A Model of Due Diligence

In our March newsletter, we shared a high-level introduction to the concept of feasibility studies, what they are, and why you might want to conduct one. Today, we want to dive deeper into our process and talk about how we approached a recent engagement with Brevard Zoo in Florida.

Keith Winsten, Executive Director of Brevard Zoo, approached Zoo Advisors with a request to review internally developed projections for a new aquarium concept to be located in beautiful Port Canaveral, about 30-minutes’ drive from the Zoo. Our assessment of the pro forma was that it was well-developed and credible, but that one critically important metric needed a closer look: the attendance projection.

Attendance is the life-blood of any zoo or aquarium. No matter how accurate the rest of the model, if the attendance projection was wrong, the entire operational stability of the concept could be in jeopardy.

Brevard Zoo agreed that due diligence was required and engaged Zoo Advisors to conduct a feasibility assessment of the market capacity to support the aquarium concept. We developed a methodology that evaluated potential attendance via three independent approaches:

  • A benchmark assessment of 12 comparable aquariums and markets across the United States, including their respective tourism volume

  • A primary research study that surveyed over 1,400 constituents from the region and its primary feeder-markets

  • An analysis of Brevard Zoo’s existing primary attendance projection research to confirm its accuracy

This tailor-made approach enabled the Zoo to make an informed, empirical judgment about the potential for their aquarium concept to thrive.

Curious about the findings? Click through to read the case study.