Flying High in the Ferris Wheel Stakes

February 2, 2007 Blog 13 comments

Courtesy of

I followed with much interest the recent news on the Singapore Flyer and how corporate organisations are making a beeline to book it for their functions. It is certainly heartening to see it kick off to a flying start, especially in light of the recent demise of Crazy Horse Paris and Jurong Crocrodile Paradise. With Adval running it (a subsidiary of NTUC Club), and a highly experienced management team (some of whom I know personally), I believe that it will at least have enough horsepower to keep itself going for some time.

To sustain itself over the long haul however, the Singapore Flyer will need to constantly sharpen its saw and offer unique value to its customers. There are many giant ferris wheels around the world – the London Eye, the Eye on Malaysia, a proposed Giant Wheel in Berlin (2008), another in Las Vegas, and yet another in Shanghai (the Shanghai Star). If you count the smaller sized wheels, there are plenty more in cities like Osaka, Hokkaido, and even Bangkok’s Suan Lum Night Market!

If you think about arboreal attractions, there are already quite a few others in Singapore. These include the much loved Cable Car, Carlsberg Sky Tower, and the DHL Balloon. Each of these offer different perspectives and views. Having gone on all of them, I must say that I still enjoy the cable car rides most of all.

How can the Singapore Flyer possibly compete against such keen global (and local) competition? Would they be able to run circles (huge ones!) around the others? Well, here are some suggestions which may help them stay and win in the airborne race:

1) Exciting Events. Just build it and they will come? Not a chance anymore. In this day and age, you need to have a series of events and activities to keep people coming to your attraction. I read that the Singapore Flyer will have concerts and parties to keep the adrenaline levels high.

That’s certainly a good idea. One which I hope they can sustain over the long term.

2) Holistic and Integrated Experiences. You need to bundle, package and price your attraction with other neighbouring lifestyle outlets to offer a complete experience. Theme them according to different target groups – couples, families, youths, even seniors.

For example, you can do an “Enchanting Evening” package for romancing couples in a capsule, complete with neighbouring hotel stay, a breezy bum boat ride, and maybe limousine transport to-and-fro. Another great tie-up would be with the neighbouring Marina Integrated Resort, where high rollers can also enjoy rolling up high?

3) Industry Partnerships. No man is an island, and no attraction can survive on its own steam even if its an island like Sentosa. Do special deals with travel agents, airlines, transport operators and even river boat operators (at the Marina Bay area). See how to incentivise inbound travel operators and guides to bring tourists here. Also, make sure that the Singapore Tourism Board has you on their map of must-see delights in Singapore.

4) Product Quantum Leaps. As highlighted in my earlier post on Purple Cows, you will need to refresh the product every now and then. It isn’t worthwhile to do tiny enhancements now and then as people will not notice. Perceptions and mindsets are very often deeply ingrained.

To change them, you will need to overhaul your service offering with upgrades that are big enough for the news to pick it up. Perhaps the Singapore Flyer can create an offshoot called the Singapore Diver, where people can plummet to the deepest reaches of Marina Bay for a bungee-like experience? : )

5) Surprising Service. This is not surprising actually. As a premium priced product with adult-priced tickets at close to $30 each, you will need to offer great value and delight your customers. Make your customers feel like VIPs and pamper them to the nth degree. If they have kids, give their loved ones balloons or little candies to sweeten the experience. You will be surprised how the little touches matter.

6) Create a Community of Flyers. Look at how to create buzz and Word Of Mouth effects so that they will pull their friends, families and associates to the Singapore Flyer. Launch a blog and get your staff to share what happens behind the scenes. Get people interested to extend their relationship with you over the long term instead of just a one-ride-experience.

Well, I wish Singapore Flyer all the best in the years to come, and hope that they can add much needed colour and vibrancy to Singapore. Any views to share?

By Walter
Founder of Cooler Insights, I am a geek marketer with almost 24 years of senior management experience in marketing, public relations and strategic planning. Since becoming an entrepreneur 5 years ago, my team and I have helped 58 companies and over 2,200 trainees in digital marketing, focusing on content, social media and brand storytelling.


  1. i realise i m seriously outdated after cocooning in brazil for ten mths.

    I din even noe this Singapore Flyer thing is comimg. ARRGGGG.. gotta read more now. n i mean NOW!!!

  2. I also didn’t know about this Singapore Flyer project. I tend to think of this attraction like the cable car rides Singapore has… you could do a few things to keep it going, like having dinners on board. I wonder if we’re having too many of these rides in Singapore though… perhaps we should have an “Amazing Race” package where travelers could win prizes if they complete all these challenges within a specified time. 😛

  3. sigh… my kids are all very excited and looking forward to the ride, so I would have a big hole in my pockets liao.

    So ex wan! I prefer to go for buffets with that money but the kids love adventures.

    I hope they can offer a good package so I can save some money.

  4. Zeezee, you really need to brush up on Singapore’s news, if you intend to return home that is. BTW, what are you doing in Brazil if you don’t mind me asking?

    Kevin, interesting amazing race idea. We could do something from attraction to attraction and get Allan Wu to see how many rides he can take without puking his guts out!

    eastcoastlife, I am sure they will have family packages. The trick is not to rush to the attraction too early but wait till later. From experience, prices will usually moderate itself later, especially during offpeak periods. Just look at Crazy Horse!

  5. I m in Offshore & Marine line. Deported to Brazil bidding for a proj.

    Reckoned that, the good thing is reading u guys blogs feed me some new infos everyday. =)

  6. I’ve been up on the London Eye.. BA does a roaring business, just because a lot of tourists would like to take a look at the Big Ben, Thames, Westminster Abbey. They certainly provide “surprise service”… they act as if you’re boarding a plane (all the security checks whose authencity I doubt ).

  7. I got an idea when I read your post but that is just because I really misinterpreted your last point:”6) Create a Community of Flyers”.

    I was thinking we should team up with everyone of the other wheels. Looking at the list, I would assume that the cities with big wheels also have casinoes.

    Create some visit “Wheels of the World” Campaign. Go to each of the wheels, sit on it, get a photo, keep the ticket, put them all in a fodder that can be purchased. When you sit on the last wheel in your collection ( you can sit them in any order) you get say $100 dollars worth of chips for the casino …or some sum larger..and you are filmed betting on some double or nothing game. Then that clip is put on the website for this campaign.

  8. the venue can also look at pitching itself as a landmark venue for niche events.

    it looks like an ideal place for photographic societies or digital camera companies to hold annual/bi-annual events which showcase photographic work – “Fly through the Sunrise” as a theme for example might work really well.

  9. Thanks for the wonderful ideas guys! If only I am working in the Singapore Flyer and can contribute these.

    Ian, I like your Wheels of Fortune idea and perhaps we can pitch it to the casino moguls when they arrive (circa 2009)?

    kookabaru, I guess they want to make the flight as authentic as possible. Do they have cabin crew though? 😉

    box, photography or filming would be nice… I am sure the views would be spectacular!

  10. They should seek the authority’s approval and have the casino reserve a few pods with tables game installed.

    Casino is not big deal, but gambling in a pod on a giant wheel will be cool.

  11. Hey… Thanks for coming to my blog and sharing. And I’m glad you like my idea. 🙂 If you really think there is potential, sure let’s go and pitch it. I can even do the website.

  12. I took a ride on the Singapore Flyer and I must say that this is the worst experience I encountered. The feeling inside the capsule was very boring. The surrounding views, were not exactly breathtaking. The ticket price was way too expensive. S$29.50! Not worth.

    I would certainly discourage my friends and others to take a ride at the SF. No wonder many capsules I observed on that day were empty. I can’t believe they use “3 month fully booked” as a marketing gimmick. Dishonest company would not go far. Singapore Flyer project is a total failure. Sorry to be honest about it.

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