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Some bad and some good news

The risk of catching the coronavirus, getting sick, possibly being hospitalized, and even death is going to diminish over the coming months as people get vaccinated. More and more people will once again be visiting out-of-home entertainment and arts (OOH E&A). However, the virus is not the only thing keeping people from attending out-of-home public leisure events. Even when they gain immunity from Covid, there’s another factor. The pandemic has had an adverse financial impact on many people due to loss of work or reduced incomes, causing them to tap savings and retirement funds or go into debt. It will take many people a long time to dig out of their financial hole. Many may never fully recover. As a result, their discretionary spending on OOH E&A will be severely limited compared to pre-Covid.

A greater share of the lower socioeconomic has had financial difficulties during the pandemic than the higher socioeconomic. We are likely to see less attendance by them post-Covid than pre-Covid. This will result in the higher-socioeconomic being a higher percentage of the remaining attendance and spending than pre-Covid when households headed by someone with a bachelor’s or higher degree accounted for nearly three-quarters of all spending for fees and admissions to OOH E&A. The industry will become even more bifurcated, more gentrified.

Here’s some current data on the pandemic’s financial struggles by different demographics.

Chart, timeline

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Now for the good news. People are most excited about getting together with family and friends and dining in sit-down restaurants. But only one percentage point behind dining at their favorite sit-down restaurant, they are eager to get back to visiting “fun places,” which includes LBEs and FECs. It’s likely that the most social LBEs and FECs, those they can visit with family or friends and have a social experience together, will be the initial top choice for most people.


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Tomorrow’s issue of our monthly Leisure eNewsletter will have an in-depth analysis of the potential impact a post-pandemic-era permanent increase to working from home may have on OOH E&A. If you aren’t signed up to receive our eNewsletter, you can subscribe by clicking here.

Follow me on Twitter and Linkedin – I try to post news and information relevant to the location-based leisure, LBE and FEC industries a few times every weekday. 

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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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