Our AAVEA board member Alichia Nortje attended the IAAPA Expo Europe in Paris from 16 to 19 September 2019, attending various panel discussions and talks and has returned inspired! She shares her 5 key takeaways with us in the post below:

How to Design for Changing Audiences:
– Aim for active fun, multi-sensory experiences are important.

-You have to appeal to multiple generations. A good entertainment schedule drives repeat visitation. Frequency is the enemy, give your visitors a reason to come back at different times, different seasons and for different events.

Animal Attractions Panel: How to take your visitor experience to the next level:

– Animal welfare is an animal attractions licence to operate – we cannot afford to get it wrong
– Visitor welfare through environmental and behavioural enrichment create the experience. People will never tire of emotional experiences – it trumps tech any day
– Referring to environmental messaging communicate less on loss and more on love – loss makes people feel depressed, talk about love, caring, preserving and conserving.


– Retail should not just drive secondary spend, it should form part of the overall experience. Leisure is a state of mind – help your visitor to feel good
– Retail outlets helps to slow the visitor down
– People visit places and facilities for reward – they must get something out of it

Tricks and Tips to Refresh your Facility

– If something has a negative impact on the experience or drags the standard down – get rid of it!
– Sometimes it is as simple as painting it! It gives anything a new fresh look but; be honest with your changes – are you “buying time” or is it time to implement something brand new / overhaul
– Observe before you improve – how do visitors interact with a certain element. If it is something popular but getting old can you retain the sense of nostalgia by giving it a fresh look or a new reason to engage with it
– Never introduce technology just for the sake of it

Accessible Fun for Everyone

– Accessible does not only refer to people with disabilities or wheelchair bound, it can be the elderly or someone with a temporary injury – think broader audience
– The journey for a disabled visitor starts long before they reach your facility; ask yourself what obstacles that person might have faced on their way to your attraction
– Providing clear information is vital as part of their experience – what can and can’t they do, see or experience
– Disabled visitors tend to do their research first, make sure your website is updated with the necessary information and train your staff
– Standards differ from country to country but a min of 50% of your facility has to be accessible.

 Boosting Profits and Creating Value:

– Pre-sales are good! You receive the revenue upfront and you know what’s coming
– The right pricing can shift demand
– Dynamic pricing has a journey, you have to crawl first before you can walk, attempt to run before you can fly. Don’t make any decisions without analysing the data, if you don’t know what you want out of it don’t implement it
– Always make sure you own your customer data!
– If they are buying at the door – you don’t know who they are
– DON’T ever train people to wait for discounts
– Remove discounts that can be used anytime – practice “good hygiene” in your pricing strategy

Keen to attend next year’s IAAPA Expo Europe? Register here.