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Theme park PR teams discover the Web?

2008-01-07

By Robert Niles: There's a good read in this month's Funworld magazine about how theme parks can promote themselves online. (Funworld is published by the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, the industry's leading trade association.)

Web 2.0 tools are enabling groups to quickly and easily keep in touch with each other. Forget the old model, where people received controlled doses of news via mainstream media. Today’s audiences, especially younger consumers, are looking to multiple networks for fresh, candid, and realtime sources of information.

The article looks at the potential for theme park promotion online, and the main source seems to be some guy who runs a theme park-related website that you might have heard of.

Readers' Opinions

From Bradley Robertson on January 8, 2008 at 9:26 AM
If it wasn't for sites like TPI, Screamscape, IOACentral, and Mice Age I think I would go insane in the off-season (November-March around here). Likewise, My last trip to Florida wouldn't have gone as smooth if I hadn't been able to chat with local annual pass holders to get tips.

World's of Fun (my local Cedar Fair owned park)started doing a blog on their site this last year. It was fairly popular and their PR has recently added MySpace and YouTube profiles to the mix. It has taken some time, but I think at this point all but Disney have realized the value of online PR. They have a nice website, but they don't create extra content in the same way Universal has HalloweenHorrorNights.com or how Busch had DeathJockey.com. At the very least, I'll say I haven't come across anything like that. I don't think they have realized how to create an online experience for 16-30 year olds yet. Hopefully that will change.

From Bruce Lane on January 8, 2008 at 11:54 PM
This can work both ways.

Yes, parks can easily develop their own sites to promote themselves and their products. The smart ones will add visitor forums to give said visitors a "venting spot" for any and all kinds of feedback about the park involved.

The smartest parks will not only LISTEN TO, and ACT on such feedback (well, within reason anyway), but will also pay attention to what's being said about them on third party forums such as TPI.

I have every reason to believe, for example, that Sea World monitors this and other forums where people are discussing their parks. I know this because one of my acquaintances in IMATA made direct reference to something I wrote in one of my posts here. Whether the parks so discussed actually take serious note, and/or act on anything they perceive as a real problem as a result, remains to be seen.

If they're truly smart (and I have no reason, outside of some parts of the Entertainment department, to believe otherwise), they will.

Happy travels.

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