Theme Parks Get Back on Track

After a rollercoaster year, many consumers are more excited than ever to get back to leisure activities and entertainment experiences outside of the home. Learn more about the emerging trends in the theme park industry.

Theme park consumer trends

Customer expectations have shifted, especially when it comes to crowd control

To get people back on rides, theme parks must adapt their offerings to suit new demands and customize their approach for different customer groups.

Customer expectations have shifted

People have missed carefree theme park outings, and most are keen to get back when it’s safe to do so

Nearly 70% of customers polled want to plan a visit as soon as possible. However, a vast majority expect social distancing measures to stay in place for a while yet. Overcrowding and long lines have always been the primary frustration for theme park visitors, and consumer tolerance for these inconveniences is at an all-time low.

People have missed carefree theme park outings

Make customers’ outings truly carefree

Theme parks need to create an integrated experience that eliminates typical bottlenecks.

Nearly 80% of theme park attendees agree that refreshments are an integral part of their theme park experience, but here too, long waits are a pain point

From preordering food and refreshments to digital crowd mapping, technology will be key for theme parks to meet customer expectations and still run at sufficient capacity to be profitable.

Nearly 80% of theme park

The theme park of the future

With customers keen to strap in for the ride but still worried about safety, theme parks have an opportunity to offer their visitors peace of mind through technology. They can make customers feel in control by giving them the chance to plan ahead and by helping them avoid crowds and queues to the best of their ability.

Before arrival

Personalize and plan ahead

When it comes to theme parks, one size does not fit all. Different age groups have different preferences. Responding to each of these preferences offers theme parks opportunities for additional revenue and engagement.

For example, families with young children are especially keen to book activities and food in advance and would pay extra for this perk. Many millennials are happy to exchange their personal data for personalized offers.

Personalize and plan ahead
planning ahead

would love to plan their itinerary in advance so they can beat the queues

food and drink

with kids under 12 say it would be awesome to schedule a food or drinks order before arriving at the theme park


of families would pay extra to be able to prebook their day’s activities in advance


of millennials are happy to provide preferences in advance to receive relevant day-of offers

On the day

New standards for crowd management

Cleverly using data and technology will go a long way to provide visitors the control and comfort they crave.

Nearly 60% of respondents said they would like to see hotspots on a map in order to avoid the busiest places in the park, while over half say they think food and drink preordering and pick-up should be the new standard.

New standards for crowd management
pick-up times

think specified pick-up times and locations for refreshments should be included as standard

preordering of food

expect the preordering of food and drinks before arrival at the theme park to be included as standard

plan activities

think it would be awesome to see the busiest hotspots across the theme park so they can plan activities accordingly

Between rides

Make refreshment purchases joyful

Waiting in line for refreshments is not only seen as inconvenient to the customer, it also constitutes a loss of revenue for the theme park: more than half of customers say they would consume more if they could avoid queueing.

Theme parks can alleviate crowd pressure by providing various types of access according to each generation’s preference. For example, some boomers still prefer to order in person at a concession stand, while often younger customers are keen on digital ordering.

Make refreshment purchases joyful
avoid queues

say they would buy more if they could avoid queues and order ahead, especially millennials (60%)

mobile app

of families would love to interact via a dedicated mobile app

gen z

Gen Z are most keen on a QR code system for ordering food and drinks—24% say this would be their most preferred option

Staffed concessions

Staffed concessions are still the favored option for boomers, with 28% stating this is their preferred option for food and drink orders

Beyond the theme park

Partnerships are paramount

With extensive travel still largely out of the question for many consumers, travelers still want to make their theme park outing feel like a proper break. This offers parks an additional opportunity to gather customer data: two out of three consumers said they’d be likely to consider hotels, restaurants, and outlets near the theme park if they received personalized offers.

Building a strong network of nearby partners will provide theme parks with additional revenue potential, even if visitor numbers remain limited.

Beyond the theme park
millennial and Gen X audiences

Half of millennial and Gen X audiences would love to get mobile notifications with personalized offers for nearby food or drink outlets

same audiences

In the same audiences, 2 in 3 would be likely to check out nearby hotels, restaurants, and bars if they received a personalized offer for these as part of their theme park trip

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