The center has not generated the attendance they predicted and the attendance even dropped during the second year of operations, which resulted in the short fall of revenue. The Center has also received some negative publicity due to road access issues, implementation of the new parking fee and government funding having to assist with loans.
The Center also increased their prices after only one year in business. The Board of Directors of the U. S. National Whitewater Center has to determine how to increase their revenue and manage their debt to ensure a successful future for ICONIC. Many strategic issues need to be addressed: pricing of activities, types of activities offered, number and frequency of social events, advertising campaigns, communication methods, and a specific target market. Insights on U. S. National Whitewater Center and the Outdoor Enthusiast Community U. S.
National Whitewater Center opened in November 2006 as the only latitudinal whitewater park in the world and one of only four official US Olympic whitewater training centers in the country. The Center consists of 300 acres of land only 20 minutes from uptown Charlotte. There are 14 miles of trails for walking, running, hiking and biking. The whitewater facility takes up 37 acres and includes a 110-foot conveyer to take rafters from the bottom of the whitewater channels to the top in sixty seconds. There is also a large climbing wall, restaurant and bar, conference center and outfitter store.
The Outdoor Enthusiast community consists of anyone who enjoys outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, rafting, running, fishing, camping, hunting, etc. This group of enthusiast are very dedicated to their outdoor sport of choice and usually not only participates in that sport but also portrays their love for the sport through clothing items, sporting gear, car window decals and footwear. Decision Factors Currently, the U. S. National Whitewater Center needs to decide on who exactly their target market is and how they are going to reach this market. The current strategy of the target market being ‘everyone’ is not working.
The market needs to be identified o strategic marketing efforts can be planned to advertise all the center has to offer to this group. Direct competition to the center needs to be determined so marketing strategies can be implemented to differentiate the center from the competition. At first thought, the Carolinas Theme Park was not identified as a competitor but depending on which target market the center is trying to attract, it very well could be. The ICONIC also needs to pick a pricing strategy and stick with it for the long haul until the market dictates a need to shift the pricing.
Starting off with low prices the iris year and then increasing prices the second year due to lower demand than projected is not a pricing strategy that is going to work for the customer. In order to increase the prices tort the activities, the customer needs to nave a perceived value for the increase or added features to the activity to Justify the increase. Also, the added parking fee the second year makes sense due to patrons entering the center to observe or walk, run, bike on the trails with their own equipment, but this should have been implemented immediately upon opening of the center. Alternative Options
Sticking with the current strategy for ICONIC is not a viable option due to the decline in attendance over the past year and the center not meeting revenue expectations the first 2 years of operation. Below are some alternative options: Options I Target Market I Pricing I Marketing I Activities I Extreme I Extreme Outdoor Enthusiasts I Set pricing per satisfactorily passes for frequent use I Target Extreme Outdoor community thru popular websites and magazine I Keep current activities extreme levels to each I Casual I Any Level of Outdoor Enthusiasts Including Families I Pricing varies based on level of activity (novice vs.. Tree)Offer passes for frequent use I Target Outdoor Enthusiasts and active families thru social media and local schools and local groups I Keep current activities instructional activities I Recommended Action It is recommended that ICONIC implement the casual strategy going forward. The extreme strategy is being rejected due to limiting the market to Just the extreme outdoor enthusiast. Though this is a large market and could potentially bring people in from across the nation, it also limits the true repeat customer who lives locally and could benefit from the center on a more frequent basis.
Also, as stated before, the center cannot stick with its current strategy due to it is not generating the revenue projected or bringing in the attendance anticipated. Implementation Plan ICONIC needs to begin their new strategy with focusing on the types of activities they are offering and to whom they are offering these activities. With the current center structure and the ability to adjust the level of difficulty in the whitewater area, ICONIC needs to set up rafting and kayaking courses for the novice/beginner to attract a market they have not tapped into yet.
This new instructor lead water activity would attract more families using the center. Family members not interested in the water sports could still utilize the walking and biking trails and enjoy a meal in the restaurant while their other family members take water sport lessons. Expanding the family aspect even further, during the summer months the center could offer kids camps to enjoy all the outdoor activities. The center will still provide all their activities to the outdoor enthusiasts who have a passion for rafting and kayaking and can adjust the water to those customers skill bevel.
Revamping the pricing structure is necessary due to the new offerings of instructor lead lessons. Pricing should still be tiered based on number of rafters and for a 90 minute rafting ride should start at $40 per person for groups of 30 or more, $50 for groups of 12-29, $60 for individuals. For a 90 minute instructor led lesson, the price should start at $90 for an individual and then receive a 15% discount for any additional friends/family Joining the lesson. Passes should be offered for frequent rafters. Monthly unlimited rafting passes offered at $250/month or yearly unlimited asses for $1 ,OHO/year.
Parking passes should be offered on a yearly basis for $50/ year tort unlimited access to all areas to the center. ICONIC needs to portray a single consistent message to the community to promote their mission. Play, Relax, Learn should be the new motto. People can come to play on the many different activities offered at the center, they can relax in the restaurant and listen to the outdoor live music and learn through the instructor led classes and camps. Promotion of this new message needs to have the same look and feel to all who see it.
Promotion through local media and social media websites will get the word out quickly. Place ads in all the big outdoor enthusiasts’ magazines. Place banner ads on websites of the outdoor enthusiasts’ stores (Cabala’s and Bass Pro Shop). Also, collaborate with the state tourism committee to promote the center on a bigger national scale while promoting the whole state of North Carolina. Collaborate with local school districts to promote and communicate the summer camps to local parent’s. Collaborate with local Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops to attract them to the enter for earning badges for outdoor activities.
Implementing the above new strategy will help ICONIC promote itself with a consistent image and target the right market to use the center with a simplified pricing plan.