By Lauren Jarvis | April 2018 | 5 minute read
Selling a city break, beach escape or culture trip? Add extra thrills by including a visit to the world’s most exciting theme parks. While Florida’s iconic parks are still setting the pace, other markets are catching up fast and there’s a world of themed fun which agents can tap into for extra commission.
“Alongside the major theme parks, many small players offer good value for money and great commissions that some agents aren’t tapping into”
KEVIN BRETT, MANAGING DIRECTOR, HAT TOURISM MARKETING
With amusement parks opening up in more varied destinations, agents have a great opportunity to incorporate pre-booked tickets into their customers’ holiday packages.
Annabel Cove, Head of Trade Sales & Marketing at DoSomethingDifferent.com, says: “The key to selling attraction tickets is to remember that there’s always some-thing extra you can recommend. This isn’t a case of hard selling, but providing the best possible experience for your customer. They’ve come to you because they trust your knowledge and you’re uniquely placed to make recommendations to enhance their holiday and save them money.”
Purchasing attraction tickets in the UK prior to travel allows customers to take advantage of special deals and avoid the risk of an activity being sold out on arrival.
“Car hire and airport hotels are often added to holidays without a second thought,” continues Cove. “However, some agents are missing out by not offering experiences. Selling tickets can reap great rewards – our average booking is £800 for tickets alone – improving margins and the bottom line.”
A triumphant mix of human imagination, expert engineering, commercial cunning and a sprinkle of marketing magic draws millions of visitors to the U.S amusement Meccas each year: seven of the world’s top 10 most-visited theme parks are here (Japan scoops the other three).
What’s new: Pixar Pier comes to Disney California Adventure Park in summer 2018.
Toy Story Land opens at Florida’s Disney’s Hollywood Studios in June 2018. Universal Orlando’s Fast & Furious – Supercharged launches in Spring 2018 (universalorlando.com).
Europe & the Middle East
Disneyland Paris remains the biggest European draw. At the end of February Disney announced a €2billion investment project for Paris that will add three new areas, based on Marvel, Frozen and Star Wars, at the Walt Disney Studios Park.
Though work won’t begin until 2021, visitors can get in the superhero mood early since a new Marvel show, featuring the likes of Spider-Man, Thor, Captain America and Black Widow, arrives this summer.
Elsewhere, Europa-Park in Germany, Efteling in the Netherlands, Denmark’s Tivoli Gardens, Spain’s PortAventura, Liseberg in Sweden, Gardaland in Italy and Puy du Fou in France are all worthwhile additions to a continental break.
What’s new: France’s Puy du Fou is developing new venues in Spain and China.
New acrobatic show, CARO, comes to Efteling: World of Wonders in the Netherlands in September 2018.
Alton Towers Resort’s new Wicker Man attraction, a wooden rollercoaster, opens this spring.
The Isle of Wight’s Blackgang Chine is celebrating its 175th anniversary throughout 2018.
The Walking Dead: The Ride will arrive at Thorpe Park for Easter 2018.
For customers heading to Asia there are plenty of world-class parks to lighten any culture-heavy trip. Japan is leading the charge with Tokyo Disneyland, Universal Studios Japan in Osaka and Tokyo Disney Sea.
In China, Overseas Chinese Town (OCT) has six parks in the region’s top 20, including Window of the World and Happy Valley in Shenzhen, while leading Chinese theme-park brand Fantawild will have more than 30 parks operating in the next eight years.
Shanghai Disneyland opened in 2016, with Universal Studios Beijing slated for 2020.
Australia’s biggest park, Dreamworld on the Gold Coast, is worth incorporating into itineraries, along with neighbouring Warner Bros. Movie World and Wet ’n’ Wild, all available on a combo-pass.
What’s new: Disneyland Hong Kong is undergoing a $1.4billion expansion plan.
Where to book it
Greatdays’ typical package at Disney’s Hotel Santa Fe in Disneyland Paris costs £576, based on a family of four sharing. Includes three nights’ accommodation and a two-day Disney Park Ticket. Greatdays is a group travel specialist tour operator and has its own award-winning Disney team.
America As You Like It has a 14-night California’s Pacific Coast Highway: San Francisco to San Diego itinerary costs from £1,840pp, based on a family of four sharing. Includes return international flights, accommodation, car hire and Southern California CityPass tickets.