Amusement parks and theme parks are a popular getaway destination for many, especially families. In recent years, the industry has seen positive growth, and management teams are hoping to attract more visitors still. It’s no wonder, then, that they’ve been steadily incorporating virtual reality (VR) into their rides. To analyze the effectiveness of this model, we conducted showing you a trend analysis example of the intersection of Disney, Universal Studios, and Six Flags, and VR.
Trend Analysis Example Reveals Top Priorities and Performers
The VR trend has grown alongside today’s experience economy, a term used to describe consumer interest in unique experiences rather than goods and items. This idea is confirmed by a quick look at the top words used in online conversations about VR at theme parks. For example, two of the top words are experience and new.
Furthermore, our trend analysis example also found that top words in reviews are children and short, which suggests that VR experiences appeal most to children and families with children. Harry Potter is another popular word, which hints at the success of Harry Potter-related rides at Universal Studios.
How Well Do People Like VR Experiences at Theme Parks?
Trend analysis gives companies the flexibility to examine trends and consumer reactions on both a macro and micro scale. Let’s first look at some individual examples.
One family loved the immersive experience at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland as well as its short line.
One couple shared their experience at another Star Wars-themed experience called Secrets of the Empire, found at The VOID, a virtual reality theme park with locations around the world. Since its founding, the VOID has co-created VR experiences with Disney’s licensed properties, such as Star Wars and Wreck-It Ralph.
This attraction is housed within Downtown Disney, which provides the VOID with booming foot traffic, exposure, and marketing opportunities. This is an example of how large corporations should branch into new experiences, namely by partnering with established experts in a highly technical area and crafting experiences together.
Beyond merely Instagram, however, we can see that people discuss VR attractions across various platforms, such as Reddit. One user gives high praise to Disney’s Secrets of the Empire attraction.
We’ve seen some individual examples of how people talk about VR in theme parks, but let’s step back for a better picture.
Trend Analysis Example Finds That VR Can Hurt Consumer Experiences
Overall, positive sentiment for VR attractions is far higher than negative sentiment. However, there are some sharp increases in late July and early August. Fortunately, Synthesio’s dashboard allows users to understand the context behind every data point by creating a report for each one.
During the busiest season of amusement parks, we unearthed several complaints about the VR experience on a Reddit thread. This user’s chief complaint was the extended wait time of these rides.
Another Reddit user commented on the integration of VR into amusement park rides. This person suggests that combining VR with roller coasters is not always necessary, especially when the ride itself is exciting. However, those that are less stimulating on their own might benefit from VR.
Threads on Reddit are a popular place to bounce ideas. These discussions are likely to influence visitor behavior and whether they will head to a specific attraction. Therefore, amusement park teams should pay all the more attention to understanding the consumer, with the help of a trend detection tool.
Signals, Synthesio’s trend detector, prides itself on surfacing only the statistically relevant trends related to a topic. For example, the amount of conversations about any given product is bound to vary daily. Statistically, however, this variation has upper and lower bounds. Anything that falls within this range isn’t particularly noteworthy. And while a regular social monitoring tool might highlight all peaks, Signals only identifies those that require special attention.
Here’s how interest in VR theme parks has evolved.
VR attractions related to Disney, Six Flags, and Universal Studios have all suffered a significant drop from September to the end of the year. This can be explained by consumer tendencies to stay indoors during colder months. However, might there be another reason?
Is this the end of VR at amusement parks?
Last year, Robert Iger, Disney’s CEO, has announced that Disney will not be pushing VR in its theme parks. He reasoned that real-life immersive experiences are far more powerful than VR. Seaworld and Fun Spot theme parks have reduced VR efforts, citing longer wait times and increased workload for cleaning headsets.
However, Iger is careful to note that certain attractions may benefit from VR, such as Disney’s Flight of Passage ride at the Animal Kingdom. Interestingly, our platform picked up conversations related to this ride in a Reddit thread. This user praises its immersive experience, mentions his or her enjoyment of The VOID, and urges others to visit.
Trend Analysis Uncovers Pitfalls of Combining VR and Theme Parks
While the VR trend is a unique blend of adventure and technology, an evaluation of its digital performance revealed unavoidable pain points. On social media and forums, these points are amplified to a global community and can affect travel and spending decisions. Companies, therefore, need to leverage trend analysis tools to gain honest consumer feedback and redirect budget or marketing strategies as necessary. While the VR trend is not likely to last in the world of amusement parks, here’s another trend analysis example that’s here to stay in our newest trend analysis case study.