With less than a month until amusements venues in Britain can reopen their doors and decorate their verandas with cranes and kiddie rides, SB Machines’ Paolo Sidoli spoke to Coinslot about his expectations for the summer ahead, and why quality will win out over quantity in what is predicted to be a bumper season.
With expectations high for the upcoming season, a high quality offer will be worth more than a high quantity offer, says SB Machines’ Paolo Sidoli.
As operators prepare for a grand reopening ahead of 17 May, Sidoli believes “the UK is in a good position to benefit from the well documented staycation boom”, with the amusements sector set to benefit from the uncertainty surrounding international travel in 2021. Indeed, the last 12 months have been an uncertain time for many in the country, with some finding themselves with more savings than ever after a year of lockdowns, while others have had their budgets drastically restricted. One thing that is shared by all in the UK, however, is a pent up demand for family leisure, and Sidoli believes kiddie rides will stand to benefit.
“Despite the medium-long term macroeconomic concerns, particularly regarding inflation, we think that the general public are determined to enjoy themselves whether they are on a restricted budget or not,” he explained. “The children’s ride is positioned to benefit from this pent up demand. However, we remain firm on our conclusions that superior performance from rides will be obtained from operators who have invested in these assets in recent years.”
Sidoli has taken his own advice during the pandemic, investing in SB Machines in the way of product development and staff. The company has stayed open over the last month and reinforced its collaboration with manufacturers, all of which Sidoli thinks sets SB Machines apart from its direct and indirect competitors.
“At SB Machines, we have always been innovative, we have always varied our offering and we, alongside our manufacturers, are leading the way by embracing new technologies and adopting new production processes,” he stated. “Our website shows the very best of children’s rides in the market today. I am confident of this.”
While Sidoli’s offer will be in competition with his fellow suppliers this summer, operators will once again return to competition with their neighbours – with some friendly battles of one-upmanship raging for generations. This summer, however, might be one of the biggest battles yet. Not only is it expected to be busier, but it will likely also be more memorable for many families who have had to stay inside, and often apart, for far too long. Sidoli believes some operators risk losing to their local rivals if the quality of their offer is high enough.
“There are still too many leisure sites operating too many older rides that are past their use by dates. These models need to be removed but not necessarily replaced. Then, the operator can appraise his remaining stock and invest accordingly in new stock,” he said, concluding. “Less is more, and its quality over quantity. – this has become more apparent as we move over to £2 rides.”
SIDOLI’S RECIPE FOR A SUCCESSFUL KIDDIE RIDE
Made in Italy, SB Machines’ kiddie rides have a classic feel and a unique aesthetic that can be found nowhere else in the amusements industry. The Sidoli family have been introducing the UK to their mediterranean creations for decades, but there are some modern processes and features of kiddie rides that SB Machines’ managing director Paolo Sidoli believes are vital to success in today’s market.
“The key elements driving the sector are £2 play, multi-seater and interactivity with video screen. Even though the rides cost more to purchase, their economic lifespan is longer and their total gross take during the life cycle will be higher,” he explained. “Operators need to dialogue with an experienced, trustworthy, reliable and technically competent supplier of rides. That supplier can then offer the right rides solution for their premises. That is our job at SB Machines, to choose the right ride for the application.”