Also, after their forecast-beating Q1, Six Flags held their usual conference call. No mentions for ACSO, but plenty of optimism and lots of emphasis on global expansion and likely acquisitions of more water parks and theme parks:
Excellent recent article about the introduction of the Ocean Medallion on Carnival Cruises - the inevitable initial bugs will be dealt with, but this is the future of cruising. Carnival plan to have it on all their Princess ships and then presumably over time on all the rest.
Remember that the Ocean Medallion was developed by TE2, which just so happens to be an ACSO subsidiary following its acquisition. :
"At Carnival, Padgett and his team quickly set out to create Carnivals own version of the Disney MagicBand, called the Ocean Medallion. It uses AI to take the MagicBand technology to another level. Instead of just alleviating the friction of typical travel experiences (lines, room keys, paying for things) it will use data to anticipate what you want to do, eat, and see.
The premise behind the creation of MagicBand was to change how guests experienced their vacation, not what they are experiencing, Padgett says. I had this hypothesis that you could maximize guests experiences by personalizing the experience, to increase the value of the experience while simultaneously decreasing friction so they can experience more.
Its like what Uber did for black cars
The Medallion, offered first on Carnivals Princess cruise line, is about the size of a quarter. You can keep it in a pocket or handbag, or buy accessories like sports bands or lanyards so that the token can be worn as a bracelet, necklace, or pendant.
Its similar to the MagicBand in that it has information on you even before you step on the ship. It facilitates boarding and cuts down on wait times. It can be used to pay for things on the cruise, it unlocks the door to your room as you approach, and can be used on the ship-wide gambling platform.
Carrying the Medallion means the staff knows your name and where you are. If you order a drink, they can come find you to deliver it. If you go to another bar on board, the staff already knows what you like. The Medallion also updates your information, keeping track of your likes and dislikes, what activities you enjoy, and what you consume. It anticipates other activities youll enjoy and the side trips youll want to take.
The Medallion promises the sort of personalized vacation millennials crave, and what passengers on the Love Boat always somehow seemed to get. Padgett says this level of service is normally available at only the most expensive hotels and spas, but the technology has the potential to democratize it for the masses. It is similar to what Uber did for black cars, he says.
Technology, especially AI, is normally presumed to replace people and face-to-face connections. But the Medallion does something different. Instead of replacing personal connections between passengers and human staff, the technology is being used to turbo charge those connections. Ideally, Padgett says, vacationers will feel known by crew members they just met. Our goal is for technology to disappear in the entire equation and empower next level human interactions.
Harder than it looks
Donald announced the Medallion with much fanfare in a keynote at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last year, and he and Padgett greeted the first Medallion customers aboard the Regal Princess in November 2017. But the rollout is going very slowly. So far, the technology is only available on one ship to select customers.
Carnival CEO Arnold Donald holds up the Ocean Medallion wearable for cruise ship passengers, during his 2017 keynote at CES in Las Vegas
A passenger on one of the first Medallion-powered cruises wrote in a review on CruiseCritic.com that she had to upgrade her room to become eligible for the Medallion, and found the technology to have limited functionality and its share of bugs. That said, Macusr remains excited about the technology, writing on CruiseCritic.com that we still got a thrill
"Three More Six Flags Parks Coming to China
April 24, 2018
Six Flags Entertainment Corporation (SIX), the worlds largest regional theme park company, and its development partner, Riverside Investment Group Co. Ltd., today announced continued growth in the China market with the planned addition of three new branded parks. The parks will be located in Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu province and the second largest city in the East China region. Six Flags Nanjing will offer guests a full range of world-class experiences with a theme park, waterpark, and an adventure park. The first phase of the multi-million dollar entertainment complex is expected to open in 2021.
This is another exciting step for Six Flags and Riverside as we introduce our unparalleled brand of innovative thrills to even more of Chinas population, said Six Flags International Development Company President, David McKillips."
"Record Start to 2018 at Six Flags
April 24, 2018
Six Flags Entertainment Corporation (SIX), the worlds largest regional theme park company, today announced that revenue for the first quarter of 2018 increased by $29 million or 30 percent from the first quarter of 2017 to a record-high $129 million. The revenue growth resulted primarily from a 27 percent increase in the number of guests visiting Six Flags parks, and the success of both the companys pricing strategy and international licensing program. Attendance at Six Flags properties grew by 0.5 million to 2.4 million guests. This increase was driven by additional operating days from Six Flags Magic Mountain moving to a 365-day calendar; Hurricane Harbor Mexico being open in the first quarter, while not open in the first quarter of 2017; adjustments to park operating schedules due to the earlier timing of the Easter holiday; and additional attendance due to the companys higher Active Pass Base, which represents the total number of guests who have purchased a season pass or who are enrolled in the companys membership program.
We are firing on all cylinders as we made excellent progress in the quarter against each of our five growth initiatives, said Jim Reid-Anderson, Chairman, President and CEO. With our record-high Active Pass Base, ongoing price increases across all ticket and culinary programs, growing dining pass penetration, new water park openings and new international licensing agreements, we are poised to deliver another record year of financial performance in 2018. We remain laser-focused on exceeding $600 million of Modified EBITDA1 in 2018 and continue to work toward our long-term aspirational goal of $750 million of Modified EBITDA by 2020.
N+1 Singer have today significantly INCREASED their target price to 2453p (from 2181p).
They've also increased their 2018 revenue and PBT forecasts by 5% and 4% respectively. This increase is less than they originally anticipated, as they've been conservative since Queueing was flat in 2017 due to abnormal weather conditions and limited visibility of sales momentum in the recently acquired businesses.
It's good that Singer have been conservative, since any sort of reasonable weather this year could lead to quite a strong beat of expectations.
On the other hand. the prudence has presumably led to a few small sales this morning. The markdown seems completely out of proportion to the tiny volumes today.
And it also ignores the substantial increase in the target price due to the forecast upgrades, with commentary about robust ticketing growth and "significant opportunities in multiple verticals/geographies", with acquisitions fulling growth and transforming ACSO into a "broad-based provider of customer experience management solutions".
ACSO is one of 5 tech companies picked out by the D.T. in Saturdays edition as being good growth investments. Very probably the best of the bunch, imv, as the others I knew little of and don't find them that appealing.
This new interview, with the creative producer in charge of the guest experience at Universal Orlando Resort, confirms Tapu Tapu is "getting better and better" and is the future of theme parks/attractions:
"Siggelkow: How are you using the information youre gathering from your guests to think about new attractions or amenities?
Merz: Universal has opened their third theme park in Orlando. Its a water park called Volcano Bay, and its a full-day resort experience. We introduced a new RFID wristband that every guest gets as they come into the park. The park has a tropical theme to it, and the wristband is called Tapu. It has a longer-range, two-way communication and a little screen on it. For guests, this wristband personalizes their day to the attractions that they want to go see.
Unlike FastPass or other types of ride wait-time systems, this one responds in real time to the rides you want to go on. Youre free to enjoy your day as youd like, and the band will tell you when your ride is ready to go or if your ride is available sooner than you had planned. Youre not spending your day waiting in lines. Youve expressed your preferences upfront. The system knows that, monitors that and creates a hassle-free experience.
It was a big challenge for Universal to do this, and it took an army of very technical people to sort through the logistics of how to manage such a large group of people in real time. The experience just keeps getting better and better as they learn more and refine the algorithms that direct people.
Terwiesch: How do you find out about guests needs?
Merz: In a lot of these experiences, you can infer certain data. But for the most part, when guests are going to a park, theyre very deliberate about the types of experiences they want. Even with this technology, there are multiple ways that guests can express their interests.
They can go through the Universal app. They can engage with the team members when they arrive, and the team members have different tablets that they can update preferences with. The nice thing about it is that as soon as the guest is identified, the system can immediately present to the team members previous information about this guest in a very quick, digestible manner. The team member can respond in a more personalized way rather than having to ask a whole bunch of questions about their day. The team members can see it all on a dashboard.
The wristband is called Tapu Tapu. It has a longer-range, two-way communication and a little screen on it. Eric Merz
In the theme park industry, there has been a challenge in providing guest service. If you compare the experience of actually being in a park versus the process of planning a vacation all of those online clicks and selections are tracked. That informs the website on how to respond and offer up the right information. The more guests are engaged in that online process, the more we get to know those guests so we can offer up things that would be of interest to them. Its a really dynamic, one-to-one interaction.
Contrast that when they get to the theme park. After theyve had this really rich, personalized experience, they get into the parks and theyre anonymous to the operators. Theyre just people coming through. As much as through customer service and training you try to create those human moments and engage with them, you still dont know enough about them. Thats where, as an industry, were hoping these technologies allow us to know more about the guests as they approach, as they engage in our attractions, as they engage with the team members directly.
"International Expansion Continues with Six Flags-Branded Park in Saudi Arabia
GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--
Six Flags Entertainment Corporation (SIX), the worlds largest regional theme park company, and the Public Investment Fund (PIF), Saudi Arabias sovereign wealth fund, today announced plans to develop a Six Flags-branded theme park in the city of Riyadh.
"accesso® Selected by the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games to Provide Streamlined Ticketing Solution
Special Olympics USA Games Implements accesso ShoWareSM Solution Ahead of Opening Ceremony
Mar 27, 2018, 13:30 ET
ORLANDO, Fla., March 27, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- accesso Technology Group plc (AIM: ACSO), the premier technology solutions provider to leisure, entertainment, cultural and hospitality markets, is partnering with the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games to provide a fully integrated ticketing platform for this year's Opening Ceremony.
The Opening Ceremony, which will take place July 1st at the University of Washington's Husky Stadium, will utilize the company's accesso ShoWare solution, a cloud-based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) for ticket sales and distribution. The ticketing software will allow attendees to purchase tickets for the ceremony either on-site or online, while enabling event organizers to seamlessly integrate and manage the ticketing process on a single platform...
....With the accesso ShoWare ticketing solution in place, the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games will benefit from a range of features to customize and enhance its ticket sales. Patrons will have the ability to select their tickets directly on the Games' secure website, or purchase tickets on-site via the accesso ShoWare box office module, which integrates and syncs with online sales in real time. The solution will also provide event operators with access to comprehensive data and reporting on purchase patterns, ticket availability and other user behavior.
Results are well ahead of expectations - for example re N+1 Singer, ACSO achieved $24.6m EBITDA ahead of $22.8m forecast.
The 56.73c EPS compares to 49.8c forecast (aided by a tax credit).
The $19.1m adjusted operating profit compares to $15.5m forecast PBT.
This comment re Ingresso looks particularly exciting:
"This acquisition has also helped us reach further into London's fragmented West End Theatre market and will, over time, allow accesso to exploit the significant inefficiencies that exist within the travel and leisure industry."
"Volume growth of 67% year-on-year reflects customer wins including Ticketmaster UK, opening up access to West End theatres in London"
And above all:
"accesso is pleased to report that the Group is showing good momentum at the start of 2018. We look forward to a promising year ahead."
"accesso Partners with San Luis Potosí Ministry of Tourism to Provide Ticketing for the Huasteca Potosina Region.
Posted In Press Releases on February 28, 2018
San Luis Potosi, Mexico (February 28, 2018) accesso Technology Group plc (AIM: ACSO), the premier technology solutions provider to leisure, entertainment and cultural markets, is partnering with San Luis Potosi Ministry of Tourism to provide a fully integrated ticketing platform for its natural sites within the Huasteca region.
The Ministry of Tourism, in partnership with the Secretariat of Ecology and Environmental Management (Segam), signed a three-year agreement to implement the companys accesso ShoWare solution, a cloud-based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) for ticket sales and distribution. The accesso ShoWare ticketing software will allow tourists to purchase tickets online for a specific day and time, and will also enable attractions in the state to strategically control the flow of visitors so that the biodiversity of its natural sites can be protected.
The Huasteca Potosina is a popular tourist destination with beautiful landscapes and lush vegetation, formed by rivers, waterfalls, caves and deep chasms. Huasteca Potosina features many popular tourist sites, including Micos, Tamul, Puente de Dios, Xilitla, Sotano de las Golondrinas, Las Huahuas, Tanchachín and La Morena. The first site to implement the accesso ShoWare platform will be Puente de Dios, which is expected to start selling tickets online starting in March 2018. In addition to the Huasteca Potosina Region, the state of San Luis Potosí also includes the regions of Middle Region, Central Region and Altiplano Potosino and 58 municipalities."
"Steven N. Kalkanis, M.D., Medical Director, Henry Ford Cancer Institute, and Chair, Department of Neurosurgery, commented:
"This is unlike anything we've seen before in healthcare. A cancer diagnosis and everything that comes with it can cause an unspeakable amount of stress for patients and families. A solution of this magnitude has the unparalleled potential to ease that burden and we are thrilled to join with Accesso to create an improved experience for our patients."
Spencer Hoover, Henry Ford Health System's Vice President & Executive Director of the Henry Ford Cancer Institute, commented:
"We're creating a revolution in healthcare that, for the first time, combines unprecedented convenience with exceptional and personalized care. In Accesso and TE2, we have found committed colleagues that have brought the best of hospitality to healthcare."
"Sales from advance purchase commitments, including season passes, through the end of January are up 10% from the same time last year, driven by a strong capital program for 2018.
"We are pleased to report a record fourth quarter performance as our parks had a strong finish to 2017," said Richard Zimmerman, Cedar Fair's president and chief executive officer.....This focus has enabled us to generate solid increases across all of our advance purchase channels for 2018, giving us confidence that the momentum we generated at the end of 2017 will continue."
There's a conference call transcript here, which has very positive implications for ACSO as it:
(1) specifically mentions Flash Pass as one of the growth drivers for in-park revenues
(2) highlights the "large-scale" fast growth opportunity for acquisition of and growth in water parks in their portfolio:
"We can have multiple water parks in each of our markets and there are dozens of potential opportunities and it is highly accretive to earnings."
(3) focuses on near-term growth opportunities in China, Dubai, Vietnam etc etc
"Berenberg starts Accesso at a 'buy', sets 2,700p target
Wed, 14th Feb 2018 13:53
Analysts at Berenberg initiated coverage on leisure industry group Accesso Technology with a 'buy' rating on Wednesday, citing several factors that they believed would lead to "double-digit organic revenue growth" over the coming years as their reasoning.
Berenberg stated that Accesso and its end-to-end technology stack, married with its global footprint, position it well in "a market that is fragmented by product, geography and vertical".
"We believe this will allow Accesso to take market share in its core theme park market, but also expand in the broader leisure industry where it has less penetration," the Tuesday morning research note read.
Berenberg initiated coverage with a 'buy' rating and a 2,700p price target.
Berenberg said, "Accesso has spent c$170m on five acquisitions since 2012. With more than $120m of balance sheet firepower over 2018-20E, we believe that accesso will likely use M&A to accelerate growth in new verticals and geographies. Our analysis indicates that M&A could deliver 30%+ earnings upgrades over 2018-20E and add up to 1,100p to our base-case DCF price target."
"We value accesso on a 80/20 blend of our base-case DCF and blue-sky valuation. Accesso trades on 37x 2018 P/E for a 20% 2018-20E EPS CAGR," the analysts concluded."
"Berenberg sees 20% upside potential for accesso Technology as it starts coverage with a buy
13:04 14 Feb 2018
Berenberg's analysts pointed out that accesso's end-to-end technology stack combined with its global footprint positions the group well in a market that is fragmented by product, geography and vertical
German bank Berenberg has initiated coverage on accesso Technology Group PLC (LON:ACSO) with a buy rating and a price target of 2,700p, offering over 20% upside potential to the shares which are currently trading at 2,230p each.
In a note to clients, Berenbergs analysts noted that accesso is the leading provider of virtual queuing, ticketing and point-of-sale (POS) solutions for the global leisure industry.
They pointed out that this end-to-end technology stack combined with the AIM-listed group's global footprint positions the group well in a market that is fragmented by product, geography and vertical.
The analysts said: We believe this will allow accesso to take market share in its core theme park market, but also expand in the broader leisure industry where it has less penetration. We believe these factors will continue to drive double-digit organic revenue growth over the coming years.
They added: Coupled with the capacity to consolidate its fragmented industry and a scalable business model, we believe accesso can grow to multiples of its current size on a multi-year view.
The Berenberg analysts noted that since 2012, accesso has delivered a compound average growth rate (CAGR) of 12% in organic revenue.
They believe that level of growth is sustainable as accessos breadth of solutions and depth of intellectual property will, in their view, allow it to: 1) continue to take share in the large US theme park market, 2) capitalise on the increasing investment in the Asian theme park market and 3) continue expanding its addressable market by entering new high-value verticals, such as live events, festivals, sport and cultural activities.
The analysts said: Given these opportunities, and with the leisure market as a whole increasingly adopting digital supply chain and ecommerce solutions, we believe accesso will continue to deliver at least double-digit organic growth over the coming years.
As such, they forecast a 13% organic revenue CAGR for 2018-2020.
Material margin growth expected
The analysts also said they believe accessos software as a service (SaaS)-based revenue share model will drive material margin growth over the coming years.
They added: This model requires accesso to bear the upfront implementation costs, reducing contract margins at the outset, but with ongoing costs largely fixed and with growing contract revenues, we would expect margins to naturally increase over time.
The Berenberg analysts said while their base case already models EBIT margins to expand to 16%-18% in 2018-2020, they believe EBIT margins of 17%-21% in 2018-2020 and 30%-plus by 2025, are achievable.
They added that this upside scenario would increase their 2018-2020 EBIT estimates for accesso by 4%-15%, and add +700 basis points to their base-case discounted cashflow-based price target.
M&A also offers material upside
The analysts also pointed out that M&A offers material upside for the group, with accesso having spent around US$170mln on five acquisitions since 2012.
They added that with more than US$120mln of balance sheet firepower estimated over 2018-2020, they believe that accesso will likely use M&A to accelerate growth in new verticals and geographies. They said their analysis indicates that M&A could deliver 30%-plus earnings upgrades for accesso over 2018
(1) Berenberg initiated with a Buy and 2700p target. Berenberg are a sizeable and highly respected German investment bank
(2) Cedar Fair have renewed for another 5 years across ALL of their properties, i.e a big vote of confidence in ACSO. The City love this guaranteed, recurring income, and it's one big reason why they love ACSO
(3) The President and CEO of IAAPA will succeed Steve Brown as CEO. This has to be the most impressive and heavyweight appointment ACSO could possibly have announced! And it's evidently amicable as Steve is continuing to advise for a further year.
The comment from the new appointee was most intriguing imo:
"Paul Noland commented:
"I'm thrilled to be joining Accesso at such an exciting time in its development. The Accesso team has built a fantastic business and I look forward to bringing my experience to bear in driving it forward.
My background across the industry gives me a full sense of the opportunity Accesso has before it, and with the combination of outstanding technology and fantastic people already in place, I'm full of excitement about the future."
Which suggests that there is much excitement still to come here. TB's aim of shaking up the entire ticketing and entertainment sector looks like it has some way to run yet.
"Citywire A-rated Kames Capital small cap stalwart Elaine Morgan has upped her holding in online ticketing firm Accesso Technology (ACSO) after it announced that it expected earnings to come in ahead of expectations this year.
Kames increased its stake to 4.1% of the company, or 1.1 million shares, this week from a previously undisclosed level. This was valued at £24.4 million at Fridays £22.20 share price.
The shares are held across Morgans UK Smaller Companies fund, as well as the asset managers UK Equity Absolute Return, UK Equity and UK Equity Income funds. Kames holds 3.8% directly with the remaining 0.3% through options.
Accesso, which has contracts with a number of major theme parks, including Alton Towers and Legoland, told the market that earnings were on track to be substantially ahead of expectations this year, enabling the company to pay down its debt faster than expected.
The shares are up 42.3% over 12 months and 18% since the start of the year."
"accesso ShoWare and TicketGuardian Announce Strategic Insurance Technology Partnership to Enhance Platform Offerings
Jan 25, 2018, 08:00 ET
LOS ANGELES, Jan. 25, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, accesso ShoWare and TicketGuardian announced a strategic partnership, integrating TicketGuardian's insurance technology with the accesso ShoWare ticketing platform.
The technology integration will deliver a unique value to accesso ShoWare clients, who can now provide their customers with an enhanced ticket-purchasing experience and the comfort of a simplified ticket insurance process.
"The accesso ShoWare team is thrilled to partner with TicketGuardian as we continue to enhance the ticketing experience for our clients and their customers," said Bruno Boehi, President of accesso ShoWare. "TicketGuardian's innovative technology will allow our clients to provide customers with peace of mind when making advance purchases, improving the guest experience before they even set foot on site."
Known for their industry expertise, TicketGuardian develops insurance technologies providing keen solutions to some of the most complex challenges in the ticketing industry, for both ticket holders and sellers.
"By partnering with accesso ShoWare, TicketGuardian is helping to improve the live events industry around the world," said Bryan Derbyshire, Founder and CEO of TicketGuardian. "Combining our insurtech with accesso ShoWare's robust ticketing solution extends the reach of our most advanced technologies to protect as many people that buy tickets to live experiences as we can."
To reiterate, ACSO's TE2 are responsible for the new Ocean Medallion devices introduced this year on Princess Cruises, owned by the behemoth Carnival Corporation. If these are rolled out across the various Carnival fleets - P&O, Royal Caribbean, Holland America etc - then that will be pretty sizeable. To say the least.
On top of which ACSO have the potential for a rollout of the Tapu Tapu device currently being used at Universal's Volcano Bay resort being rolled out across the rest of Universal's theme park and attractions estate.
Plus of course the completion of the rollout across Merlin's theme park and attractions estate currently being implemented.
The huge Trump corporate tax cuts now passed in the USA will have a big beneficial effect for ACSO.
ACSO currently provide for US taxes at 40%, which will presumably now reduce to 21%. The overseas tax charge for 2016 was $1.43m (I'd assume mostly US tax), so it's likely that ACSO will benefit by say some $600,000 per annum, and obviously more as time goes on as profits will have risen sharply in 2017 and thereon.
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