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Tuesday, 07 February, 2017, 17 : 27 PM [IST]

‘We are ambitious about our Downtown EsselWorld brand’

EsselWorld, home to a variety of rides, appropriate for individuals of all ages is one of the largest amusement parks in India. It attracts more than 1.8 million visitors annually, with majority being students. With the growing competition in the market from the other amusement parks, Shrish Deshpande, CEO, Essel World, in an email interaction with Anurag Tiwari, elaborates on how EsselWorld is differentiating itself in a contrasting way
Q. What are the latest offerings of EsselWorld and Water Kingdom?
A. Recently we have also launched a new party venue called ‘Shaken & Stirred’ exclusively catering to corporate employees. Located inside our park premises, the high-class party venue boasts for its superior ambience and exquisite cuisine service that will have patrons coming back for more. We are very bullish that ‘Shaken & Stirred’ will very soon become one of the most favoured destinations for corporate parties and employee engagement activities.

EsselWorld has also added a dash of new rides in recent years, like the ‘Shot ‘N’ Drop’ (India’s tallest tower ride), Top Spin (India’s craziest ride), ‘Monsters in the Mist’ (International Dark ride), ‘Copper Chopper’ and ‘Aero Swinger’.

Q. Are you taking any initiatives to promote EsselWorld and Water Kingdom in and outside Mumbai?
A. We are taking multiple initiatives to promote our brand within and outside Mumbai. Outdoor advertising is one of the key driving agents and we have done multiple OOH campaigns across the city. Recently, we associated with Independence Rock, which is a famous and the oldest rock music festival organised in India and hosted a rock competition - EsselWorld Rock. We have also introduced EsselWorld-Water Kingdom kiosks, first at the Mumbai airport and subsequently at various shopping malls located at prime localities in Mumbai. Going beyond the city boundaries, EsselWorld kiosks are now in Pune, Aurangabad and Surat malls too. All these 10 kiosks have Thrill Box (gifting option), entry tickets and merchandise products of EsselWorld, Water Kingdom and Downtown EsselWorld on display and for sale.

Q. What kind of bookings you get from OTAs and traditional agents?
A. Over the years we have seen that the traditional agents contribute to our business through school picnic bookings which are about 15-20 %. Online agents are active since the last 2-3 years and there is also a rapid growth in booking through which contributes on an average of 8-10%. The maximum visitors that we have witnessed are the FITs (Free Individual Travellers). Student segment has been the best performer for us. Travel agents offer special discounted offers for students, inclusive of travel and food, attracting various educational institutions.

Q. How has EsselWorld and Water Kingdom adapted to the growing competition from the other amusement parks in and around Mumbai?
A. Competition motivates you to always deliver the best outcome. We were the first amusement park in India to come up in such a scale and always enjoy the first mover advantage. We constantly innovate to keep ourselves ahead of our competitors.

We are also the only company to come out with our brand extensions - Downtown EsselWorld, an indoor family entertainment centre, which we had launched in May 2015 at Pune’s Seasons Mall and take it to another city. With our ‘Shaken & Stirred’ product we are now the only player in the industry to operate a high-end corporate party destination within the park premises.

The EsselWorld Rock event hosted inside the park presented our customers with a unique opportunity to enjoy some wonderful rock music along with fun with family at the park. Going forward we plan to come up with more such interesting events for our customers.

Q. What are the future plans in terms of business tie ups and expansion of EsselWorld and Water Kingdom?
A. We are quite ambitious about our Downtown EsselWorld brand and wish to scale it up further to more cities across India. Built over an area of 16,000 sq ft, Downtown EsselWorld (DEW) caters to all age groups and houses three major attractions such as Snow Town, Cricket Town and Laser Warrior. It also has a lounge area serving snacks and beverages and a shop town which has a range of merchandise and souvenirs.
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