Tuesday 21 May 2013

Singapore Zoo

Do you remember the last time you visited a zoo? If it’s been ages since you last visited one, then I definitely recommend you to visit The Singapore Zoo.
It is located at 80 Mandai Lake road and there are many ways you can get there. Either by MRT, public buses or using the direct bus services which picks you up at areas such as Orchard Road and Little India. Lastly, you can also take a taxi.

Operating Hours
The zoo is open daily from 8.30am to 6.00pm and admission tickets to the zoo are $22 for adults and $14 for kids, aged 3 to 12 years old.
The ticketing booths are located next to the entrance of the zoo where you can find some dining outlets and convenience store, such as KFC, Ben and Jerry's Ice cream, Ah Meng kopi and Cheers.

Don't forget to get a map from the ticketing counter, as it will be easier to plan your route around the park and not miss any of the animals. Due to Singapore's unpredictable weather, bring along an umbrella or poncho so that you can still get around the park when it rains. 

The zoo is a wheelchair-friendly place as the park consists mainly of ramps and pavements. Visitors can also loan wheelchairs free of charge at the park entrance. Tram services are also available for those who prefer a more relaxed tour.

(a) The target market of The Singapore Zoo would be families with children aged 3 to 12 years old. This is so as the zoo has many family and children facilities. 
There is a Rainforest Kidsworld which consists of a wet play area where children can play with the water facilities and have fun with their parents.

In addition, there is a Wild animal carousel and also services for children to ride on horses and horse carriages. 

The Zoo also has a number of facilities such as diaper changing and nursing rooms. For families with young children, they can rent strollers and wagons to get around the park. 
These families would be in the establishment stage of the family life cycle, where parents focus their attention on their kids and usually have less leisure time for themselves, thus they would go to places where they can spend more family time together. 

They usually visit in the morning around 9am and spend the whole day in the zoo until closing time, around 6 pm, therefore, they are day visitors who return to their hotel or back home and do not stay for overnight at the zoo.

(b) The core products of the zoo are fun, exploration, education and adventure. The zoo is a fun place for learning, the animals are fascinating and there are many interesting information about the animal's origin and behaviour. There are also signboards for you to read and know more about each animal. 

Next, the tangible products are the souvenirs that you can buy, such as animal key rings, apparels and soft toys. Photo taking services are available, where you can take pictures with animals such as Orang Utans and elephants. There are also feeding sessions, where you can feed them and get up close with some animals like giraffes and rhinoceroses.

The augmented products in the zoo are the rainforest atmosphere, food and beverage outlets and The zoo is adorned with flora and fauna to give a more tropical rainforest look .Additionally, there are dining outlets in the zoo like Ah Meng Kopi, Ben & Jerry's Scoop Shop and KFC for visitors to have a break.

The benefits that you can enjoy, while visiting the zoo is to gain more knowledge about the different animals there and be more aware of animal poaching and ways to help the animals who face extinction.

(c) The unique nature of the Singapore Zoo is firstly, the staff who is involved in producing and delivering the product are part of the product itself. The staff in the zoo are a group of friendly, helpful and approachable people that would assist you if you encounter any difficulties. One example is, if they have a bad attitude towards the visitors, it would leave the visitors with a bad experience and they may not return again. Thus, the staff plays an important role and they have to be trained to provide good customer service. 

Secondly, the visitors themselves are part of the production process. The visitors will customize the product according to their attitudes, expectations and experiences.  For example, some visitors may find the tram services useless as they would prefer to explore the park on their own than have a guided tour. Hence, visitors have to understand the production process so that they can have a better experience.

Thirdly, the service product is not standardized, the product is changing all the time and this affects the quality. Compared to days where it is raining, visitors tend to have a more enjoyable time at the zoo when it is sunny, as they can move around the park easily. Staff attitude is also another reason. Staff reacts to visitors differently, if they are having a bad day, they may treat visitors in a rude way and this will lead to the visitor developing a bad impression of the staff in the zoo.

Next, the product is perishable, and cannot be stored, for instance, tickets. Every day, there is an amount of tickets that need to be sold for the day, if there are fewer visitors on a particular day, then the zoo will lose some revenue to be earned for the day. Therefore, the zoo has to use discounts and promotions to sell the tickets for the day to reduce the loss.

Another unique nature is that there is no tangible product to carry home. One example would be the animal shows. Visitors who watch the show cannot inspect the performance before purchasing the tickets and there are no refunds if the experience is not satisfactory. Therefore, The animal shows have to be carried out perfectly or visitors would not enjoy the performances.

Lastly, the surroundings of the service delivery process are a feature of the service.
The zoo has a rainforest theme, giving a tropical atmosphere. The layout of the zoo has big pathways for trams and visitors to walk, there are also direction signs for visitors to know where they want to go next. The surroundings play an important role as it gives visitors a better experience when the service is delivered, if the surroundings are not appealing, the visitors will doubt if the service is up to standard.

(d) Why is the zoo ranked as number #1 for Zoos and aquariums on TripAdvisor? The main reason would be that it is the only zoo in Singapore and the animals there are kept in open enclosures that are separated by a moat, where visitors can view them roaming freely and not kept in cages. Designed similarly to the environment in their natural habitat, it adds a more tropical feel to the whole park. There are animal shows where visitors can see exciting performances of animals such as Elephants, sea lions and monkeys. 

The zoo competes with other popular attractions such as the Jurong Bird Park and the recently opened S.E.A aquarium. It is ranked first probably due to the wider variety of animals where visitors can interact and get up close with. The Singapore Zoo also has the Night Safari and the latest, River Safari. Therefore,with new facilities and programs, people would be more attracted to visit.

The zoo has been successful in promoting itself as there are still a lot tourists and locals visiting. They also have events to attract more locals to the zoo. One example is the Singapore Zoo 40th Birthday promotion, where locals and permanent residents born in 1973 can enjoy 40% off admission tickets when they visit during their birthday month. Local visitors who visit the zoo on their birthday can also enjoy free admission and 10% off retail and dining outlets, as well as complimentary ice cream. These promotions help attract more people to visit the zoo.

(e) What economic impacts does the zoo have? The zoo attracts mostly tourists and this brings about an increase in tourism receipts. This draws foreign currencies into Singapore, as these tourists who visit the zoo, spend money to purchase tickets, souvenirs and other services. Furthermore, it creates a multiplier effect where the revenue earned from visitors are used to pay employees and they use the wages to pay for their daily expenses. 
The government also collects taxes from the zoo, due to the taxation of goods and services sold to visitors.

For environmental impacts, the zoo takes up a large amount of land to house the animals. Building enclosures, roads, pavements, and the different facilities needed in the park, will lead to the destruction of the natural environment. Air pollution may also occur due to the gas emissions from tram services and vehicles that drive into the zoo. 
In addition, some visitors tend to litter in the zoo, which can lead to both land and water pollution.

The socio-cultural impacts are that the zoo attracts a significant amount of people, which causes the zoo to be quite crowded at times. 
Visitors may need to queue in long lines to purchase tickets, as well as during animal shows, where the seats may not be enough to accommodate the large number of visitors. 
This causes stress and affects their mood, causing them to have a less fun and fulfilling trip. Furthermore, having a zoo creates more job opportunities for locals, to work in the zoo's retail outlets, F&B facilities and park operations. 
Therefore, there are both positive and negative socio-cultural impacts the zoo has on Singapore.

Here are some pictures of my trip there.

TripAdvisor: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g294265-d324542-Reviews-Singapore_Zoo-Singapore.html
Singapore Zoo: http://www.zoo.com.sg
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singapore_Zoo
Lecture Notes
Temasek Polytechnic. (2011). Attractions Management Lecture1: Atttractions Management in Perspective
Lecture 2:Attractions as Service Products. Lecture 3:Attractions Demand and Market Segmentation. Singapore: Temasek Polytechnic Leisure and Resort Management Division.


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