. Thus, the new attraction tends to increase visitor retention (family) and attract more family tourists in order to increase the visitor number.

    Adapting to the changes in consumer’s tastes and preferences will be the key of success (Milman, 2001). Therefore, it is needed to study the needs and expectation of the target customers. Parents’ Expectation Children are catalyst in generating a family visit to an attraction. Although they usually are not the decision makers, they always are the important influencers. It shows that nearly 90 percent of parents think that children influence their vacation decision making (Yesawich 2001). Likewise, Turley (2001) has a study to indicate that children are the determinant of demand and primary influence in vacation activities e.

    g. visiting zoos. Hence, children drive the motivation of parents to visit the Safari Park. Children’ Expectation From many people’s prospective, zoo is a kind of “Children Oriented” facilities (Turley 2001). Turley’s study stated that potential visitors highly consider whether a zoo can pleasure their children or not. “Play” is always the first priority to motivate children owing a product (McNeal 1999). In a study, it indicates that children usually feel bored with sightseeing and visiting which have no excitement (Nickerson & Jurowski 2000).

    However, most of the designs and activities are just like window displays with limited interaction in Xiangjiang Safari Park. Children’s needs Children would prefer a store that can physically fit their biological limitations, such as eye-level displays of products (McNeal 1999). The study implies that children want kids-friendly atmosphere in safari park. However, Xiangjaing Safari Park has not done a good job on satisfying the needs of children. Thus, the safari park requires attraction in theme park that can fit their needs and biological limitations. Educational Expectation

    Indeed, family activity with educational value is one of the most important elements to motivate parents and kids to theme parks (McClung, 1991 & Wong, 1996 as citied in Tam, 2004). It was believed that families are seeking the Edutainment which means the combined element of education and entertainment (Kraff, 1995). Misbehaviors of children in Rabbit Palace With such a great number of visitors of different background and lifestyle, misbehaviors are easily found in crowd. For instance, the curiosities towards rabbits drive children to grab them and drag them away for further investigation.

    Parents are eager to take photos for their children with rabbits and cannot spare time to teach their children taking good care of rabbits. Actually, the crowd and plaintive wail from the rabbit may already ruin visitors’ interactive experience with animals and their willingness to visit again. Base on “The Development and Management of Visitor Attractions”, families with young children’s main benefits sought are the entertainment for children and special children’s facilities (Swarbrooke, 2002). Therefore, the new attraction should satisfy the expectation and needs of families. Business Idea

    Petting Park According to previous analysis, the Xiangjiang Safari Park cannot fully meet the target group’s expectation and needs. Children usually feel bored when they visit attractions. Meanwhile, there is not enough interaction with animals when they are participating in activities designated for children. As family with children is the target customers, it is crucial for the safari park to cater the customers’ needs as children are important influencers towards parents’ leisure decision. Moreover, parents stress more on educational value and unique experience on attraction.

    Edutainment is a main idea of the new attraction — Petting Park. For entertainment, Petting Park can provide an opportunity for children to have close contact with mild animals, even feed them directly to create the interaction. For education, tour guides and information about animals will be provided to enhance the educational value. Children can learn how to take good care of animals and learn self-disciplines. Safety issue is another major concern to parents. Parents may worry about the offensive instinct of wild animals and the infectious disease from animals.

    The new attraction will avoid including aggressive animal species e. g. white tigers, monkeys. Mild animals like goats, sheep, ponies and donkeys are included. They are all infants and are safe for children. Also, automatic hand sterilizing machines will be installed to ensure health condition. Location Selection Well selection of a location is an important issue for developing a new facility. As the Petting Park mainly targets families with children, the location must be convenience to match their needs. Thus, the new facility will be developed inside the “Children’s Area” (Appendix 4).

    The reasons behind are two. One is that it can create synergy effect. Synergy effect mean “1+1>2”, two or more facilities combined can create greater results. For the Children’s Area, it provides some rides which suit children with different theme which can fulfill the needs of excitement and entertainment. For the new facility “Petting Park”, it has higher educational values, letting the families with children to have a close experience and interaction with animals. The park inside the Children’s Area” is more convenient for the target group. The second point is it can enlarge the park.

    As per the map of the Safari Park, most of the areas are already well developed. If the new facility is developed on the current area of the park, space between different facilities will become too crowded and it will cause trouble on the flow of visitors. Thus, it is necessary to develop on new land. Size and opening hour The Opening Hour of Petting Park is from 9:30am to 6pm. Each session will be 30 minutes and there can be divided into 19 sessions each day. Assuming that 100 visitors will be entered in each session, almost 1900 visitors can visit the Petting Park every day The size of the Petting Park will be 9000 meter-square.

    It is capable to accommodate 100 visitors in each session and visitors will not feel crowd while visiting. Visitors will feel satisfied with the attraction since they can see and feed the different animals within the session. It was believed that the petting park has sufficient capacity ability. Site Design Half-opened area Velarium or canopy made from straw and wood will be used as a large shelter covering the whole park. It can match the other area in the Safari Park making a unique and consistent theme and create natural feeling. Such element is to prevent visitors from over exposure to sunshine or rain so as to create additional value.

    Separated Entrance and exit Two doors will be built for the Petting Park, one for entrance and one for exist. It helps separate visitors, thus crushes and chaos can be avoided. Besides, it is easier for staff to manage, to classify which group has finished, which has just entered (Appendix 5). Dispersed route Four zones are set dispersedly which can make good use of the area inside comparing with concentration of four zones together. More space can be created for each zone equally. Therefore people need not to condense in one corner crowdedly. Specially designed signage

    Signage with animal cartoons will be hanged on the fences to introduce the animals. Instead of using normal words, cartoons are chosen to fit this children-oriented attraction as to match their level. Also, some warning signage will be shown to let them be aware of what should do and what should not do. Parents can at the same time indoctrinate correct behavior to their children. Supplementary Facilities Vending Machines Tourists can have a feeding experience inside the attraction. In order to ensure the health of the animals, food should be provided by the theme park, such as grass, hay and crackers.

    They are packed in vacuum package and put into the vending machines so as to maintain the quality of the food. The vending machines can reduce the requirement of manpower. Also, the vending machines will be installed near the entrance of different zones. Tourists can buy the food to fed animals before they enter each zone. Automatic Hand Sanitizer Machine In order to ensure hygienic condition, automatic hand sanitizer machines will be installed. Two of them are installed at the entrance and two are installed at the exit. Each tourist is required to use hand sanitizer to clean their hands before entering the park.

    According to the Staff & Guest Perceptions of The Importance of Theme Park Attributes in an Asian Theme Park, tourists treat cleanliness as the most important attribute when ranking the park. Queue Management Waiting experience is a part of service experience which poses direct influence to visitors’ satisfaction, as well as visitor retention. Waiting is unavoidable but manageable by using the psychology of waiting (David H. Maister). Issuing Fast pass Issuing the Fast pass helps attractions to predict the number of visitors in specific time slot in order to avoid overcrowding.

    It helps to arrange adequate manpower. For visitors, they can arrange their schedule in a more flexible way and enhance the control of the waiting time. They can visit more attractions and the “supposed” waiting time can be occupied. Posting waiting times in the entrance By posting waiting times, it helps to increase the certainty about the length of waiting and reduce the anxiety of walk-in visitors. With known and finite waiting time, visitors will psychologically perceive that it is shorter than uncertain waiting time. Queues built into the Petting Park Queues are built around the petting area.

    It lets the visitors think they are already inside the Park and they only have to wait for a short while to experience the attraction. The interaction between animals and other visitors act as attractive scenes to enhance the sense of anticipation of waiting guests and in-process waiting normally feels shorter. Conclusion In order to maintain the competitiveness of the Xiangjiang Safari Park and increase the number of visitors, Petting Park is suggested to build as a new attraction. The Petting Park is expected to attract new family visitors and repeat visitors.

    Satisfying the customers’ needs and expectation is the key success of enhancing the visitors’ loyalty and they will tend to visit again. As educational value becomes more and more important for parents to choose a theme park, the Petting Park contains both educational and entertainment element. All the site design, location and opening hour are designed to achieve the objectives that are set before, attracting family visitors so as to increase the number of visitors and profit. It is believed that the Petting Park can help increasing the predicted visitor number. Reference 1.

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    net 20. Swarbrooke,J. (2002). The Developent and Management of Visitor Attraction, 2nd edition, Oxfored: Butterworth Heinemann 21. Tam, W. K. (2004). Segmenting the theme park market in Hong Kong: A motivation-Based Approach. Dissertation. The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. 22. Turley,S,K. (2001). Children and the demand for recreational experiences: the Case of Zoos. Leisure Studies, 20(1), 1-18. 23. World Tourism Organization. (1999). Tourism, 2020 vision: executive summary undated. 24. Yesawich,Pepperdine & Brown. (2001). Portrait of Family Travel. Orlando, F. L.

    : Yesawich, Pepperdine & Brown. 25. Yuksel, A. (2001). Managing customer satisfaction and retention: A case of tourist destinations, Turkey. Journal of Vacation Marketing, 7(2), 153-168. 26. Zhang, Q. H. ,&Lam, T. (1999). An analysis of Mainland Chinese visitor’s motivation to visit Hong Kong. Tourism Management, 20,587-594 Appendix Appendix 1: the location Xiangjiang Safari Park Appendix 2: the main products of Xiangjiang Safari Park Appendix 3: the existing target customers of Xiangjiang Safari Park Appendix4: the location of Petting Park Appendix 5: the floor plant of Petting Park

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