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Wednesday 17 January 2018
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22 Nov 2017
IAAPA 2017: Universal's Thierry Coup on taking immersive design to the next level

The man behind Universal Studios’ most successful visitor attractions says operators looking to stay ahead of the curve must go above and beyond to deliver new levels of immersive experiences.

Thierry Coup, senior vice president of Universal Creative, said that following successes such as Universal’s Harry Potter attractions, public expectation is higher than ever and visitor attractions are tasked to live up to those expectations.

“We have to deliver experiences that are much more immersive than anything you can find out there,” said Coup, speaking during the Legends panel at this year’s IAAPA Expo in Orlando, Florida.

“You can utilise technologies VR or AR but there’s nothing like entering a world where you have been transported completely. It’s not just igniting the basic senses like touch and sound.”

For the Wizarding World of Harry Potter attraction – first opened at Islands of Adventure in Orlando and then replicated at Universal’s parks in Los Angeles and Osaka following phenomenal success – Coup described how multiple senses were integral to the design when creating the attraction to ensure a one-of-a-kind experience.

“You walk into the Wizarding World and you can smell things coming from the restaurant, and it feels very much like what was described in the Harry Potter books by JK Rowling,” he said.

“She did such a great job of describing every one of the senses, that when you finally taste the Butterbeer for example, it’s like a system of engaging everything and placing you in a world that you can’t find anywhere else but there.”

There are, of course, challenges to IP collaboration, which Coup described as “almost like marrying someone for their wonderful child”.

“You have to get along, you have to develop this relationship, but the goal is to ensure together that this ‘child’ is successful,” he said. “That comes with a lot of complexity from the partner but there are so many great things that come along with that.

“For Harry Potter it was small shops, small stores, no marquees, no signage, small entrances – it goes against all the rules we have set for the perfect operating theme park. We learned from that and we were very open because we had to be.

“In the Transformers ride working with Michael Bay, we said ‘we can’t do slow motion on a ride, that won’t work’. But then we tried it and it was actually a great success.

“You have to make compromises. You have to learn as much as you can about where the IP came from and was born. You have to put your ego away and both sides have to speak to each other. It becomes a crazy great marriage and you end up with this amazing final product.”

Check back with Attractions Management and AM2 for all the latest news coming out of IAAPA 2017.


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11 Jan 2018
Fitness sector leaders set for Madrid training programme
Top executives from the physical activity sector's leading organisations will converge in Madrid, Spain, next month to discuss business issues that will affect the growth of the industry globally.
21 Dec 2017
Birmingham named host city for 2022 Commonwealth Games
Birmingham has officially been named the host of the 2022 Commonwealth Games, beating competition from Kuala Lumpur, Victoria (Canada) and Australia.
20 Dec 2017
Golf leaders to challenge tradition at first Golf Business Innovation Show
The future model for golf clubs and businesses will take centre stage as leaders convene for the inaugural Golf Business Innovation Show in February.
20 Dec 2017
Birmingham set to win bid for 2022 Commonwealth Games
Birmingham is set to be officially announced as the host of the 2022 Commonwealth Games tomorrow (21 December).
13 Dec 2017
Drayson celebrates rise from school drop-out to UK fitness industry's Outstanding Individual of 2017
Danny Drayson has been on a journey from school drop-out to young person development ambassador at Life Leisure – and has now landed Active Training Awards' Outstanding Individual of the Year title along the way.
12 Dec 2017
World Spa Awards winners revealed: Talise Ottoman named best resort spa
The winners of this year’s World Spa Awards have been announced during a gala reception held at the JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay resort in Vietnam.
06 Dec 2017
David Adjaye to address race and architecture at Design Miami
David Adjaye will speak on a panel at the 13th annual Design Miami international design fair this afternoon (6 December).
06 Dec 2017
Speakers announced for Forum HOTel&Spa
Tom Bauer, Martin Rhomberg, Roger Allen, Caroline Mahe and Beata Aleksandrowicz have been announced as speakers at next year’s Forum HOTel&Spa conference.
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Diary dates
16-18 Jan 2018
Visitor Attraction Expo
ExCel London Exhibition Centre
London
United Kingdom
16-18 Jan 2018
EAG International
ExCel London Exhibition Centre
London
17-18 Jan 2018
Museum Connections
Porte de Versailles
Paris
France
24-25 Jan 2018
ARCHITECT@WORK - UK
Olympia London
London
United Kingdom
27-29 Jan 2018
International Salon and Spa Expo
Long Beach Convention Center
Long Beach
United States
29-30 Jan 2018
Facilities Management Forum
Radisson Blu Hotel, London Stansted
Stansted
United Kingdom
30 Jan - 01 Feb 2018
Spatex 2018
Ericsson Exhibition Hall, Ricoh Arena
Coventry
United Kingdom
01-04 Feb 2018
CONFEC Red 2018
Mövenpick Hotel Mansour Eddahbi Marrakech
Marrakech
Morocco
05 Feb 2018
SAPCA Annual Conference and Dinner 2018
Chesford Grange Hotel
Kenilworth
United Kingdom
05 Feb 2018
(Technology. Innovation. Design. Experience.) TIDE conference
Hotel Okura
Amsterdam
Netherlands
05-06 Feb 2018
Professional Beauty GCC
The Meydan
Dubai
United Arab Emirates
06-08 Feb 2018
Surface Design Show
Business Design Centre
London
United Kingdom
07 Feb 2018
Occupational Safety & Health Forum
Radisson Blu Hotel, London Stansted
Stansted
United Kingdom
11-14 Feb 2018
Active Living Research Conference 2018
Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity
Banff
Canada
more diary dates
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