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Leisure and digital can be retail’s friends

 
®Nicolas de Villiers, president, Puy du Fou / Pascal Ferracci, CEO of Parque Reunidos - Photos Yann Coatsaliou

AT THE LeisurUp session Leisure & Retail: A New Chapter, on Tuesday, November 30, Nicolas de Villiers, president, Puy du Fou, told MAPIC delegates that he viewed digital as a bigger threat to retail than leisure, because replicating physical experiences is not possible, even though people do have ever-increasing at-home entertainment options.
“As soon as we create strong physical, emotional experiences that you cannot get at home, then we can attract people,” he said. “[There are] no boundaries between work, education and home… so this is a good opportunity to answer something new in people’s lives. We have to face this new world.”
He said his dream was to be able to reach children in Brazil and China and attract them to the parks in Europe, showing that digital could be used to connect with completely new markets.
At the same session, Pascal Ferracci, CEO of Parque Reundos, said: “Digital is transforming the way we interact with our guests. We have quite an extensive digital road map. We use local brands, based in our communities. So we are not as dependent on tourism as many competitors,” he said of a business that operates in 12 different countries and also across a range of different activities.
“We are enhancing our value proposition through investment, animation and entertainment,” Ferracci added. “We will invest €800m over the next five years by expanding and acquiring sites. Turnover now is close to €700m.”
Ferracci stressed that leisure remains a robust sector: “Currently everything out-of-home is almost back to normal. Our industry is benefitting from an increasing demand and a local demand. A large proportion of the population is prioritising time with their friends and family. A great way to capture this is through local brands and regional parks, close to our customers.”
Puy Du Fou is “an epic journey through time, where many visitors spend two or three days. The company has been expanding its model and has sites in France and Spain,” DeVilliers said, adding: “Our purpose is to get four parks by 2030 and a new urban format, to show inside the city,” he said. “I believe that leisure enhances retail because we talk with emotion to the heart of the people. It is more important than ever.”
 
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