As a distributor of Italian-made children’s rides that cost £2 per ride, SB Machines has seen its products bloom as the economy reopens and British holidaymakers flock to their favourite seaside resorts, with managing director Paolo Sidoli attributing the success to a pent up demand for high quality experiences.
A rise in leisure time and a dip in foreign holidays this summer has increased the demand for higher quality experiences at British seaside resorts, says SB Machines’ Paulo Sidoli.
This has indeed been the case for the kiddie ride distributor’s customers, many of whom have placed a £2 per play ride – a value SB Machines has been committed to for several years – at their FEC for the first time this summer due to expectations of a bumper season. So far, Sidoli explained, the operators with more £2 per play rides have been rewarded, while those with older, yet cheaper to play rides have not caught the attention of returning holidaymakers.
“Peoples habits have subtly changed as more disposable leisure time is focussed to seaside resorts rather than medium sized towns and large cities and foreign holidays basically out of bounds,” explained Sidoli, highlighting the new conditions presented by the post-pandemic market. “Amusement arcades are cashing in on this phenomenon where possible by finally introducing £2 per play rides. For us at SB Machines, this has been de facto for several years, and with the enhancement of cashless payments £2 per play is now accepted by the general public. The £2 per play ride can be comfortably achieved in this new ‘reset’ environment because the rides are newer, more exciting and more innovative than ever before. However, obsolescence has caught up quickly on older rides whose takings are collapsing. Quite frankly, there are too many older rides in the market place that now should be phased out of operation. The end user can see this and the feeding frenzy is focussed on the elite newer pieces.”
These ‘elite newer pieces’ come in many shapes and sizes, but only SB Machines’ children’s rides are designed and manufactured in Italy to provide the quintessential amusements aesthetic that customers love to see at their favourite seaside resorts. Announcing the company’s intention to exhibit at both upcoming industry trade shows, Sidoli revealed the line up of new rides that SB Machines has in store for the industry.
“Our pipeline of new rides is such that we have already committed to ACOS 21 and EAG 22,” he enthused. “We are excited about the superior performance of our current crop of equipment such as the Hot Air Balloon and Kangaroo Up and Down Carousel. We are already site testing new launches for 2022 – the designs have a clear Made In Italy stamp on it which the operators will love. The bar has risen again regarding future rides and their success will be exponential.”
Navigating the ‘new normal’… and coming out ahead
Coinslot: How have children’s rides in general been performing since the reopenings?
Paolo Sidoli, managing director of SB Machines: Children’s rides have been manifesting above average returns and these returns are in line with most coin operated amusement equipment. This trend will continue throughout the summer and beyond.
CS: How has SB Machines been adapting its business model?
PS: The childrens ride market has tightened due to supply chain disruption caused by the pandemic and Brexit. Prices have risen and they will continue to rise in the foreseeable future until raw material prices, componentry prices and transportation costs stabilise. There is a shortage of new equipment with longer than expected lead times from non European manufacturers. However, we have been working closer than ever with our suppliers and logistics providers to mitigate this disruption. Therefore our stock of new rides is at expected levels for this time of year and our spares inventory is in excellent shape.
CS: Where do you see the market going?
PS: For the innovative and forward thinking manufacturers the UK and Irish market will always be buoyant especially as weaker, less resilient competitors fizzle out or run out of steam. For us as as distributor, the most important word is YES. Yes, we can offer the whole package to the operator – yes, we supply new and used rides with comprehensive warranties, yes we offer flexible credit terms, yes our response times for spare parts is immediate and yes we provide the best after sales assistance in the market place. Just ask our customers, old and new – they will reinforce these facts.