Esther Lee IB 207
Case 1: Euro Disney: The First 100 Days
1. What were the reasons for Euro Disney’s problems in Europe?
- There were multiple reasons for Euro Disney problems, starting from their mostly European employees who has different approach about work ethics and culture. This is a big issue because Disney is mainly known for their exceptional customer experience and is well known for creating a magical experience for their customers. Though training process has been similar to that of U.S., the results came out different. Due to the fact that more than 70% of the employees were French, their attitude towards creating a magical experience was obviously not their priority, looking at the result of the comments made by the customers. The “hectic” working style and enforcement of strict dress codes was not familiar to European workers and there was a high turnover rate due to that. Another issue was lack of housing accommodations for workers which can drive up the cost to the Disney company to renting all these rooms in Paris. Language barriers of accommodating all the people that will be visiting Disney has also had staff being more anxious rather than enthusiastic and friendly. Due to these this issues and high worker turnover rate, poor customer service has resulted which have damaged their usual exceptional reputation. Another issue was that Europe was going through a recession during the period that park has opened and the fact that they priced their hotel accommodations at a competitive rate was not a good move. In terms of dining, following their strict alcohol banning policy that has been applied to U.S. and Japan might offend the European people. It’s almost like opening a meat restaurant in India where most of the people are vegetarian. Wine is core of European culture and to eliminate it might have caused lot of fall out of customers. The long wait in line has not been looked favorable for Europeans which resulted in more dissatisfied customers. Also, the French style of being private, individualistic and intellectual nature might not have made a Disney an appealing place to vacation in.
2. Could Euro Disney have foreseen any of those problems?
-The Euro Disney was overly confident about their projections due to their success in America and as well in Japan. Though it makes sense that transportation wise, Europe is very easily accessible and have forecasted high customer visits. Also, the fact that Europeans have 5 weeks of vacations which can attract more visitors during those weeks, all these external factors that hasn’t been properly though through and further investigated have blinded the company of these problems. As discusses above, if the company had further investigated the European culture and surveyed extensively of what Europeans were really like and what they enjoyed, these problems could have definitely been foreseen. Things that can have been easily resolved are not banning wine in their facility, creating the park to meet the more intellectual taste of the French, logistically figuring out housing issues and hiring more diverse group of employees to smooth out the work ethic differences.
3. What issues should a company think through before extending a successful concept across cultural boundaries? Should the park be adapted for the local market from the U.S. model, and if so, in what ways? Why was the Disney concept successful in Japan?
- Main issues that a company should think through before extending a concept across cultural boundaries is tackling and understanding the cultural differences fully, which is difficult to do. Most companies, especially companies that are customer service-based like Disney, has to thoroughly research and investigate the culture in order to please their customers. The park should adapt some of the local market from the U.S model but not fully. The model should be uniquely tailor made for the culture in order to be successful and should adapt some of the local market model to not lose the main flavor of the company as well. The Disney concept was successful in Japan because their culture already had favorable view of the American style entertainment which was already a plus to begin with. The cleanliness of the park mirrors Japanese culture’s clean image. Their management style also aligns with that of Disney where management and order is followed and is natural to Japanese people. Since respect and being polite to strangers of almost second nature to them, creating a magical service experience to the customer was easily followed which lead to success of Disney in Japan.
4. What should Disney have done differently?
- As mostly covered in question 2, Disney could have done it differently by further investigating and studying the European culture and should align and mirror the image of their culture but still holding onto some hall marks of what it makes it a Disney theme park. As they did in Japan, they should mirror the culture of the European people by allowing wine which is important to their culture, studying their management style and treat them differently that aligns with their culture. And lastly, creating a park that will cater to their intellectual taste.