Please read the following articles:
“Improving Guest Experience through Forecasting: How analytics enhance the guest experience at Walt Disney World” Links to an external site. by Pete Buczkowski and Hai Chu, 2021
“Forecasting And Budgeting Can Improve Your Company’s Fiscal Performance” Links to an external site.by Jeff Neilson via Forbes
“Behind the magic: Inside Disney’s Distribution Services”Links to an external site.
After reading the articles, respond to one of the following questions. Then respond/comment to two posts from your classmates.
What could be the potential challenges in running a theme park, like Disney, without using forecasting methods at different departments of the company such as operations, finance, marketing, etc.?
Discuss the pros and cons of holding inventory in theme park gift stores. Can excess inventory be sold in future seasons or would you rather have to deal with excess inventory at the end of the season? Consider one of the following theme parks when answering the question: Six Flags, Disney World, or Universal Studios.
Classmate 1: Running a theme park without the use of forecasting methods would be a potential disaster. First, since forecasting is used to predict park attendance, the operations department would face a significant challenge if they had no idea how many visitors to expect. They wouldn’t be able to properly order food, drinks, supplies and merchandise. They also wouldn’t know how many employees (cast members) to hire in order to safely and efficiently run the park. At Disney specifically, another challenge would be figuring out the FASTPASS system since that enables guests to skip the long lines. Forecasting can help to figure out the wait times on each individual attraction and therefore, help to keep the lines running smoothly.
Challenges for the finance department would be the unknown of the annual expected revenue without the projected numbers of visitors and the other metrics that forecasting provides. The marketing department would not have the information necessary to know their target markets and what type of strategies to employ to best fit their demographic audience. Another challenge Disney World could face which would impact all of the aforementioned departments is a COVID type shut down. However, by forecasting and budgeting, the Disney corporation is able to plan for unexpected events such as these.
Disney World is able to avoid many of these challenges due to the fact that they engage in forecasting simulations which allow them to identify problems and figure out solutions virtually, eliminating potential problems before they occur.
Classmate 2: A potential challenge that can arise in running a theme park like Disney, without using forecasting methods at different departments of the company, is decreased customer satisfaction. Businesses can utilize forecasting as a vital instrument to forecast the future and make choices regarding resource allocation, sales prices, and capacity planning. It would be challenging to adequately plan for and manage capacity without forecasting. Customers will have to wait in long lines and there’s a chance that some may not get tickets at all which can lead to low customer satisfaction and loss in revenue. That is why Disney implemented the FAST-PASS system. Buczkowski and Chu (2012) states, “Another innovative way the resort uses forecasting is for attraction wait times. The most popular attractions utilize Disney’s FASTPASS system – a unique virtual queueing system that allows guests to receive a ticket with a designated one-hour window of time when they can return and skip the regular line” (p. 14). Simply stated, Disney’s FASTPASS system is a system that allows guests to “skip long lines.” Another potential challenge that can arise in running a theme park like Disney, without using forecasting methods at different departments of the company, is unplanned inventory. Buczkowski and Chu (2012) states, “…the distribution of individual garment sizes also changes as the cast mix evolves over time. Unlike a traditional inventory system, garments are laundered and placed back on the shelf after cast members return the garments… This dynamic environment requires sophisticated forecasting models to have enough garments to meet cast member demand while not overspending on garments that sit on a shelf” (p.14). In other words, if forecasting methods aren’t used, due to excess inventory that will be more expensive than anticipated inventory, it may result in inventory problems that cause challenges for businesses like Disney.
Please read the following articles: