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Location decisions

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Joined: 28 Jul 2007
Posts: 381

PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 4:01 am    Post subject: Location decisions Reply with quote


I assume that in any park design, the location in an important factor. Not only climate and in-park things, but also to estimate potential audience and such.

Does anyone here have a clue how the decision for a location is made for a big park like Disneyland Paris or similar? I mean, how do you calculate what the best location is to get a large potential audience? For Disney, people are willing to travel big distances, but how far would they be willing to travel for a similar park but without the brand name?

Also, what other factors are there to decide the location? Infrastructure, obviously. Perhaps one would look at how suitable the land is for construction. Anything else?

Posts: 49
(12/12/05 2:47 pm)
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New Post site selection
This is one of THE most important decisions a potential park has. Demographics are the biggest thing to look at. A lot of those numbers are available on the internet, although some take more digging than others. You'll want to know your target audience so that you can filter the population numbers appropriately. Demographics include age, sex, income and disposable income levels, and many other useful pieces of data. For example, if you're wanting to build an FEC, ideally you'd be in an area with moderate-high disposable incomes, good number of kids, and optimally, more single-income families (i.e. more moms at home looking for things to do with the kids). Do FEC's work elsewhere? Of course, but you want to give yourself the best odds.

For regional parks, you'll want to make sure there are a suitable number of your target audience within 200 miles (so they can make it a day trip). Your "local" numbers, however, would still need to be able to support you. Parks like Disney are classified as destination parks and don't rely on regional numbers as much. They count the locals and regionals as more of the "bread and butter" that they can count on during the slow travel months.

As for other criteria for site selection, it could fill a book. The basics are first and foremost -- who are your neighbors, and will they like you? If they don't want you there, its a steep uphill battle. Next, as you mentioned, is infrastructure. Are there suitable roads? Water? Electricity? Sewage? Those can be high $$ items if you have to run the lines yourself and you're a ways a way. Any environmental hazards on the site (for example, was it a manufacturing plant in a former life or gas station?)? Any protected wildlife or foliage? Wetlands? Floodplain? All those things you'd find out during your due diligence process before actually closing on the land. Still, better to do a little homework first than to start down a path you'll end up abandonning. What's the current driveby counts? Your investors will want a site that already gets a lot of traffic, again, one of those giving yourself the best odds things. The flip side is that if the traffic is already TOO bad, your neighbors won't want you adding to their misery.

After you think you've figured out where you want to be, talk to the powers that be. They're going to listen to the voters in general, but if you don't have their support, you probably are better off looking elsewhere.

Good luck!

Posts: 125
(12/12/05 3:21 pm)
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New Post RE: Site Selection I should proably know this, but what is an FEC?

Posts: 50
(12/12/05 5:02 pm)
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New Post Re: Site Selection FEC=Family Entertainment Center; Come in several forms, typical examples include Chuckie Cheese, Celebration Stations, etc. Can include laser tag places, rock climbing places, skating, gokarts, any combination thereof.

Living the Dream ...
Posts: 128
(12/14/05 12:21 am)
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New Post Re: Site Selection I figured that out about five minutes after posting; thats what I get for trying to post during passing period at school.

One thing I've been wondering about is wheter their are location requirments unique to entertainment venues. Market (or audience) is a need universal to all buisnesses, as are utilities. Obviously you will have needs unique to a certain venue (to build a theme park, you will need a good deal of space, for example), but are their any needs universal, but exclusive to, entertainment venues?

Posts: 34
(12/14/05 4:57 pm)
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New Post Re: Site Selection I have seen alot of people make big mistakes in locating a business in an ill suited area. My best advice is to talk to the city planner or the mayor first when looking for the best site. This step can save months or years.

Realy if no one wants to talk to you, you probably are in the wrong city.

When you talk to the right people, site selection becomes all to simple.

Posts: 30
(12/15/05 10:43 am)
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New Post location Since this is a fictional restaurant it's hard to say where would be the best place since we're not talking about actual property. I live in Orlando and can tell you that there are a LOT of different types of restaurants here in some very unlikely places. Wherever you go people need to eat.

What are you looking for in terms of location? Are you looking for a particular city, or specific street, or what? In some places your audience will determine your location. Are you looking to have upscale dining (more adult oriented)or more fast food type (family/kid friendly). Are you going to have counter service or table service.

You need to consider the fact that people go to some places just to get away from reality and the norm. A sci-fi restaurant would not work in, say, a rural farming community that had little or no tourist traffic.

Some companies spend years and thousands of dollars trying to find just the right location for just the right audience in just the right town. They do loads of demographic studies and market research. While location is important, for this project I would suggest not getting so bogged down with location and think more about your story and theming.

No Limits Thriller
Posts: 36
(12/30/05 7:36 am)
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New Post Re: Location decisions Okay, so now I have made a list of all the things involved in the location decision. Is anything wrong in this list, or should something else still be included as well?

Economical issues:
- number of potential customers / population density
- driveby counts

Physical issues:
-Size and shape of the land
-Land's vitallity for construction
-Existing infrastructuur

Political issues:
-zoning schemes
-protected wildlife and others
-max. construction height and other limitations

Social issues:
-Public support for a (theme) park
-Residents living nearby, who might start complaining

Creative issues:
-type of land surrounding the land (mountains? dessert?)

No Limits Thriller
Posts: 37
(1/6/06 10:31 am)
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New Post Re: Location decisions A very obvious one - existing competition. Duh!

Posts: 52
(1/6/06 11:16 am)
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New Post Re: Location decisions I would also add to the economic issues:

- economic history of businesses and restaurants in the immediate area

I've seen several places where there is high population density and the site is located on a major thoroughfare but businesses don't survive. You'll see a building taken over by a series of restaurants (some of them good ones), and they all fold within a year. One such place is in Tampa at Fletcher and Dale Mabry:

Dale Mabry is highly developed, but at this particular area, on the East side of the road (the plazas and outlying buildings), businesses just tend to die... Better to know it's a difficult location, and figure out what the problem is (or choose a different location), then to blindly put something there and repeat mistakes others made.

Also, land and buildings have different costs or rental prices. A higher cost/rent might be worth it if you'll make it back quickly... Your investors will want to know how many years it will take to get their money back...

- cost of rent, against the expected return-on-investment

As a social issue, I would also include:

- demographics of the surrounding area

Population density is important, but also who makes up that density... Is it small families with kids? College students? Elderly people? Immigrants? If you know some general things about you local audience (ex. what they spend money on), it can give you a better idea what to spend *your* money on...

I don't know a lot about business... so take what's useful... discard the rest! |I

Edited by: Holly3216 at: 1/6/06 11:34 am
Posts: 31
(1/7/06 12:36 am)
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New Post Location Holly
I lived in Tampa for about 6 years and I know the area that you are talking about. There are also places like The Channelside District that the city has been trying to develop for years and it simply hasn't taken off like planners originally thought. It's hard to say.

I think in some areas a "Mom and Pop" type restaurant with homestyle cooking and charm has its appeal. Take for example, Cracker Barrel Restaurants. I have never, ever, ever heard of one of these restaurants going out of business. Why? partially because of location. The vast majority are located on or near a major interstate or highway. They have a casual, family atmosphere and each one is uniquely designed. They even have a theme and it's even in thier name--Cracker Barrel Restaurant and Old Country Store. They invite guests to come in and "set a spell" and want you to feel like you're old friends.

I think that if you know your audience, environment, setting, and provide top quality food and service, then there should be no problem in creating a good restaurant, no matter what the theme. It could be the best themed restaurant in the world in the most ideal location, but if the food's bad or the service is bad, people won't come back and you will fail. On paper things can look good, even great. But it all comes down to the people in charge and where the standard is set.

I am not an expert but I believe your restaurant should provide these things in order:

1. Great service
2. Great food
3. Good location
4. Good theme

Posts: 53
(1/7/06 1:15 am)
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New Post Re: Location
Yeah... that sounds about right...
The good thing is that you only have to worry about location once (per restaurant). Once you get that right, you can spend the rest of your days worrying about the service, food and theme.

Something I read recently talked about "Experience Marketing" ... which seems similar to what we refer to as "theme". Experience marketing is like the difference between Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts... people can count on Starbucks being a nice atmosphere no matter which one they walk into. Ideally, this causes the customer to have a pleasant emotional connection to Starbucks (however subtle), and makes them want to come back. "Mom and Pop" tends to create different emotional connections... usually to the "good old days" and values such as honesty and quality. Likewise, Cracker Barrel, "wanting you to *feel* like you're old friends". (emphasis mine).

Bad service and bad food will usually sink a restaurant... good "theme" (experience marketing) is probably what differentiates the ordinary (everyone else who has the same service and food) from the extraordinary (extremely successful)...

It seems that experience marketing is a relatively new theory in business... but some people are saying that, with the wealth of products available and accessible to the average person (and how depersonalized some transactions have become), creating positive emotional connection to the product might be the best way to get the consumer's ear and to get them to keep coming back.

It's an interesting idea... There's more info about it here (the first article that got me thinking about it):


Posts: 132
(1/8/06 12:19 am)
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New Post Re: Location Maybe it would be easier to create a fantasy location with certain traits than to pick a real place.

Posts: 35
(1/16/06 1:19 pm)
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New Post location I think for this exercise, we just have to make it very simple. Every resteraunt has to deal with these issues, but this is sounding more like my real job instead of fun. Lets just pick a few charecteristics and move on. I know that the people that don't look at these isues normaly fail, but there is no research we can do on it, because it is fictional. Lets get started with the fun stuff.

Posts: 136
(1/16/06 2:55 pm)
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New Post Re: location How 'bout we just assume that the location researchers (aka people who aren't us) are competent and picked a location that fits the target audience? While having a less-than-perfect location could be interesting, I think it would be better to keep things simple for the first project.

Posts: 57
(1/16/06 3:48 pm)
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New Post Re: location I concur... let's dig into the good stuff!
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