Quantity vs. Quality

Welcome to 2019! New year. New opportunities.

For us at Liseberg, it also means that we have wrapped up 2018. And our fiscal year. It’s a time for taking stock. And closing down all weather apps, at last for a while.

In many ways, 2018 was a weird year for Liseberg. Not at all bad, just weird.

An unusually warm summer, a World Cup where Sweden performed way too well for my taste, and a delayed opening of our new B&M Dive Machine Valkyria all contributed to a rather disappointing summer season.

But then Halloween happened. And Christmas. And we ended up in a pretty good place. (Press Release – Robust year for Liseberg.pdf). In fact, attendance wise, we ended up exactly where we have been the last 4 years, which is good, given our operational environment.

Sending out the press release marking our season finale made me think about how we, in the industry, always communicate attendance figures. Both internally, when we want to set a direction for the team, and externally when we communicate with the media.

In many ways it does make sense.  Attendance figures are simple, tangible and easy to communicate. But at the same time, it is also a little bit like looking one part of an equation, ignoring the rest.

And if this over-focus on attendance figures spills over into the financial management of our companies, we may end up being in trouble.

First of all, we risk steering our companies on the wrong KPI’s. We can end up in a situation, where we actually buy guests. With discounts. Over programming. Over investment. And this risk is often super-imposed, if a company has to report to investors with a rather short perspective.

Second, a guest is not a guest. They tend to lose value, with increasing volume. Guest number 5 000 000 typically spends a lot less than guest number 4 000 000. And extension of seasons and opening hours has to be done carefully, as the rule of decreasing yield can hit hard.

Third, growing volume always has the risk of compromising quality. Which can be dangerous, when you work with experiences, like we do. There is without a doubt a negative correlation between many guests and guest satisfaction. At Liseberg, 46 000 guests on a December Saturday may be good for short term cash flow, but it is not good for long term success of our Christmas market.

Getting back to the press release; I know that we as an industry will always be attendance driven. It will drive communication, also in the future. But I try not to have it drive behaviour. Too much.

Because quality is more important than quantity. Any time.






2 thoughts on Quantity vs. Quality

  1. As an Accountant this post has my interest more than usual.

    I entirely agree with your comment about ensuring the metrics we are focused on are the right ones for our organisation not just to repeat the industry standard.

    The industry I work in (Indepent School Education) is not under pressure from increased competition as with the leisure and amusements industry, the demand is in decline.

    Without going to too much detail the public viewed and industry KPI will always be around Grades achieved, head count and gross fee charged. What gets missed is all the other metrics that allowed us to continue to not only operate but sustainably grow in a rincinding market. As with the amusement industry discounting is a factor, how much do you discount to maintain/grow the numbers and what affect does it have on the core offering and ultimately bottom line.

    I believe for my organisation carefully controlling the discount applied, having a strong core product, being heavily invested in our customer and creating unique experiences allows us to be in the position we are. I don’t think this is a huge disparity to Lisebergs position?

    Anyway just a few ramblings. Kindest regards and best wishes Patrick

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