During the first year of its operations, EuroDisney saw very poor performance which was due to the fact that the management assumed that they would get similar kind of positive response from European market as they were getting from Japanese market. However, the reality was quite in contrast to this assumption. The Europeans did not find the whole theme of EuroDisney appealing and they were not willing to spend the forecasted amount on entertainment. Less number of people were visiting EuroDisney as they were not satisfied with the park management’s pricing policies, construction design and the high overnight charges of nearby hotel. Most of all, the French vacation customs were not taken into account before doing financial forecasting and planning which led to poor operational performance.
Disney was never expecting such a cold response from European market because they believe in their philosophy and brand value. Disney opened its first international park in Japan where the concept was warmly welcomed but in France, the response went opposite as the demographics, cultures and overall vacation patterns were not considered-pricing was also an issue which pushed the visitors away. At first, it was not possible for EuroDisney or the parent company to control these factors but later when new executives came in and financial support from French government was gained, the profits were somehow restored but it took decades.
Gomes (1995) suggested that ethnocentrism means considering one’s culture as superior to others. Due to this dominant approach, America assumed that EuroDisney will be a great success in Europe and people will value the culture and customs of America which however was not the case. EuroDisney suffered great financial losses due to their reliance on ethno-centrism. The American culture was openly accepted and welcomed in Japan and the same confidence when exhibited in launch of EuroDisney in France did not work at all.
The marketing approach of EuroDisney was more or less similar to the one they carry out in America as well as in Japan however; some influence of the government institutions, banks and media was there. Due to this influence, French characters and cultural preferences were included in marketing which did not yield expected results. Later, it was realized that a cross cultural marketing approach should be used by EuroDisney so that it could make the concept of Disney entertainment appealing to visitors in all European countries. For instance, when Europeans visit a restaurant in EuroDisney, they would not be pleased with croissants and menu written in French or even if the characters inside the park speak French only. In accordance with the cross cultural marketing, menu items of various European countries were made available which was printed in European languages such as German, Spanish and the characters inside the amusement park were taught six to seven languages so as to attract the entire European visitors.
When Disney launched its operations in Tokyo, it received an optimistic response from Japanese visitors as they valued American culture and were fond of Disney characters-the marketing model and advertisement approach was right and huge amount of revenues were generated. The same model and approach when applied in Europe did not succeed because there was little or no research done on the European markets and customers’ demographics and it was entirely forgotten that one shoe fits all might not always generate fruitful results. The park management, pricing, marketing strategies and overall concept was not accepted by European visitors in the beginning.
EuroDisney wanted to select a location in Spain to launch the amusement park in Europe but the area needed was large and Spain could not accommodate the requirements. EuroDisney would have been a success in Spain if the cross cultural marketing approach was taken into account. People in Europe have difference ethnicity, language and overall demographics which cannot be ignored and a right model of marketing, advertising and pricing would be needed to hit Spain with success.
Gomes, R. (1995). Proceedings of the 1995 Academy of Marketing Science (AMS) Annual Conference. Orlando: Academy of Marketing Sciences. p203-204.