Leisure Business Advisors LLC (LBA) is a consulting firm that conducts the feasibility study, the first step in starting a new aquarium. Aquarium consultants typically prepare this study for the developer, and it is generally required by financing institutions.
The study forecasts targeted usage by applying market penetration rates to market segments. These rates are influenced by market size, demographics, competition, and the experience of comparable facilities elsewhere. The feasibility study also projects potential financial performance and recommends the maximum development costs that would allow an acceptable return-on-investment to investors. These are key issues for those that may finance the project.
The study also provides initial physical planning parameters to assist the aquarium designer during the design stage of development. It is critical that the designs are in line with market needs and expected cash flow. These physical planning guidelines need to be in place before construction and building can start. Designers, builders, and managers can all benefit from the guidance provided in the consultant's study. As part of the feasibility study, LBA can work closely with you in preparing the initial image package that would assist designers in the design stage of development that follows the feasibility stage. We could provide a walk-through description and color artist conceptual images of your new aquarium seen through the eyes of a typical visitor. These would preliminarily suggest its general "look and feel" in financing and marketing presentations. We pride ourselves on prompt service and are also sensitive to time constraints. If needed, assignments can be accelerated for an extra fee. Our standard fee includes travel costs and other out-of-pocket expenses, so there are no unknown charges or set up fees.
Selected past consulting projects are described below. All involved John Gerner, LBA's managing director.
Ripley's Aquarium (Myrtle Beach and Gatlinburg USA)
As a subcontractor to International Theme Park Services (ITPS), LBA prepared valuations of the Ripley's Aquarium in both Myrtle Beach and Gatlinburg in 2003, 2006, and 2009. This effort involved an on-site review of each aquarium and its operation. Past annual attendance and financial performance were also analyzed.
Downtown Aquarium (Denver, Colorado USA)
In 2002, Gerner Consulting (LBA's previous name) conducted a valuation of Colorado's Ocean Journey as a subcontractor to ITPS. This aquarium was later renamed the "Downtown Aquarium - Denver" by Landry's Restaurants, Inc. The analysis included an evaluation of past market and financial performance.
Adventure Aquarium (Camden, New Jersey USA)
As a subcontractor to ITPS in 2000, Gerner Consulting (LBA's previous name) evaluated the future potential performance of expanding the Adventure Aquarium. The consulting effort analyzed past annual attendance and provided projections based on three scenarios.
Virginia Aquarium Expansion (Virginia Beach, Virginia USA)
As a subcontractor to Economics Research Associates (ERA) in 1991, Gerner Consulting (LBA's previous name) prepared market and financial projections for this $35 million expansion of the Virginia Aquarium that tripled the aquarium's size in 1996. It has been named the Travel Attraction of the Year by the Southeast Tourism Association.
New York Aquarium (Brooklyn, New York USA)
ERA was retained by the New York Zoological Society in 1985 to evaluate the potential performance from significantly expanding the New York Aquarium. John Gerner (LBA's managing director) was a consultant with ERA. He provided the market and financial analysis for this consulting effort.
National Aquarium in Baltimore (Baltimore, Marylandnbsp; USA)
The National Aquarium in Baltimore is a nationally-recognized tourist attraction and an anchor of Baltimore's successful Inner Harbor urban revitalization project. ERA was retained by the aquarium in 1984 to conduct an evaluation of expansion alternatives. John Gerner (LBA's managing director) was a consultant with ERA. He provided market and financial analysis for the consulting effort.
Proposed Indoor Zoo (New York City, New York USA)
The Wildlife Conservation Society operates the the Bronx Zoo, Central Park Zoo, Queens Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo, and the New York Aquarium. During the mid 1980s, it explored the possibility of developing an indoor zoo in Manhattan and retained Economics Research Associates to conduct the analysis. John Gerner (LBA's managing director) was a consultant with ERA and evaluated market demand and financial performance.