3 Trends from IAAPA Orlando 2014: What to Expect for 2015

We knew this year's International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions Expo in Orlando, FL, was going to be big, but it exceeded anyone's expectations. The Head Rush Technologies crew had a great show, with new leads, new friends, and new believers in our products. This year we focused on showing, rather than telling. Our indoor booth featured a climbable Gecko climbing wall from our sister company, Eldorado Climbing Walls, a scale-model of our new Adventure Tower, the first-ever production unit of our new FlightLine Commercial Free Fall Ride, plus zipSTOPs, TRUBLUEs, QUICKjumps, and our new Arboreal Climbing System. We also showed off other new accessory products, including Gorilla Rope, the Precision Pulley, and our revolutionary new Impact Trolley.

But that wasn't it: our outdoor booth was a crane that carried riders up to heights of 85 feet so they could experience free fall on the FlightLine. For those who couldn't stomach those heights, we also had people jumping from lower on the QUICKjump XL Free Fall Device.
As is the case with every trade show, we came home with new perspectives on the state of the amusement and adventure industry and expectations for what 2015 will bring. Here are the top 3 trends we noticed at this years' IAAPA show.

3 Trends from IAAPA 2014

Beyond our own products, IAAPA is the industry's biggest show and everyone came out swinging, unveiling new products and always reaching higher, faster, and longer than the competition. This was evident this year, with the world's tallest roller coaster, new ground-based amusement products, technology, food, and anything amusement and attraction facilities could need. From our collective experience at the 2014 show, here are three key trends we noticed that will shape what happens in 2015:

  1. The IAAPA Expo Showed a Continued Growth in the Zip Line/Ropes Course/Adventure Park Arenas. For Head Rush products, this means more conventional as well as creative installations of all our devices, but especially the zipSTOP Zip Line Brake and QUICKjump Free Fall Device. We are really starting to see customers going for bigger and more exciting attractions that give their visitors plenty of options. This means more devices incorporated into one facility than we've traditionally seen. For example, courses and parks are putting a TRUBLUE and a QUICKjump on the same platform to give visitors an option to choose their descent experience.
  2. People gravitate to attractions where the customer is involved physically and mentally. Thrill rides like roller coasters have always been key players at IAAPA, but the QUICKjump and to a larger extent FlightLine incorporate a mental and emotional component that traditional thrill attractions lack. Attractions that take some amount of courage and decision-making from the rider will continue to grow as the industry adapts to embrace this interaction and multi-dimensional type of experience. Supporting this trend, show attendees were extremely excited about FlightLine, especially after experiencing the free fall for themselves (or after watching others) at our outdoor booth. We were thrilled with the attention that FlightLine received and look forward to returning next year with even more extreme developments added to the Head Rush Technologies family of products.
  3. Amusement and attractions industry buyers are starting to shift their focus to turnkey solutions that require minimal setup time. Many park owners and operators don't want to start from scratch to build infrastructure to incorporate new attractions. The new Head Rush Adventure Tower is going to be the solution for this. Owners/Operators can buy one structure and use it for myriad adventures and activities. The tower makes financial sense because the infrastructure IS also the attraction. The days of building separate towers or platforms for every activity will go away, instead opting for multi-use and high-throughput structures like the Adventure Tower.

About IAAPA 2014

IAAPA Attractions Expo is the premier global event for the $39.5 billion attractions industry. The 2014 show in Orlando saw 30,500 people walk through the doors and 0ver 1,000 exhibiting companies from 116 countries were on the show floor. In addition to the massive indoor space, nearly 552,000 square feet packed to the ceiling in some cases, the show also had an outdoor booth space for larger amusements and attractions. The 2014 show was the largest in the past 17 years and organizers were pleased. From the post-show press released published by IAAPA: "The continued growth of all three of IAAPA's Expos is representative of the strength of the attractions business worldwide," said IAAPA President and CEO Paul Noland. "The record number of press announcements this week is an example of the industry's commitment to innovation." Read the entire press release here.

Throughout the year, IAAPA also puts on shows in Asia and Europe, but the Orlando show is their flagship event. If you missed it this year, mark your calendar for IAAPA 2014 in Orlando November 16-20, 2015.

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