Think back to the last time that you visited an amusement park. In addition to winning your daughter a huge Dora the Explorer that was bigger than she, and screaming at the top of your lungs on a roller coaster that nearly made you see your breakfast again, there was also something else very important that shaped your amusement park experience: information.
Whether consciously aware of this or not, information about you and your family’s safety was a top priority for people like David Mandt, vice president of communications at the Washington, D.C.-based International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions. Ranging from shutdown rides to missing children alerts, it is irrefutable that in order for one to enjoy the stereotypical, all-American summer day at a theme park, being informed in a timely manner about important information is essential.
Having worked at amusement parks since his college days, Mandt shared with the PRSA’s ‘Public Relations Tactics’ his knowledge on effective public relations strategies in regards to the travel and tourism industries. “The communications landscape continues to evolve and that evolution will impact the success of travel and tourism PR professionals,” Mandt said. The five key traits/trends that he thinks are integral to that success include:
- Creativity: Find and tell good stories related to the attractions; need remains for traditional and emerging communications channels.
- Agility /Sense of Urgency: The real-time reporting of information is here to stay. Respond to reporters and guest inquiries quickly to maintain the control you can.
- Global Thinking: Pay attention to the news for travel and tourism industry about the world because it could suddenly put your attraction in the spotlight locally, or present a tremendous opportunity for your publicity efforts.
- Adaptability: Use those [channels] that are effective as long as they are effective- you have to measure to determine what’s effective- but know when to move on as better channels and opportunities emerge.
- Sincerity/Transparency: In the age of social media, being upfront with people is absolutely critical to long-term credibility and success.
Clearly, Mandt’s knowledge gleaned through working in the amusement park industry can be applied to any company within the tourism or travel industries. As Mandt eloquently stated, the main things to focus on when it comes to tourism and travel for PR professionals are creativity, urgency, and honesty- three things that no matter the month of the year, never go out of season.