Singapore Flyer: Just a one trick pony?

While the Singapore Zoological Gardens and Sentosa Island spring to mind when describing local attractions, the Singapore flyer just remains a distant structure.

The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) has been promoting the Singapore Flyer through various marketing channels to draw more visitors to this iconic attraction and its lifestyle offerings but the efforts have failed to bring about the desired results.

Most recently, Singapore Flyer was placed under receivership for failing to meet financial obligations to its main lender, a bank.

According to local reports, the recovery firm is looking for new investors to manage the attraction.

Its biggest bottleneck? Declining local visitors.

While it set out with a big bang, it has failed to sustain interest in visitors over the years.

What went wrong in marketing it?

Lawrence Chong, CEO of Consulus said that the Flyer, while iconic, is a one trick pony.

"People are under the impression that visiting the flyer means just looking at the view. To market itself around just the view is not a stretchable concept," he said.

What it should have done, Chong explained, is marketed experiences that could be had around the space and lease the vast amount of space it has as a venue for events.

Being disconnected from the retail malls or F&B outlets, the Singapore flyer could have taken advantage of its isolated nature like the Zoo and Sentosa and built attractions around it.

According to Chong, much like everything else in Singapore, when attracting footfall to the venue an integrated approach needs to be taken.

"Families are always looking for something to do on weekends, it would drive great traffic for families to go on weekends and tourists on weekdays. Banking on one would not be sufficient."

According to Nick Foley, managing director of Landor Associates Singapore, the attraction should look more towards tourists rather than locals to increase its footfall.

He suggested pairing up with Changi airport or SIA to give varying prices to drive some of the traffic in the direction of the flyer.

"Locals will go there maybe once or twice but if it partners up with Changi or SIA, an immense amount of traffic can be driven to the site. Changi is one of the busiest airports globally."

Foley also added that a "single minded idea", much like a tagline, is necessary for the flyer to make people curious.

"A single minded idea can transform itself as an owned identity and unique proposition that will make the brand different," Foley added.

Like Chong, he added that the giant wheel needs to be marketed as a Singapore experience rather than a part of the skyline.

Meanwhile Ranita Sundramoorthy, director of attractions, dining and retail for STB told Marketing,  it will look forward to a smooth resolution with minimal disruption to the public and visitors.

"Attractions have always played a key role in ensuring Singapore remains a vibrant city to visit, live, work and play in for locals and visitors," Sundramoorthy added.