What’s Entertainment? Agency VP Nick Dan-Bergman Reveals New Research

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LaneTerralever, a full-service marketing and digital experience agency that works with a wide range of attractions and entertainment destinations (as well as the gaming industry), just completed a research report that provides insights into what today’s consumer is looking for in location-based entertainment and experiences.

We don’t typically think of attractions (like amusement parks or traveling/pop-up displays) as being MULO (multi-location) brands, but keep in mind that Sea World Parks & Entertainment owns Busch Gardens and Six Flags recently merged with Cedar Fair, giving them locations across 17 U.S. states and three countries. Hallmark is no longer just card stores and romantic movies; it now delivers live experiences, including a cruise.

We sat down with Nick Dan-Bergman, who spearheaded the agency’s research in conjunction with IAAPA, the Global Association for the Attractions Industry, to discuss the importance of live experiences today.

What are some of the big takeaways from the research?

“A whopping 93 percent of the people we surveyed (who represented a good cross-section of today’s consumers) plan to visit attractions at the same level or even more in 2024 compared to 2023. The demand for experiences rather than products is still alive and well.

Technology and digital media are increasingly important throughout the visitor journey for location-based entertainment operators — in marketing, pre-visit planning, on-site navigation, and post-visit communication — consumers don’t compare you to other entertainment brands they compare you to Amazon, Apple, and other brands who offer the most seamless digital experiences in the world. Getting this experience right isn’t why someone will visit your attraction, but if you get it wrong, it’s one of the main reasons they won’t return.”

What are younger populations looking for when they plan experiences?

“Gen Z, in particular, loves visiting attractions with friends and family. Whether they are heading to a local restaurant to eat, drink and play cornhole or taking a trip to Vegas to see their favorite performer and host a spa day with friends, they like to share the experience with others.

Guests who have young kids seek experiences with some educational value.

“And the younger population we surveyed cares more about the sustainability practices of the venues they visit and is even willing to pay a small amount more to see those with a mission that aligns with theirs.”

What else is changing in the attractions industry?

“Consumer brands are more aware than ever that they can gain a share of wallet and time by creating their own immersive experiences. Brands like Legoland Parks have been doing this for decades, but you start to see more and more brands doing this, like Mattel Adventure Park and Angry Birds, which were prominent at this year’s IAAPA Expo.”

How can attractions generate even more revenue from their guests?

Food and beverage is always one of the first things visitors spend incremental dollars on, but we’ve found they are mostly dissatisfied with the food offerings at most attractions, indicating an opportunity for those who invest here to stand out from the crowd.

Here’s a graphic summary of some of our topline findings on the industry.”

What’s next for your agency?

“In 2024, we’ll be publishing a comprehensive national study of how non-gambling activities sway consumer behavior in the casino world.

We know that today’s consumers work hard but still appreciate activities that enable them to see new things, have fun, and get together with friends and family. AI will never replace those human moments!”

You can download a copy of the complete attractions research report — How Attractions & Entertainment Destinations Must Adapt to the Visitors of Today & Tomorrow — here.




Nancy A Shenker, senior editor with Street Fight, is a former big brand (Citibank, Mastercard, Reed Exhibitions) marketing strategist and leader. She has been featured in Inc.com, the New York Times and Forbes.