Theme park marketing is its own special discipline. The feeling of nervous terror at the top of a roller coaster, giant stuffed dinosaurs won at the carnival, brightly colored cotton candy – it can seem like these experiences should be able to sell themselves.
But how do you generate interest year-round, not just during travel season? How do you make sure you’re on people’s minds when they’re planning their next vacation or day out? How do you appeal to both families and twenty-somethings looking for a fun Saturday? There’s a lot to it.
That’s why we put together this quick selection of industry resources. From blog posts and podcasts to full industry publications, there’s something for everyone!
1 | Coaster 101
As the name suggests, Coaster 101 features the latest on roller coasters and thrill rides, from themes and concepts to engineering, but it also shares amusement industry news. It’s a place any theme park marketer can go for ideas and inspiration.
Recommended reading: Zamperla Looking To The Future With IAAPA Announcements
2 | IAAPA reports
Anyone in the amusement industry instantly recognizes those five letters. The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions has over 5,000 amusement-industry members in more than 100 countries around the globe.
In addition to operating trade shows, IAAPA offers workshops, seminars and training, and research and industry data in all facets of the amusement-park industry. They provide extensive reports chock-full of insight from industry data, and they’re free for all IAAPA members!
Recommended reading: IAAPA Global Theme and Amusement Park Outlook 2018-2022
Theme Park Tourist focuses on providing a global perspective on theme parks, with much of its content divided by region. Its news and features will keep you in the know, but the in-depth guides to over 90 theme parks are also handy. It’s an easy way to do side-by-side comparisons of other parks to understand the range of experiences park-goers have at their disposal.
Recommended reading: LEGEND LIBRARY: Inside the Best (and Worst) Theme Park Rides Ever Created
The only thing that’s modest about Theme Park Review is the website design. With over 1.2 million subscribers on YouTube and over 100,000 Twitter followers, TPR focuses on sharing the eye-level experience of theme parks, with POV videos riding the newest coasters to construction updates directly from the parks. If you’re looking for a park visitor’s perspective, TPR can be a useful reference.
Recommended reading: Riding Bandit Roller Coaster at Yomiuriland in Japan!
The brainchild of former LA Times journalist Robert Niles, Theme Park Insider has become one of the most informative theme park sites you’ll find. It gets all kinds of exclusives, and its annual awards have become a coveted prize in the industry.
Recommended reading: What’s New in 2019?
6 | ThrillNetwork
At the ripe old age of 17, ThrillNetwork is one of the longest-running theme park websites around. With up-to-date news coverage, an active forum and a database of ride statistics, ThrillNetwork is a site any theme park marketer should bookmark.
Recommended reading: 10 Best and Wildest Rollercoaster Rides in the World
7 | The Season Pass
Featuring interviews with experts in branding, experiential entertainment and media, Doug Barnes and Brent Young deliver in-depth looks at the latest developments in the amusement industry. The Season Pass provides a rare space to discuss topics at length and share perspectives, making it a must-listen for theme park marketers.
Recommended episode: Episode 362: The TEA Summit and Thea Awards 2017
8 | Coaster Radio
A theme park podcast featuring Neil Patrick Harris? Enough said! Well, sort of – NPH recorded the introduction.
Coaster Radio is more focused on entertainment than news, with characters, theme park stories and interactive game shows that extend to the show’s vibrant listener community. Although it’s not going to deliver metrics and marketing strategies, it will provide a lighthearted look at the goings on in theme parks around the globe.
Recommended episode: Episode 1235 – Tomorrowland: The Future of Theme Parks
This episode was recorded a few years ago, when social media was still establishing itself as core marketing, but hearing how Tony Clark, Digital Communications Director for Cedar Point Amusement Park, manages to work social into the park’s strategy, even on a small team, are still relevant today.
Blog posts on the untapped potential of UGC
Virtually all theme parks have discovered the value of user-generated content to capture the exhilaration of the park experience, but few are doing it in an organized, scalable way. With any new media, there are natural questions around usage and guidelines which may be keeping theme parks from confidently committing to UGC. Here are a few resources that will address those early concerns and have you confident investing in UGC!
Aside from rides, games and shows, there are few things amusement park visitors love more than sharing their experiences on social media, and that helps you as a marketer. 92% of consumers trust word-of-mouth more than other kinds of advertising. As amusement parks work to inspire new visitors or season pass holders to visit again, there’s no better way than with authentic, trustworthy UGC.
This article will help you understand how to get rights to UGC and use it to get more people to your park.
It’s hard to talk about amusement parks and not mention Disney. This post does a great job of outlining some of the things that makes Disney’s marketing so effective, offering takeaways that any theme park marketer can weave into their strategy.
An industry insider’s look at tips and tricks to making the most of UGC, featuring insights from forward-thinking attraction marketers, Pete Owens from Dollywood, and Jillian Enterline from TBWA Bright Red.
Yes, GoToLouisville is marketing a destination, but the approach maps perfectly to working with American Coaster Enthusiasts and other theme park influencers.
A primer on the marketing landscape for theme parks from entrepreneurship blog Gaebler, this is one of those posts that you almost want to print out and stick to your monitor as an everyday reminder of core marketing concepts.
Skift is a staple for travel and tourism brands, and this data-backed look at how Universal Theme Parks invests in new rides and intellectual property that resonates with 18-34-year-olds is an example of why it’s such a trusted resource.
The building blocks of a successful destination marketing career
The key to continued success is continued learning. By taking advantage of the resources available to you, you’re already on the right track.
Got a great destination marketing resource we missed? Tweet us @CrowdRiff!