Millennials Are Behind Universal's Substantial Theme Park Growth

Millennials are now America's largest generation, and Universal knows how to target them effectively By: Valerie Chen
Universal Studios Hollywood’s new “The Walking Dead” attraction is drawing millennials. // © 2016 Universal Studios
Universal Studios Hollywood’s new “The Walking Dead” attraction is drawing millennials. // © 2016 Universal Studios

The Details

What:
City guide mobile app Foursquare has released data indicating that millennials are now the ones to watch — and sell to — when it comes to theme park travel.

Why It Matters:
When selling theme park vacations, travel agents should look beyond families with young children. Universal’s Hollywood and Orlando theme parks have increased their millennial visitor share from 11 percent in 2014 to a projected 15 to 16 percent this year. This impressive growth can be attributed to new rides and attractions featuring popular and millennial-friendly franchises, including “Harry Potter,” “The Fast and the Furious,” “The Simpsons” and “The Walking Dead.” And since millennials have exceeded baby boomers as the largest living generation in the U.S., it would be wise for the other theme parks — and travel agents — to follow in Universal’s footsteps.

Fast Facts:
- Millennials have overtaken baby boomers as America’s largest generation, according to Pew Re-search Center and population estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau in April.

- Following the opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley at Universal Orlando in July 2014, millennial visits jumped 25 percent in comparison to previous weeks.

- Following the opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Hollywood in April 2016, millennial visits jumped 63 percent for the first week, then slightly fell to 58 percent of pre-Harry Pot-ter millennial visits the next week.

- From 2014 through 2016, millennials have made up almost half of Universal’s visitor count.

What They Are Saying:
“From this study, we see that millennials have untapped resources to spend on theme parks and en-tertainment,” said Jeff Glueck, CEO of Foursquare. “This group responds well to concepts directed specifically at their demographic: from current pop culture (The Walking Dead) to nostalgia (Poke-monGo, anyone?). There’s a vast opportunity for other theme parks and entertainment brands to fur-ther capitalize on familiar and relevant new characters to get people off the couch and into theme parks, theaters and the like.”

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