Making the Most of a Themed Location

themeareaThe purpose of theming a location is a form of multi-sensory marketing intended for the visitor to potentially leave their every day own world behind without having to travel very far. Examples of themed areas might be indoors (i.e. a dance club featuring pirates and ships or a performance area such as a stage telling a story), outdoors (i.e. oversized plants in an amusement park that reduces the relative size of tourists to ants), and even underwater (i.e. a submarine ride that passes by sharks and tallking fish) through the use of music, lighting, props, and smells.

The tempo of the music and sound effects can set the mood of a themed area such as ghostly sounds in a cemetery scene or whimsical tunes in a cartoon area. Colored lights can also contribute towards the sensory experience which is the case when lightning strikes appear randomly in front of the visitor while drops of water fall onto them to simulate a rain storm. Finally, props are the most common elements of a themed area and are most effective when they are unique and memorable only at that particular location. Props should be time-period consistent with the intended theme and contribute towards telling the story without overwhelming the visitor nor saturating the area.

The use of props should enhance the intended focus of the area and not detract from it such as the case when large props improperly positioned or are overlapping each other. Questions such as why a particular prop is being used should be asked throughout the setup and/or performance time to determine whether that particular prop is really needed. Observation of the initial visitors are key in determining the effectiveness of a prop as their visit time and actions (i.e. are they distracted with personal tasks such as instant messaging with others or interacting with the props) should provide sufficient clues whether the excess or lack of proper theming has occurred.