Wonka woes to Paddington’s pounds: Our CEO has her say on the evolution of immersive experiences

Posted on:3rd June 2024

Wonka woes to Paddington’s pounds: Our CEO has her say on the evolution of immersive experiences

Never has our industry made headlines so readily.

The infamous Willy Wonka-inspired experience made global news and sent shockwaves through anyone owning or managing attractions. We are – and will never be – in that position but it’s hard to avoid flashbacks to when those notorious, underwhelming images appeared online.

Now, London’s new Paddington Bear Experience has launched making headlines of its own, based around its cost – a little more than your typical marmalade sandwich!

More extravagant, immersive attractions are popping up across the UK. While some are seriously impressive, others fall well short and raise questions around value for money.

Check out our CEO Juliana’s comments to The Observer about the rise of large-scale immersive experiences here.

“Their rise to prominence stems from the demand for captivating, story-led experiences,” Juliana says.

“Most attractions tell a story but the method of doing so is often the clincher in driving sales and providing a genuinely great experience. These large-scale immersive interactions remove the guest from their everyday and transport them to an alternative space where they can forget about their day-to-day challenges for a while. But these attractions can sometimes underwhelm.

“Technology has its part to play but our insights show there is still huge demand for authentic, people-led experiences with storytelling at their heart. One example is The Real Mary King’s Close. It utilises talented actors to take guests back to the 17th-century and ranks in TripAdvisor’s top 10 UK attractions – showing the demand is there.

“With increased operating costs to consider, tiered pricing strategies are also employed to provide accessibility to as many potential guests as possible. These models can include everything from early bird discounts to VIP packages to cater for various budgets and open our doors to as many people as possible.

“In years gone by, we have also found that guests might spend a full day in a city to soak up three or four attractions but this is no longer the case. We are finding visitors are now opting to spend their money on one great experience – one they know will knock them out the park and create lasting memories to recall in years to come or share on their Instagram.”

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