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Don’t count on cabin fever to drive attendance

Relying on people having cabin fever to drive attendance at a family entertainment center type facility is wishful thinking. The world of out-of-home entertainment has changed dramatically in the last decade or so. Several decades ago, short of playing Monopoly at home, you had to leave the home for any meaningful form of entertainment. Now we have multiple and high quality digital entertainment available at home, whether it is Blu-ray movies on a high def television with surround sound or the newer motion-based game consoles like Wii, soon to be available in 3D, or the newer Kinect. Now smartphones offer us games and entertainment, even movies we can view, while we travel the outside world. And for socializing, our at-home options have significantly expanded. We now have multiple platforms such as Facebook, texting, and digital social games, the most type popular of all games. The bar has been raised to get people to take the effort and make the investment to leave their homes. To get people out of the home, it needs to be a compelling unachieveable@home experience. But the bar has been raised, the quality has to be much higher than years ago for all aspects of the experience, including the physical facility, the level of service, the food and beverage, even the entertainment. Most of all, it has to be a social experience far richer and rewarding than what can be achieved in the digital realm. The tried and true entertainment attractions still work. It’s how you serve them up that matters. Today, consumers expect, demand, much more before you will get them to part with their leisure time and disposable dollars. Cabin fever alone won’t do it.

About Randy White

Randy White is CEO and co-founder of the White Hutchinson Leisure & Learning Group. The 31-year-old company, with offices in Kansas City, Missouri, has worked for over 600 clients in 37 countries throughout the world. Projects the company has designed and produced have won seventeen 1st place awards. Randy is considered to be one of the world's foremost authorities on feasibility, brand development, design and production of leisure experience destinations including entertainment, eatertainment, edutainment, agritainment/agritourism, play and leisure facilities.

Randy was featured on the Food Network's Unwrapped television show as an eatertainment expert, quoted as an entertainment/edutainment center expert in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York Times and Time magazine and received recognition for family-friendly designs by Pizza Today magazine. One of the company's projects was featured as an example of an edutainment project in the book The Experience Economy. Numerous national newspapers have interviewed him as an expert on shopping center and mall entertainment and retail-tainment.

Randy is a graduate of New York University. Prior to repositioning the company in 1989 to work exclusively in the leisure and learning industry, White Hutchinson was active in the retail/commercial real estate industry as a real estate consultancy specializing in workouts/turnarounds of commercial projects. In the late 1960s to early 1980s, Randy managed a diversified real estate development company that developed, owned and managed over 2.0 million square feet of shopping centers and mixed-use projects and 2,000 acres of residential subdivisions. Randy has held the designations of CSM (Certified Shopping Center Manager) and Certified Retail Property Executive (CRX) from the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC).

He has authored over 150 articles that have been published in over 40 leading entertainment/leisure and early childhood education industry magazines and journals and has been a featured speaker and keynoter at over 40 different conventions and trade groups.

Randy is the editor of his company's Leisure eNewsletter, has a blog and posts on Twitter and Linkedin.

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