The family-owned and operated Safari Niagara offers a one-on-one connection with nature. The Stevensville wildlife park has enjoyed continued growth since it opened in 2002, under the original name of Zooz. While the 150-acre park is home to more than 1,000 animal species, the zoological facility has regularly increased its offerings with educational activities, exhibitions, live concerts, special events, and other features, such as food trucks.
Looking to further expand its operations outside the animal attraction industry, Safari Niagara approached the Business & Commercialization Solutions team at Research & Innovation for expertise on how to diversify. The park management wanted to study the viability of offering a unique wild nature experience while celebrating various occasions, such as seasonal events (Christmas parties), weddings, corporate events/meetings, private on-site catering and special event/conference hosting. They required a feasibility study of opening a full-service, year-round conference/event centre.
The research team at Niagara College conducted both primary and secondary research to identify current societal attitudes towards various animal attractions. In addition, the group of students and staff researched the tourism and hospitality industry of the Niagara region with a specific focus on the conference/event centre industry and also conducted a thorough analysis of the wedding industry and the current wedding trends.
Based on findings from the research, the team created a revenue model for Safari Niagara which calculated four key metrics: break-even point; payback period for the initial investment; out-of-pocket ROI and total cost ROI.