What FECs can learn from Disney’s success – 7 easy strategies

Customized experiences May 03, 2022
what fecs can learn from disney

The Walt Disney Company was founded in 1923 by the brothers Walt and Roy Disney and started off with animated cartoons starring funny animals. Their first production, Alice in Wonderland, is a story that is still immensely popular up to this day.

Disney now no longer just makes cartoons. The company has established itself as the world’s largest independent media company and is a leader in production of live-action films and television shows. The leisure and entertainment giant has invested billions of dollars in parks and resorts and continues to build more. As a blooming company, great storytelling and immersive experiences are Disney’s secrets. Magic is the defining element.

What can the leisure industry learn from such a powerful brand? We give away 7 strategies behind Disneys’ success and how you can implement them at your FEC. 

Walt Disney World

1. Create out of this world themes and experiences

Disney is a top-notch destination for children and adults across the world. Its secret? The extraordinary and immersive experiences that Disney brings to its visitors. Disney knows how to make a story come alive. 

Disneyland gives guests the chance to step back from real life and immerse themselves in a fairytale. They get to revel in the thrill of a roller coaster, the explosion of fireworks or a ride in the splash-mountain.

Disney’s themes play an important role in their magical experiences. If you’ve visited Disneyland, you’ve probably noticed how each theme is consistently worked out in detail. There are different scents for each theme, such as honey for Winnie-the-Pooh. The plants in Tomorrowland are actually edible and cutlery and door knobs have the shape of Mickey’s head. Everything in the park is designed to make you feel like you’ve entered a whole different world.

How can you apply this strategy at your FEC?

To provide your guests an out of this world experience, add gamification or Augmented Reality (AR) elements to your activities. You can create immersive and interactive experiences for your guests in which they’re pulled into a different world. Your real life activities will be enhanced with computer generated information and turned into multisensory experiences.

2. Embrace your guest experience

Disney puts a lot of work into consistently delivering an amazing guest experience. All the actors, shows and attractions at Disneyland aim to amplify the guest experience to new levels. Whether it concerns the parking lot or your stay at the hotel, the employees go beyond and above to make your experience unforgettable. 

The park prioritizes 4 standards:

  • Safety
  • Courtesy
  • Show
  • Capacity and efficiency

Employees follow specific guidelines or behaviors, such as seekout out guests contact, smiling and making eye-contact with guests.

Guests are led through the park via visual cues that make it very easy to navigate. The attractions make the guest feel like they’re the center of the experience. In the Peter Pan flight for instance, there is no Peter Pan figure at first, because you are Peter Pan. You’re in the story and are truly living it. This is how Disney creates out of this world experiences, that guests feel like they can’t find anywhere else.

The Disneyland website, where the experience starts when people book their tickets, is seamless as well. All the offers are clear and easy to book. The website has attractive pictures of the park and even the font is Disney-themed.

How can you apply this strategy at your FEC?

As an FEC, your guest experience is just as important for you as it is to Disney. Make sure your entire experience is smooth, online as well as offline. Ensure your venue is clean, easily accessible and that your employees are well trained to cater to your guests. For example, make sure they give a fun and enthusiastic briefing before guests start a laser game. Let employees be actors that really immerse themselves in the theme or story of the game for the ultimate laser tag experience. Also, avoid long waiting lines and long waits in between activities or for food.

Briq can help you optimize your webshop to make it easy and fun for your guests to book your venue. Briq’s booking system will not only enhance your guest experience, it will also save you lots of time by automating your booking flow. Guests can buy groupdeals, all your extras and multiple activities in one booking. 

3. Use quality storytelling and educational messages

“When life gets you down, you know what you gotta do? Just keep swimming.” — Dory.

Disney tells stories that inspire and convey meaningful lessons. The stories and themes often become entwined in the consciousness of the spectator and leave lasting impressions. Disney uses stories to offer lessons, advice and pass down knowledge. The company has been renowned for its quality stories, crafty animators and expertise in movie making. 

Let’s take Finding Nemo as an example. Marlin and Dory are on a mission to find Nemo and encounter many difficulties on the way, such as sharks and an anglerfish. However, they don’t give up and end up finding Nemo. The moral of the story is to never give up when you’re faced with adversity in life. 

How can you apply this strategy at your FEC?

Find out what the story behind your business is. What can you teach your guests through your experiences? Once you find that out, you can start offering experiences that influence and inspire people. The educational aspect is a big trend in the leisure industry that helps add extra depth to your activities.

Walt Disney World

4. Keep up with hypes and innovate

Disney creates not just movies, but whole new worlds. The company keeps up with trends, presents new themes and experiences all year around and adapts to changes in customers’ taste. Engineers, artists, architects and designers work with the newest technology to make the “happiest place on earth” also the most transformational one. This makes Disneyland an attractive experience for both new and returning guests, because there’s always something new to enjoy.

Take the renewed version of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride as an example. The ride, which was originally based on animated vignettes, now features modern, interactive animatronics and immersive media. 

Disney isn’t just innovative when it comes to technology. The attraction park has also pushed the boundaries of food with original and tasty meals, snacks and drinks. It is now known for their Mickey Mouse pretzels, pancakes and their huge funnel cakes.

How can you apply this strategy at your FEC?

Returning guests are an important source of revenue for any leisure business. Regularly change up your offerings to keep them – and all your guests in general – excited about visiting your venue. Vary with seasonal activities, offers and themes. Make sure your venue is up-to-date with the latest hypes and keep up with trends in the leisure industry. New technology helps make your activities more engaging. Gamification and AI are currently very popular, so consider integrating those elements in your activities.

Also, use the latest technology for your venue management to enable a smooth guest experience. Connect the software you use for venue management, website management, online bookings and marketing. The right integrations will make your experiences smoother and your venue management less time consuming.

5. Use nostalgia to maintain customer loyalty

A clever way in which Disney keeps older customers interested is by capitalizing on the feeling of nostalgia. The company remakes classic old stories with newer technology to tap into the memories of customers. A great example of nostalgia is the remake of the Jungle Book, a release that grossed 900 million dollars when it came out in 2016. Not only does this technique establish a strong sense of nostalgia among the parents, it also entices them to bring their children to see the movie.

How can you apply this strategy at your FEC?

Propose old-school themes or activities with a twist. You can, for instance, also organize a monthly 80’s themed bowling evening with a dress code and disco music for a nostalgic night out. 

6. Diversify

Disney uses many different channels to keep fans of all ages engaged. The company stays top of mind by making sure that their audience encounters them as much as possible in their daily lives. 

Disney is known for its film studio and successful tv shows like Hannah Montana and Suite Life of Zack and Cody. But Disney owns many other business units. The company operates streaming services (Disney+) and cable television networks. Branded books, toys, clothes and many other products generate additional revenue. Not to forget, Disney owns various theme parks and even video games. Disney makes sure to promote content through various social media channels such as Instagram and Tiktok.

Because of the way Disney operates, the success of movies and series impacts its other business units. For instance, a popular movie results in more followers of the movie’s social media account, more streaming service subscribers and more merchandise sales. 

How can you apply this strategy at your FEC?

To effectively target guests at your FEC, you need to reach them through the various channels they use. You can use – a combination of – social media, email marketing, online advertising and branded goodies to advertise for your venue and deals. Identify the opportunities you’re missing out on that could strengthen your venue’s brand. Wherever your guest is, you need to be as well.

Walt Disney World

7. Know your audience and cater to them

Disneyland’s intergenerational charm is exceptional. It is one of the few places where children, teenagers, adults, parents and grandparents can all enjoy themselves. While children are introduced to a new magical world, adults re-experience their childhood memories afresh. Not only is this more customer-friendly, it also makes the park attractive to a bigger audience.

Disney also knows exactly how to reach their audience through different channels. For example, it uses Instagram to reach millennials and older generations. Disney’s Star Wars account, which has 6.6 million followers, serves to announce releases like the Star Wars revival and share other content with fans. 

The movie Frozen, on the other hand, targets a younger audience that isn’t on social media. Disney therefore reaches them through other channels, namely toys and other licensed products.

How can you apply this strategy at your FEC?

In order for you to know your audience and effectively reach them, you need to know what they like and how to interact with them. Here’s where data collection and analysis comes into play. Get to know your guests through data insights. Learn about what they like to do, where they live, how old they are and what media they use. You can use this knowledge to use the right channels to reach out, such as social media platforms, or to create merchandise they’ll like.

Do you need help with customer data? Download our free ebook filled with tips and tricks on how to use data to get more bookings.

Out of this world bookings with Briq

Got inspired by Disney? Briq helps your experiences become even more magical. We translate your awesome offline activities into a seamless online booking experience. How? With automated online booking and scheduling software. The result? More and easy bookings, a higher average order value and time saving capacity management.

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