Case Lawrence is the Founder and CEO of CircusTrix (CT) and was interviewed for the Attraction Pros podcast last month. It was a fascinating interview so I have decided to pick out and share some of the key points from it. CircusTrix is one of the world’s leading trampoline park operators and after their recent purchase of Sky Zone, they now have around 300 owned and franchised locations. CircusTrix is very unique as an organisation as they own quite a few brands and led by Case Lawrence they have an interesting approach to the market.
Here are the key points from the interview:
Case refers to his parks/business as ‘extreme recreation’. Therefore, his parks carry trampolines as well as other activities that are based on adrenaline fuelled physical activity. These activities were usually inspired by activities seen elsewhere (on TV shows for example) that can’t be recreated at home. CT were the first to introduce the Ninja Warrior obstacle course, which turned out to be very successful of course. In terms of introducing new activities there will be failures as well as successes along the way. Successes listed by Case include an indoor trapeze, a slackline (tightrope walking) and an indoor zip line.
Key takeaway – Experimenting with games and activities is important to ensure continued success. Expect to fail as well as to succeed.
Social media is a key way to connect with customers and to help parks promote themselves. CT understood this early on and especially with regard to selfies as they regard themselves as enablers of this activity. In the podcast Case refers to CT as being ‘in the business of selfies’ as well as being one big photo studio. They spend money on art, other visual elements and black paint to encourage customers to take photos in their parks.
Key takeaway – Helping customers to take shareable photos and content is only going to help to promote your park. (Is your park doing enough to facilitate social media content?)
This is clever as the screens in parks publish posts that use the parks’ hashtag. If a park user uses the hashtag they will see their post and this has a dual effect as it not only drives usage of these hashtags in parks onscreen but also promotes the park to followers/connections who are not there.
Key takeaway – This is simple but very effective. Its provides instant gratification to the park user while promoting the park to friends, family and related connections after it has been Liked/Shared/etc.
CT have multiple brands in the market and the thinking behind this strategy was to build ‘strong local brands’. The 2 main factors in favour of this approach was the issue of liability which can hurt a brand if there is a serious incident or series of incidents. The other benefit (discovered at later date) relates to social media and the ability to geo-target customers. It also makes the brand easier to find on social networks as there are less listings.
Key takeaway – This strategy may not suit everyone but it has certainly been very successful for CT. The liability argument certainly makes a lot of sense.
The ‘Broken Windows’ theory was probably most famously deployed by Rudy Guliani (when Mayor) to reduce crime in New York in the 1990s. The basic premise is that cutting down on minor breaches of the law or deploying a zero tolerance type policy also has an impact on reducing more serious crime. This can apply to parks and after it was deployed by CT, was found to have a positive effect.
Key takeaway – Members of staff need to make customers aware from the outset that broken rules however minor, will not be tolerated. This is a good way to establish a boundary to ensure customers are kept as safe as possible.
This was a fascinating interview from someone who is a real innovator in the market. I’ve listed quite a few of the areas covered by the interview but I would recommend listening to the podcast in full. I would also recommend listening to this podcast going forward as it covers the family entertainment industry and we can certainly learn from other park owners as well as operators from other industries.
My name is David Woodward and I am part of the European and US trampoline park division at Samurai Trampoline Products. At Samurai we specialise in trampoline grip socks, party packs, custom clothing, key accessories and retail products. We are the #1 global supplier of branded merchandising products for trampoline parks. Please contact us to find out how we can help your business grow.