The positive impact of reopening with brand new attractions. With Adam Goymour, Company Director at Roarr! Dinosaur Adventure.

In today’s Skip the Queue episode I’m joined by the Roarrsome ! Company Director & Park Manager at Roarr! Dinosaur Adventure.

We discuss the government support for the sector, reopening plans, audience engagement and the positive impact of reopening with brand new attractions.

“We knew we had to keep connected with our customers and we had to look to engage with them in their homes. So we brought the Roarr! experience to them.”

What will you learn from this podcast?

  • Government support for the sector
  • The challenge of developing complex reopening plans
  • Audience engagement when you cant be open
  • The positive impact of reopening with brand new attractions
  • Meeting your idols and Tom Hardy’s phone number!

To listen to the full podcast, search Skip The Queue on iTunes, Google Podcasts and Spotify to subscribe. You can find links to every episode and more at www.rubbercheese.com/podcast.

You can also read the full transcript below.

The interview

Your host, Kelly Molson

Our guest, Adam Goymour

Kelly Molson: Adam, it is so great to have you on the podcast today. Thank you so much for coming in. As you know, these podcasts start off with a little icebreaker question. So I have prepared some new ones for you today that you have not been able to prepare for. So have you ever met any of your idols?

Adam Goymour:Have I ever met any of my idols? No, however, during the summer periods we’ve had a couple of celebrities visit us. Jimmy Doherty from Jimmy’s Farm.

Kelly Molson: Great.

Adam Goymour:He came with his family, he spent the whole day here. I met him, we had a few photos. We also collaborate with our membership schemes and it was really a good occasion because we had the chance to have a chat, talk about business, just talk about life really. He asked for my number to … sounds like a date really doesn’t it?

Kelly Molson: It does a little bit, yeah.

Adam Goymour:So we could carry on that chat that we had, which was really good. The unannounced one we had was Tom Hardy himself, who came to the park, which was unexpected. I think a lot of guys were unsure if it was him or not. We had one of our bloggers in the park who did talk to me and say, “I think he’s on the park.” But she couldn’t really confirm that or not. But learn to behold, until he was then leaving, to be only then know that he was on the park, but thankfully the blogger had some pictures taken off him and we could just re-share that.

Kelly Molson: Brilliant.

Adam Goymour:I didn’t get the chance … well, I haven’t had the chance as yet in my life to meet my idol. But I think those are two significant people that were quite nice to have at the park.

Kelly Molson: Are you a little bit disappointed that you didn’t get Tom Hardy’s number?

Adam Goymour: Absolutely, that would be a cool collab, if I could get him to do a dinosaur video or one of those things he did on CBeebies Storytime, that would have been amazing.

Kelly Molson: There you go. You’ve got a goal. You’ve got a goal for next time, right? That is brilliant. I love that, great story.

Okay. I don’t know that we’re going to be able to beat those answers, but what is your favorite meal to cook and why?

Adam Goymour:I love Italian food, but something I do cook because I rarely have a lot of time, being in a business, being quite active, having a few hobbies, I have a dog as well, I’m rarely at home for that long. So something I cook is quick and easy using Jamie Oliver’s books, it’s salmon fillets, and then I have gnocchi, some broccoli, and it takes 15, 20 minutes. So that’s probably my go-to meal.

Kelly Molson: Perfect. Nutritious and healthy as well, Adam.

Adam Goymour:Absolutely.

Kelly Molson: Okay. If you could watch only one film for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Adam Goymour:Easy question.

Kelly Molson: Oh?

Adam Goymour:Jurassic Park, the original.

Kelly Molson: I wasn’t expecting anything less than that.

Adam Goymour:Yeah, it’s a keen favorite. My mum and I always used to watch it, and we used to have coloring books when I was four or five years old that we always used to do together. It was a film I loved, so yeah.

Kelly Molson: And definitely the original as well, right? It was the best.

Adam Goymour:Yeah, it was.

Kelly Molson: Okay. So I know that you’ve listened to a few of these podcasts, so you might have already prepared for the last icebreaker question that I always ask. Tell me something that’s true, that almost nobody agrees with you on. So your unpopular opinion.

Adam Goymour:Yeah, I love that Greg James show. Rugby is better than football.

Kelly Molson: Okay. See I always wonder what people are going to comment on, on Twitter, when we put stuff like this out. But I think that will be probably quite 50, 50.

Adam Goymour:Well, football’s a global sport, isn’t it? Rugby’s getting there. I think for all of the community values that rugby brings and the atmosphere you see at a rugby club. I’ve played it since I was about nine years old and joined my local club, Diss, when I was living in Banham in Norfolk, from about from the age of 16, I think it was. I’ve played there ever since, and it’s been a fantastic environment to make friends, and to take myself away from the working environment, and keep myself fit and active really.

Kelly Molson:Is that one of your hobbies still today, playing rugby?

Adam Goymour:Yeah. I don’t play it perhaps as regularly as I used to now, but I still play it fairly regularly.

Kelly Molson: It’s a real complete contrast to your working day isn’t it, being on the rugby field?

Adam Goymour:Yeah, it’s still in that team environment. I love the team environment, I feed off it. So yeah, it’s something where I’ve captained and I’ve been a part of the senior squad, so I do enjoy being in that leadership role. So that’s another reason why I love it.

Kelly Molson: Great, thank you for sharing. I hope Greg James does listen to this podcast one day and knows that I’ve still stolen this from him, but with the greatest intention because I’m a big fan. Thanks, Greg.

Adam, I really want to … there are loads of things that I want to talk to you about today and with a lot of these podcast interviews where we’re talking about the future, I have to go back, because we can’t not talk about what’s just happened and what we’re still dealing with. So I want to ask you a little bit first about how lockdown has been for you.

What I saw was how very open, and authentic, and very quite vulnerable you were throughout it actually, in terms of the press reports and the news stories that we saw. I think that’s really admirable, and it’s something that I really admire you for. I just wanted to get a feel for how you felt and what you were going through?

Adam Goymour:I think I can start off by saying it was a rollercoaster of emotions, particularly as an owner/operator in the sector. I furloughed myself after the initial onslaught of working through an unexpected closedown, and the implications of it. It was a balancing act, you balance out the practicality and emotions of closing down your business, having a hundred-plus staff that you’re not able to offer work to, and finding yourself, after I furloughed myself, with time on my hands, which I never have had before. As I’ve been ingrained in a family business since I was a child, and it was the first real opportunity in a family business to stop, take a step back, and look at it from a different perspective.

On a personal side, I was excising my dog Millie quite a lot, spent time with my girlfriend, Rosie, reading, catching up with films, phoning friends that I’ve not spoken to for a long time because I’ve just been so busy with work. Apart from that, however, it gave me a good deal of valuable thinking and planning time. But also as the prospect of reopening loomed, there was a huge amount of planning and preparation to do for Roarr! that was eventually closed for 105 days. Zoom meetings were essential to work with managers remotely prior to returning to work at Roarr! Also.

So yeah, heck and all it went very quickly and it was surprising. There was calls to BALPPA, so the British Association of Leisure, Piers, Parks, and Attractions, and also NFAN, National Farm Attractions Network. They held some twice weekly, some of them were once weekly. There’s also support from the Council, Norfolk Chamber of Commerce, and I was the representative, and that was obviously after I was furloughed, and I was the representative for the park.

So, I was being pulled left, right and center, and trying to keep everything together as well as understanding it myself in the limited time that I had. So yeah, it was full-on really. It was going from, okay, this has just happened, to having time to myself which I’ve never had before, to then being pulled to left, right, and center to get things sorted. But I love a challenge, I’m a young man, I’m 32, nearly 33, and I enjoy the challenge and it’s all about survival, but also the grace time as well. So it’s really important, I want to come out of this growing and all the better businesses do in the tough times. So that’s what I want us to accomplish.

Kelly Molson: It actually sounds incredibly positive, Adam. I mean, I can completely appreciate how challenging the time was, running my own business myself on a much smaller scale than yours. I know the kind of challenges that we had in terms of team and making sure that we had enough revenue, and work, and things like that. But actually, it sounds to me from what you’ve just said, that it gave you quite a lot of time to reflect on where the business was, and maybe positive changes that you could make when you came back.

Adam Goymour:Yeah, it certainly forced a lot of changes perhaps earlier than we had planned to because of the situation, which I love change. I’m a driver with change for the better, not for the sake of change. I’ve enjoyed that as another challenge really. That’s the opportunity it’s given, and I think in life you can look at things two ways can’t you? You can either look at it and think poor old me, or you could look at it and think, “Are we going to nail this or what?” It’s then given the motivation to the leadership team around me to drive it forward.

Kelly Molson: Yeah, I love that. That really came across in some of the things that you were doing whilst you were locked down as well. Because one of the things that I noticed was how brilliantly you were engaging with your audience. Even if your audience couldn’t come to the venue, you did a lot of things. Like there’s a brilliant activity pack that you put together, for kids obviously, but I downloaded it. I mean, look at the backgrounds that you’ve got, your marketing team went into overdrive a little bit and it was really super positive. What was the response like from your customers during that time?

Adam Goymour:Yeah, well firstly, with the marketing team, we didn’t furlough them because they’re our sales team, they’re our communication team externally, and it’s a backward step if you furlough those guys. They have really done a fantastic job, really proud of them for what they’ve done. But yeah, I mean with the audience in their own homes, what was the response like from the customers? We knew we had to keep connected with our customers and we had to look to engage with them in their homes. So we brought the Roarr! experience to them. We created a number of free downloads as you spoke about, from our coloring in dinosaurs, then making face masks, through to full-on activity book. And even a live dinosaur tour of the park.

The response to the activity has been fantastic. We’ve had so many social engagements, customer survey responses, and feedback, in general, to say how welcomed they were in such a hard time, especially with kids at home and parents looking for activities to keep them busy. Something we’re keen to continue to produce also, that we’ve spoken about, especially over the winter period as well.

We also partnered with the local press to provide creative competitions over a four week period where kids and adults could both get creative, and also win a free family pass to the park. We had some great entries and it’s been a really successful strategy for us during a pandemic to keep the brand alive, but also to engage with our audience and ensure we’re the first place they wanted to visit once we are back open. Our visitor numbers have reflected that. We plan on keeping this going as part of our marketing strategy, ensuring we’re giving added value and also ensuring our customers are engaging with us even when they’re not on the park.

So that hopefully gives a round synopsis, and I did speak with my head of marketing on that question really, because she is the brains behind it, being given the full trust and talent to get on with it. She definitely performed, she being Natalie Douglas, rather than she, her. Really proud of that, so that’s something we had an opportunity to try, and that’s what I said to the team, “God, we’ve got so much opportunity to try things. Let’s see what customers do like, don’t like, and just keep trying new things and just seeing what we can get out of it.” Which we have got a heck of a lot. So yeah, a real positive.

Kelly Molson: Yeah, it is a lovely positive. It’s really lovely to hear you actually thank your team as well. I mean, I spoke to Natalie during lockdown down and I know how challenging that was for her as well. I know how much she had on her plate. So it’s really nice to see you give that recognition. But I think what you did was perfect, and like you say, now that people are coming back, you’ve actually seen that translate into visitor numbers. I want to talk to you about that in a minute, but I think just going back to through lockdown like I said, you were very, very, open about the challenges that you were facing. I really respected that, you spoke out on BBC Radio Norfolk, you were in the local press quite a lot. How much of a help has that government support been for you, because you were very, very, vocal about needing help and needing support to keep the facility there?

Adam Goymour:Yeah, well we are the worst-hit industry, one of the first to close and last to open and yeah, we need that support. I mean, the VAT reduction from the government from 20% to 5% has been a godsend and really helped us financially, especially since we have reopened. That ends, I think, end of January next year. I hope that extends. We had MP Jerome Mayhew visit us. He was specifically interested in looking at how we’re doing, and he was the original founder of Go Ape! But also owns three trampoline parks. So we had a good chat and I said to him that these are the things that we need, but also explained about what government support we have managed to achieve because quite a lot of them we were over the threshold, so that was difficult.

But the reduction for VAT for the tourist industry is something that the industry has campaigned for, for many years. We pay a lot more VAT than other countries in Europe in the same industry and it always baffles me considering how many jobs we provide, especially in the local industry, and especially in Broadlands, which is the council area in Norfolk and being Norfolk’s largest visitor attraction. The council is certainly on board with doing what they can to help us and have been great through this period. So yeah, all the level of support they provided and devised with the rate support has been useful and welcomed.

Unfortunately, the banks have not been as supportive as they could have been, despite all the government’s best-laid plans. We lost a million pounds worth of income, which is obviously significant to hit our business. We have utilized the government’s furloughing scheme. We have some concerns about the furloughing scheme stopping at the end of October and the impacts that we’ll have on the hospitality, leisure, and tourism sector. So we hope that can continue, and I know there’s been stuff in the news about it, but let’s hope that they listen and that they do support us because I think the demand, especially in Norfolk, has been incredible. I had a rare weekend off last weekend and I spent time at another visitor attraction with my girlfriend, Rosie, and her friends. And you could just see the demand is there, and we also have a holiday park, it’s called Applewood Country Holiday Park, it’s in Banham behind the zoo, which my sister runs. The demand has been exceptional, but obviously, we’ve had to manage that as well.

So, that’s the support we’ve had, has it been good enough? I think it’s as good as he can be, I’m not going to criticize the government. It’s been an unprecedented time, they’ve done everything they can. I think we can always moan but what does it achieve? Not a lot. You either need to take what you can and campaign, and fight for it, or you can moan. So we decided to say, “Look, this is what we’ve been handed and we now need to look at it and resolve it.” So yeah, I think it’s been there or thereabouts, I just think a little bit more support from the bank would be helpful, however. We’re looking at that at the moment with some help. So that’ll hopefully put us through to ensure that our longer-term plans are not affected by sales of other things. So, yeah, interesting future ahead.

Kelly Molson: Well, yes, it still is an interesting time, isn’t it? I guess it doesn’t stop when the parks open. That’s what we need to look at. So let’s talk about reopening because I guess it was a really difficult place to even start to think about because you’ve got so many variables to think about, the demand has been there, but I guess at the time you’re questioning whether it will be, whether people want to come back or not. You’ve got challenges, operational challenges, in terms of how many of your staff can you bring back and how many staff will you need? How did you even start to put those plans in place?

Adam Goymour:Well, initially I was going, “Oh my God.” It’s just absorbing information from all the different avenues you’ve got available to you. And just listening, and just watching, reading, taking everything on board. Thankfully I’m a really good, big communicator with people in the industry. So I knew where the help was, I sought that help. I attended Zoom meetings even at seven, eight o’clock on a Friday night, every Friday night, throughout the whole lockdown period. Speaking to the council, speaking to other owner-operators, and listened to the guidance from the government and just listening to them. But the government as we know, they did what they could and we didn’t get the details until very last minute. They’re telling you, you can reopen, but then give you the guidance five days before, or four days before. You’ve got to turn that around, trying to anticipate, try, and preempt what they’re going to provide you.

So the best way to look at it was also listening to other operators in other countries. So for example, Efteling in Holland, Europa-Park in Germany, big family-run businesses, they’re just sitting behind Disneyland Paris as the biggest theme parks in Europe. I’ve got friends in the industry all over the UK. So speaking to them about specifics in some of our attractions where we have a common denominator in terms of similar attractions. So speaking to them. We did, however, still have animal keepers at the secret animal garden at the park, which was one of our attractions, worked throughout. As did a couple of our parks and gardens staff so it wasn’t like a jungle when we got back because we quite like to have really nice prim and proper parks and gardens. It is a massive task, not only return to the park to its normal high standard presentation, but also to bend really with the whole situation to understand and implement all the additional COVID-19 protection requirements.

So first goal was to COVID-19 train our various managers, understand what we’re up against. Look at how many visitors we think we could get in the park before the guidance came out, and look at how many staff can we actually operate with to be profitable on less visitors, but also supplying that excellent service as best we can. Then it’s also the denominating fact that we might have some staff that don’t want to come back because they’re scared, which is absolutely okay. We had to have those chats with people, and it took some time. But our managers were committed. Our leadership team was firmly committed and we had to collectively agree and implement COVID signage, sanitizer points, which probably cost us about six to eight grand. PPE for the crew. I worked with a company called Regency Purchasing Group, they were a fantastic group of people led by Alex Demetriou. He also owns a Pier, Weston-Super-Mare Pier, he’s a fantastic person, very helpful. His team are brilliant, so they really helped to source a lot of things that we needed. We’ve worked with them for a number of years, can’t recommend them enough.

Adam Goymour:We had the closure of Dinomite, our indoor play. Dippy-Ville, which is another indoor soft play. Predator high ropes initially, but thankfully it reopened not soon after we had reopened the park. During lockdown period I was speaking to Innovative Leisure, so Phil Pickersgill is the MD for the UK side of that business. I was speaking to him on and off about how’s that going to work? How are we going to do it? What information have you got? He collaborated with all the other high ropes manufacturers, suppliers. So they came as one and they worked together on how all these operators could open them up. They did a whole guidance document, which they went through the HSE to then support us as businesses, rather than them all working individually, which is fantastic to see, and to get hold of that early on, gave us a fighting chance.

It has probably been our biggest challenge because there’s only so many people you get on there, and obviously it’s included in our price. But yet, to make it pay, we need to get certain amount of business in. So we then found out how many people use the attraction, because although we were counting the amount of people on there before, it was really interesting to see how many people went on that, but also other attractions that we didn’t have to log how many people went on there in a day because it just happened. We didn’t have to worry about social distancing.

We had to look at toilets in terms of that was always the biggest conversation of any Zoom meeting with BALPPA, and NFAN, with owner-operators, how the hell are we going to do this?

Kelly Molson: Yeah.

Adam Goymour:You can do something different, some people did this, some people like that. I had backup plans in case something didn’t work and I knew the cost of those as well. We had one way systems, we had a whole new IT system in terms of getting people pre-booked onto the park. Then it’s working with our iPAL system who are inundated with all of their clients in order to get what we needed to open. So that was a challenge.

Kelly Molson: It’s incredible, I mean, just hearing you talking it through, everyone that listens to this podcast will be … they are in the sector. So they do completely understand the same challenges as you, but I mean, it is quite epic, isn’t it? When you start to go through that list of things that it’s affected, or that you’ve needed to change, or review, or adapt in some way, it feels never-ending doesn’t it?

Adam Goymour:It is a huge, enormous task, it was high magnitude. It was something I enjoy doing because I must admit, I think I’ve walked our 85-acre park now a hundred times in terms of the customer journey. So I did it on my own to start off with, I got it in my head. I had to do it, but I needed the team to help me deliver it. But I had to start somewhere and say, “This is what we’re going to do.” So that was really exciting because it was my chance to go, “Look, I’m going to lead us from the front and this is how we’re going to do it guys.” I did it on my own, it took me a full-on day. So I probably got there by eight, left about seven at night, racking your brains with it. Then I got my health and safety advisor in, we went through it, we spent all day as well. And then we had a plan. We knew how we were going to do it. Obviously, we had to work with the local EHO, to go through all of that, and away we went.

Then it’s just putting the plans in place, getting the staff in, staging them as well. Then working on the details of how we’re going to do it once we brought the managers in because they’re the ones that are going to be operating it. Then it’s just supporting them and being with them at every stage, and getting their teams in. Who’s going to come in, who doesn’t want to come in, all this sort of stuff. That was really interesting. Obviously, risk assessments had to be thorough. They had to be at the pinnacle of everything, without a solid foundation of a risk assessment, you cannot operate. So that was also something that we had to look at.

Then you’ve got the additional things that the government gave. So it’s like, now face coverings are required in shops. Thankfully, we’d already produced obviously with our great marketing team, all of our branded face coverings.

Kelly Molson: Of course, you did, dinosaur masks. That’s what we all need, dinosaur face masks.

Adam Goymour:It’s great. We’ve got a few different designs and we are the first people in the UK to really come up with them, I believe, I didn’t say anybody come up with them before us. We worked with Regency again to get those made, and on the different BALPPA and NFAN calls, other attractions were saying, “Well, where do we get one of those?” And I was like, “Here’s the information, go get it. It’s a fantastic thing.” You need to make it fun. We’re a fun place to go, why be boring, be run of the mill, and have a boring face mask. You’re here for a day out with family, make it fun. We don’t want to scare children, obviously, so we need to have some tamer ones, but for those that like him, we’ve also got some other ones. And then after that, we saw an Instagram, that Jurassic Park, they decided to start doing some.

Kelly Molson: It all started with your park. It all started with Roarr! Adam. Roarr!

Adam Goymour:Yeah, and I can vouch for that because I didn’t see anything on the internet that anyone else is doing with dinosaur masks, I think we can stand proud of that.

Kelly Molson: Yeah, I really liked … I love that, that you’ve injected that level of fun into something that actually could be quite frightening for kids. If they don’t really fully understand what’s happening, but what you’ve also talked quite a lot about, and it’s something that we’ve just recorded an episode about is this sector cooperation. The sector coming together to help each other. I guess it has been one of those sectors that has always spoken to each other quite a lot, but it really seems like this situation has just brought out the very best in people. There’s been so much knowledge share between attractions and suppliers, and that’s just wonderful to see.

Adam Goymour:Yeah, I think the industry is a lovely, lovely industry. Most of us are family-run businesses. We’re families that are running these places. The biggest family-run theme park, I believe in the UK, is Paultons Park down in Southampton, the Mancey’s, fantastic family, a very reputable business, a good brand. Like us, we’re a family run business and we’re similar age, the son, the owner there, James, and he’s a really nice guy. We kept in touch all the time. There’s a whole host of other young persons, similar to my age, where we meet up probably quarterly to chat through ideas, to talk about the industry. It’s a lonely place and it’s not … although it brings so much to the country in terms of income, and jobs and everything, believe it or not, there isn’t that many of us. It’s nice to meet up and I really love the industry. It’s great.

Kelly Molson: Yeah, I bet. So let’s fast forward to being open. You talked earlier when you said demand has been pretty incredible. What’s it been like? What has it been like? Has it gone crazy?

Adam Goymour:Yeah, it has and I think in a good way. I think it’s taught the English people to love where they live. The amount of campaigns coming from Great Britain, which has been then put down to their local DMO’s, Destination Management Organizations. So Visit Norfolk. Then you’ve got Visit Suffolk, obviously. Then that goes up to Visit East of England, who we’re working a lot more closely with Visit Britain, to get the attention of the government, to give us some money. We’re a larger tourism industry or area of the country than Cornwall, people don’t know that and they should. We’ve got to shout about it more and more. So I’m certainly whenever I attend Visit Norfolk meetings saying, “We’ve got to do something about it.” And keep putting my voice across with that because I’ve been given an opportunity to have a voice, which I love. So, again, a great bunch of people. So yeah, what’s it been like since we reopened?

Kelly Molson: Nonstop?

Adam Goymour:Nonstop, it continues to be a roller coaster, lots of learnings. It’s been busy. It’s been exciting. We’ve managed, fortunately a bit after reopening initially, officially opened to new attractions that haven’t been opened before. We had Dippy Live Show, so Dippy is our trademarked character. So Dippy the diplodocus, then we’ve had Dippy’s Raceway. So we’ve got a specific area in the park now dedicated to Dippy, this yellow and purple dinosaur, which the kids absolutely love. Great merchandise, great brand bible-based around him. We managed to open those up. We already had some money spent on it, so it was just about putting it together. So thankfully it wasn’t a huge cost, but it allowed the same amount of attractions to be open where we had to close some indoor areas. So that was a real, real plus, a real positive, something that we were very proud to be able to do in these really hard times. It gave something for our guests to talk about, and to think, “Oh yeah, that’s new. We got to go there.”

Kelly Molson: No, that’s a really interesting point actually, isn’t it? Because like you say, you’re opening up and you are competing with everybody else that’s opening up. To be able to open with something new that nobody’s been able to see before, that is really positive and really exciting. Obviously, going to be a crowd draw for you.

Adam Goymour:Yeah, and Dippy’s Raceway, side of Dippy’s Splash Zone, which is a fantastic attraction and that’s been our most popular attraction, which tells us we are putting in the right things. We’re listening to our guests, we know what they like. For them to enjoy that, which clearly shows by the daily figures we get knowing how many people are using those attractions. That’s been a real nice plus really, to see that materialize and come to the floor really.

Other things it’s just been seeing guests’ behavior, seeing staff behavior, how we react in these times, and just seeing how we’ve pulled together as a team. We’ve had, at times when we do have crew shortages, which everybody knows you get, we’ve had teams muck in and do other jobs, which has been really good. That was something I set out when all the managers started. I said, “Look, we may have to obviously all muck in, which is pretty usual, but more so than usual to ensure that the park runs smoothly for our guests.” And they have, as when the needs arise, they done just that. So it’s been a lot about learnings, note takings, reacting really quickly when we needed to, constantly monitoring, adapting, and just getting things right.

Kelly Molson: It is a lovely, positive story and it’s wonderful to hear that you’ve been inundated with people coming back, and so positive that you’ve been able to open these new rides and these new areas. What does the next six months hold for you? You have PrimEVIL don’t you, which is obviously big around Halloween time? What, what does the next few months look for you in the run-up to Christmas?

Adam Goymour:Yeah, well number one, that’ll be the reopening of our award-winning and Norfolk’s largest indoor play area at Dinomite. Today we had our annual roster inspection, so we know where we’re up to with that and can make all the necessary repairs. We’ve got a cleaning company coming in next week to give it a full-blown clean. Then we’ve got all the signage that’s been re-wrapped today, using all of our trademark characters, to make it really fun and immersive because we’ve got to have one way systems, good ventilation, lower capacity numbers. So that’s been a whole different ball game, setting all that up.

What else have we been doing? So whilst we continue to enjoy some plans, we’ve had to sort out September tickets, October tickets, Halloween during the day, Halloween during the night, which has been a big topic of conversation as of late. Look at Christmas, we’ve got our plans, but we haven’t completed them yet.

PrimEVIL is something we’ve had to completely change how we do it. So we’ve got a dedicated team in house that look after it, we’ve been chatting with the other big Halloween operators in the UK. So Tulleys Farm, Stuart Beare, has the biggest Halloween attraction in the UK. So I’ve been chatting with him. Doug Douglas, from Avon Valley, near Bath. Tom Pearcey from York Maze, and a couple of others where you got Iver and Tom Robinson. We’ve just been going through the plans, what can we expect? What ideas have we got? There’s also to ScareCON Group with Michael Bolton. It’s going to be in bubbles, obviously, a lot lower capacity, walk around the attractions. We’re going to have to eliminate some of the things where obviously it’s not possible to have those during these times.

We’re also creating some fun stuff around it. So that’s going to be called Route 666, which has got some fantastic graphics which we’ve done internally. We’ll release tickets, and we’ll just have to see what happens and just see what comes up. If we have to close it, we have to close it. We know what the cost is going to be. If we decided to go ahead with it and then we have to close it before we even start, we’re prepared to make that risk, but it’s a small risk in terms of what we could make if it does go ahead.

So, that’s what we’ve got going on at the minute, but obviously see next year of certainly got a lot of plans, what I want to do for the future. And we’ve got a longterm plan, which I’ve been doing in the meantime. Which is the future of the business and to make it what I want it to be? So we’re working on that as well. So yeah, they’re the main things at the moment.

Kelly Molson: Good, it sounds super positive. I’m really pleased that you’ve been so busy. I genuinely have been just really impressed with the openness of how you shared what you were going through during lockdown, but also, it’s just lovely to see how positive the reaction has been from your customers coming back. So thank you for being really open on today’s podcast and sharing all that with us.

I always like to end the podcast by asking about a book that you would recommend. So a book that has helped shape your career in some way or something, one that you would recommend to us all.

Adam Goymour:Well as I said earlier, lockdown gave me the opportunity to indulge in some reading, which I’ve not always had the opportunity to do, or as much as I would like. There’s been a couple of books really that have made a real impression on me, and Simon Sinek, I love listening to him and reading his books. You’ve got the original books like Why. And then there’s, Leaders Eat Last, and I’ll probably say Leaders Eat Last, to be honest. It talks all about leadership excellence, and I’ve got notes here right in front of me, which I make as I read the book because my memory’s awful. So I have to write down notes and just refer back to it. I’ve got a huge green board behind me on my office wall, which is basically my brain and I’ll just put it on there.

He talks a lot about leadership excellence. Values talks about the value of empathy, a whole host of other things. The willingness to listen to your team, it’s now really utilize everything that I’ve learned from that book and sharing it with my management team because they’re a young bunch, and they’re dedicated, enthusiastic, and I certainly want to invest in them. As a leader, I want to inspire, and to do more, learn more, and become more. We’ve got a real opportunity here, so it’s just working with them, with my head of HR. He’s fantastic, he helps me when I struggle to get my words out from the head when we got so much going on. It’s working with them really and just utilize whatever I’ve learned from that.

Kelly Molson: It’s a great book, great recommendation. I love that you’ve turned that around and you want to empower your staff and your team to be able to use that as well. Well look, if you would like to win a copy of that book, then if you head over to our Twitter account, which is skip_the_queue, and you retweet this episode announcement with the comment, “I want Adam’s book.” Then you could be in with a chance of winning it.

Adam, it’s been lovely to have you on today. I think it would be lovely maybe to get you back on in a year from now and find out how all of those plans have developed as well. I think that would be great.

Adam Goymour:I’d absolutely love to, that’d be great.

Kelly Molson: Thanks, Adam.

Adam Goymour:Thank you very much.

Do you know someone we should be talking to?

Do you know someone fascinating we should be talking to?

If so, email us at hello@rubbercheese.com – we’ll get back to you shortly.

Paul Wright.
Kelly Molson Managing Director

Host of the popular Skip the Queue Podcast, for people working in or working with visitor attractions, she regularly delivers workshops and presentations on the sector at various national conferences and universities including The Visitor Attractions Conference, ASVA and Anglia Ruskin University.

Read more about me

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