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Friday 21 September 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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19 Sep 2018
Edgbaston to increase capacity for Ashes test and World Cup
Edgbaston Stadium is increasing its capacity ahead of a bumper year of international cricket in 2019, when the venue will host an Ashes test as well as matches during the ICC Cricket World Cup.
18 Sep 2018
Tokyo preparing for 'transformative' Olympic Games
The organising committee for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games has pledged to use the 'power of sport to change the world', when it hosts the event in two years' time.
13 Sep 2018
Global Wellness Institute to release in-depth analysis on global wellness economy
The Global Wellness Institute will release an in-depth update of its Global Wellness Economy Monitor at this year’s Global Wellness Summit, taking place at Technogym Village, Cesena, Italy, 6-8 October.
13 Sep 2018
Freedom of movement to lead agenda at ETOA European Tourism Summit
This year's European Tourism Summit, which is being held in Lucerne next month, will focus on the threats on freedom of movement and other key issues facing the European tourism sector.
11 Sep 2018
Rem Koolhaas to deliver keynote at World Architecture Festival
Dutch architect and founder of Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) Rem Koolhaas will deliver the closing keynote speech at the 2018 World Architecture Festival (WAF).
06 Sep 2018
Irene and Rocco Forte to discuss intergenerational collaboration at GWS
International hotelier Sir Rocco Forte and his daughter, Irene Forte, will share insights into how intergenerational collaboration has helped the award-winning hospitality company embrace generations of guests, including the coveted millennials, during the Global Wellness Summit next month in Italy.
03 Sep 2018
Indonesia throws its hat in 2032 Olympic bid ring
Indonesian president Joko Widodo has revealed the country's intentions to bid for the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
04 Sep 2018
Former NBA Europe chief Ben Morel named CEO of Six Nations Rugby
The Six Nations Council has appointed Benjamin Morel as the new chief executive of Six Nations Rugby – the organisation responsible for the international rugby championship.
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Diary dates
24 Apr - 26 Nov 2018
MAPIC Russia
Expocentre
Moscow
Russia
22-23 Sep 2018
World Wellness Weekend
Worldwide
23-24 Sep 2018
The International Congress of Esthetics and Spa - Long Beach
Long Beach Convention Center
Long Beach
United States
23-27 Sep 2018
EAS (Euro Attractions Show) 2018
RAI Exhibition and Convention Centre
Amsterdam
Germany
24-26 Sep 2018
ISPA Conference and Expo 2018
Phoenix Convention Center
Phoenix
United States
24-27 Sep 2018
SIBEC North America
Omni La Costa Resort & Spa
Carlsbad
United States
25-26 Sep 2018
International Wellness Conclave (IWC2018)
Radisson Blu Plaza Delhi Airport
Delhi
India
26-27 Sep 2018
Hotel Investment Conference (Hot.E)
Hilton London Bankside
London
United Kingdom
29-30 Sep 2018
SFN Expo
SEC Glasgow
Glasgow
United Kingdom
29 Sep - 02 Oct 2018
ASTC 2018 Annual Conference
Connecticut Science Center
Hartford
United States
30 Sep - 01 Oct 2018
Olympia Beauty
Olympia Exhibition Centre
London
United Kingdom
01-02 Oct 2018
Energy Management Summit
Radisson Blu Hotel, London Stansted
Stansted
United Kingdom
01-02 Oct 2018
Professional Beauty Mumbai
Bombay Exhibition Centre
Mumbai
India
04 Oct 2018
VAC 2018 (The Annual National Conference of Visitor Attractions)
Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre
London
United Kingdom
more diary dates
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