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A Sip of Success - November 2016

Beverage containers help attractions boost revenues

by Jodi Helmer

When it comes to creating a successful beverage program, the cup matters. “It boosts revenues and gives guests a souvenir from the park to take home,” explains Larry Stottlemyer, CEO of Adventure Park USA.

The Maryland family entertainment center (FEC) introduced its souvenir cup program in 2011 and immediately saw an increase in sales. Although the cup has a higher upfront retail price ($6 for a 32-ounce souvenir cup compared with $2.50 for a 16-ounce soda in a paper cup), Stottlemyer believes guests are willing to spend more because the $.99 refills offer great value. But it’s not just guests who get value from the souvenir cup program.

“It never hurts to have guests riding around with cups with your logo on them to get people thinking about the park,” Stottlemyer says.

On Long Island, New York, Bob Amoruso often sees souvenir cups from Adventureland being used outside the park, including at Little League games and high school sporting events.

In addition to serving as a successful marketing tool, Amoruso, director of operators at the park, notes the souvenir cup program has helped boost revenues. Soda sales spiked after the souvenir cups were introduced in 2009 and guests come to anticipate purchasing a new cup each season. “The cups have become collectible,” Amoruso says.

Adventureland sells its 32-ounce souvenir cups for $6.99 each with discounts for purchasing more than one cup; refills are $1 all season. To encourage guests to purchase new souvenir cups each season, Adventureland changes the colors, choosing combinations that reflect park attractions. In 2015, the cups were green and yellow as a nod to the new “Turbulence” roller coaster painted the same colors.

Adventure Park USA also changes the colors of its souvenir cups each season but Stottlemyer decided not to brand the cups with the year. “We’re not moving the same volume as a big park,” he says. “If we order cups that don’t sell this season, we can use them again next season.”

Souvenir cups are also a big deal for kids. Both Adventureland and Adventure Park USA sell 16-ounce slushie cups and encourage kids (and kids-at-heart) to create their own slush mixes in souvenir cups. “We sell the heck out of them,” Stottlemyer says.

As chair of the IAAPA Food and Beverage Committee, Amoruso has talked to countless operators about their souvenir beverage containers, and their effect on park revenues is overwhelmingly positive.

“If you don’t have a souvenir cup program, get one,” he says. “You’ll see your sales go up tremendously while you put a smile on people’s faces.”

Souvenir Cup Programs

Adventureland and Adventure Park USA both worked with Whirly-DrinkWorks to create the souvenir cup programs. Al Conarro, the company’s amusement parks and attractions channel manager, offers these questions and considerations for designing and creating your own program:

1. How is my beverage category performing to the rest of the industry? Your beverage supplier can provide insight.

2. What souvenir programs are being run by other parks in the industry? Visits other parks as a guest and observe the programs and guest interaction.

3. Consider the eight ingredients to successful souvenir programs that will lead to creating a top revenue and profit drive in food and beverage: benchmarking and measurement, product, retail offer, refill offer, point of sale, crew initiative, online efforts, and legacy bottles.

4. Do I have unique or licensed characters in my park that can help leverage my souvenir program with a custom container?

5. What food and beverage category would best fit a custom container?

6. What value should I consider in offering a custom container?

Jodi Helmer is a frequent contributor to Funworld, focusing on operational trends and issues across the attractions industry.