AIP's third State of the Industry survey revealed cautious optimism amongst operators who are bracing themselves for the onset of summer trading, which is generally slow for the industry with hot sunny weather, and with the cost of living crisis potentially forcing parents to cut back on spending.
The survey revealed that whilst the industry has bounced back after COVID with strong year on year trade and profits, the industry has had to make changes to keep in step including a shift to online booking, weekday closings when quiet and also charging for adult admission (83% of Operators now charge for adult admission, up from 78% 12 months ago).
It has been very unusual for Operators to make changes to what has historically been seven days a week operation. Reducing opening and trading hours has been one of the biggest changes brought on by COVID. 26% of Operators have reduced their trading hours/days and a further 12% are considering making reductions.
Confidence has undoubtedly increased amongst Operators. In the last year 10% of AIP Members have opened further sites, whether they be the same model or complimentary. Encouragingly, 27% respondents indicate that they are looking to grow and expand their operations at this time, a steep increase from 9% who were planning to expand when surveyed last year.
Operators main concerns include inflation/cost of living crisis affecting customer spend as well as rampant inflation which is severely affecting profit margins.