Background of the Research
Significant changes in lifestyle have fueled the need for getaways/leisure activities and given rise to entertainment destinations such as theme parks. The Middle East is a major tourist destination and boasts of many such theme parks offering leisure and entertainment activities, shopping and dining out experiences among others.
A consumer perception survey, covering key theme parks in the UAE, was conducted to identify customer perception towards the overall facilities offered and maintenance of these parks. The main objectives of the survey were to
- Develop an in-depth understanding of consumer experiences at various theme parks
- Analyse the most-visited tourist attractions
- Assess availability and quality of transportation facilities, visitor dining experience and amenities available at parks
- A generic questionnaire was prepared with qualitative and quantitative questions
- Customer data was collected by visiting different theme parks
- This data was sorted, segmented and arranged in a sequential order
- Each question category was tabulated and charts were prepared
- Only the most important charts were considered to gauge results pertaining to the project objectives
- Conclusion was derived from these interpretations
Sample Size: The consumer perception survey included 1,000 respondents, comprising 45% females and 55% males. Two-thirds of these respondents were tourists, while remaining one-third were locals. Most respondents were in the age group of 19–35.
Usage vs. Satisfaction Mapping – Key Attractions
Of the five key theme parks surveyed, attractions 1, 2 and 3 were the most popular destinations among respondents and received rating of ‘very good’. Meanwhile, <50% respondents rated other attractions as ‘very good.’
Five key parameters of the survey
The survey focussed on measuring consumer perception with five key dimensions for a range of assets and services available at each theme park. Each dimension was measured on the basis of several questions that were used as indicators for the dimension under consideration.
Customer Assistance was designed to measure people views on accessibility of visitor information sources, quality of tourist guides, quality of information desks at different venues and level of information retrieval from digital information services.
Transportation was measured on the basis of quality of wayfinding and signage, ease of use of road signs and information boards, and quality of free shuttle bus service and taxi drivers.
For the Facilities dimension, information was sought on quality of the natural environment, green spaces and public spaces; number of public toilets; and ease in finding facilities.
The Dining dimension provided information on dining options available, and quality of the dining area and food.
The Experience dimension was measured from feedback on different assets at theme parks and experiences of customers. Some dimensions are likely to overlap; however, the emphasis is on cognitive and physical elements affecting visitor experience.
Summary – Findings
- Customer Service: The overall customer assistance service was satisfactory. However, in some parks, major gaps between the service expected and delivered were observed—even at key attractions within a park. The employees were courteous and did not indulge in personal conversations while interacting with customers. As inferred from the survey, customer service employees should be provided with reference guides on facilities, prices and features.
- Transportation: This service was found to be good. A major recommendation was that information such as taxi rules and stickers should be readily available and visible to customers. Respondents at park 3 were of the view that facilities could be improved in terms of quality of the taxi and signage.
- Facilities: Customers stated that there were clean and adequate public toilets. Some customers suggested that the distance between male and female toilets was very less. Most respondents were satisfied with the quality and maintenance of facilities within theme parks.
- Dining: The results stated that respondents found the variety of dining options to be satisfactory. Respondents at parks 4 and 5 rated the options as ‘average’ and ‘poor’, respectively, and suggested improving hygiene in dining areas.
- Experience: The overall experience was ‘good’ for many respondents, except park 4, which was rated ‘average’. Also, some elderly visitors (56+ years) were moderately satisfied with the quality of arrival and welcome.
Overall, the scores for all segments were good except dining, which has been suggested as the key area of improvement for authorities.