How about some CHANGE?

21 May

Last week we discussed in class change management. How important this is in our lives, in our businesses and actually almost everywhere. We had two examples, Soutwest Airlines and 7-Eleven Japan, which showed that change management is very crucial and successful. 

However not just in business change is a fundamental part, also in our lives change is even more necessary than important. For example after school we go to college and therefore we live in a different city, we have a new flat, new surroundings and a new time lapse. All those changes make us more self-consistent and give us more experience and that is why they are necessary. However in the beginning it is probably not easy, actually it is very hard to change.

So we can see that change management is very important in our lives and also in businesses, but I still questioned myself: why? Why is change so important in businesses?

I thought about it a lot and I want to show you my conclusion on an example of a business: the entertainment business.

I guess all of you know the „Heide-Park Resort“ in Soltau. This is one of the biggest German amusement parks in Lower Saxony with an overall area of over 850000 m². This park is part of the British-based company Merlin Entertainments.

I have been there a lot of times, because I just love the roller coasters and the park itself is just amazing. However, when you go there at least once a year you recognize change. Since 2008 I have been visiting the park almost every year and it changed a lot. They have projects for every year and the park grows, gets new and more attractions and changes. Some weeks ago I visited the Heide-Park Soltau and I got to know the new attraction „Krake“, which established this year, 2012, and I saw some signs for the new attraction called „Transilvanien“, which will open up in 2014. So they really have a lot going on. But why do they change so much and every year?

First of all it is of course for the visitors. I f they come to see the park one year and experienced all the rides, roller coasters and attractions certainly they want new attractions for the next visit so that they will not get bored. Finally by having new attractions, more people will come to see the park, therefore Heide-Park Soltau will get more money and the investments for the new attractions will pay off.

For the Heide-Park Soltau it is also very crucial to have a good reputation. They do not want to have similar rides and roller coasters. They want to give their visitors by each attraction a different and exclusive experience. That is why they have so many different kind of roller coasters and attractions. For example, the Heide-Park Soltau has a wooden roller coaster, which is called „Colossos“. It is the tallest and fastest wooden roller coaster in Europe and the tallest running wooden roller coaster in the world. With this special roller coaster they got an entry in the Guiness World Records, which of course gave the Heide-Park Soltau a great reputation.

Those facts seem to be clear and very obvious. In most businesses visitors and reputation are the reason for change. However, there are some other reasons why Heide-Park Soltau is changing so much. Hannes W. Mairinger is the CEO of this amusement park and in April 2012 he celebrated his 10th anniversary as a CEO in this park. In an interview he said some interesting facts about the park’s change management. 

According to Mairinger there are 3 parts in which the park changed the most for the last ten years. One part are the different themes the park has. Mairinger said that back in time they thought that one roller coaster would be enough, but now they have different roller coaster considering different themes (e.g. pirates, water, desert). In accordance with Mairinger they will also in the future build up the focus on the themes to offer the visitors even more experiences.

Part two deals with the change of the park considering the basin. In the past the park was more regional, but now they changed their strategy by building a resort with a hotel. So that people, who live far away, have an option to stay over night and enjoy the visit even more. The third part is the event-management. They started arranging more events to get a bigger target group.

Hannes W. Mairinger commented also on the ideas of the attraction. A „Masterplan“ of the Heide-Park Soltau exists, where they already wrote down how they are going to change and what new attractions they are going to build. The most interesting part about this „Masterplan“ is that they still put the focus on customer satisfaction and uniqueness.

At the end of the interview there was one question, whether there is a point in the „Masterplan“, where they say: „We are done!“. Would you guess how Mairinger’s answer looked like? He said: „Never!“. They will never stop changing, because time will never stop changing. By the time there are done with one project so many other technologies will be developed to start with other projects.

As you can see change is very important for all businesses. They have to move and change when time is moving and changing and this is almost all the time the case. Change gives a business more success and great results. However, you can change your life as much as you want and a business can change as much as it can, there are still certain characteristics and elements, which will stay the same. You will still be the person probably with more experiences and more self-reliance, but still you. And a business such as the Heide-Park Soltau will still be the Heide-Park Soltau with more and new attractions, however with the same focus on customer satisfaction and singularity!

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One Response to “How about some CHANGE?”

  1. juleswilma June 3, 2012 at 6:54 pm #

    Hi Melissa,
    your post on change management in the Heide-Park Resort is very interesting. Like you, I’m a big fan of rollercoster and I have been to the Heide Park already several times as well but I have never paid too much attention to all the changes that have been made between my visits in the park. I simply enjoyed it that there were always new and different attractions to keep me entertained. Therefore I really like the way you looked at it and that you also included statements of the CEO of the park which gives it a very professional touch but on the other hand you also made it quite personal because in beginning you mentioned the changes that we as students have to face and you explained you personal experiences with the Heide-Park Resort.
    Well done!

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