As owner of America’s Research Group, which projected attendance for Ark Encounter, I have interviewed more than 12 million Americans and have a number of clients in the Lexington market.
I was disappointed the Ark hit only 1 million guests the past year because we should have had more.
We opened on July 7, 2016. By opening this late, we missed those who plan their summer vacations in March, April and May. Approximately 41 percent of families make their summer vacation plans before their children get out of school. Those making vacation plans before school ends exceed 10 million families in the states where we are getting the vast majority of guests. Many tour bus companies set up summer schedules by March so they have at least three months to promote tour plans.
Had we opened earlier and gotten more families and more tour bus operators, we easily would have attracted an additional 480,000 to 600,000 guests.
This year we are already seeing high average daily increases compared to last year. So I think we will stay true to our goal of “defending Genesis.”
But I thank Herald-Leader columnist Tom Eblen for all his suggestions because we will give them the credit they deserve.
C. Britt Beemer
Founder, America’s Research Group