This season was challenging, to say the least. Parks were temporarily closed and reopened; did not open until mid or late summer; were not allowed to open at all; or closed early due to increased COVID cases or by government mandate. After such an unprecedented year you might think, “Where do I even start to plan for 2021?”

The Marketing Roundtable 2020 – What In The World Happened & What’s Next In 2021? is a great place to start. It takes place on Wednesday, October 7th from 11:00 – 11:45 am Eastern time. You’ll hear from speakers on topics such as Digital, Marketing Mix, Group Sales, Social Media and Brand Management. Plus, you can ask our panel the marketing questions you’ve been looking for answers to.

Consumer behaviors have changed due to the pandemic. Some of this will be short-term while some changes will undoubtedly be longer-term. As people stayed home and spent more time on their mobile devices, online platforms grew in popularity. Customers are spending more time on OTT streaming platforms for entertainment, social media for connecting with the outside world and e-commerce portals for shopping.

“Marketers should be running digital ad campaigns to reach customers where they are,” explains Shawn Bowman, President of IdeaSeat Marketing and Advertising. “Parks need to leverage the right technology to stay ahead of the challenge. If you do not adapt, you will be left behind. The right strategy will allow your park to dominate the marketing landscape for some time to come while others struggle.”

With the increase in shopping online and staying connected with friends and family on social media, waterparks need to reallocate budgets to ad campaigns accordingly, and reach their consumers where they are most active – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Tik Tok.

“As marketers, we need to be creating more engaging content and targeted social media campaigns for existing and potential customers,” said John Pham, Director of Brand Management of Typhoon Texas. “Real-time insights and technology that anticipate consumer interests and needs are essential for marketers and brands to create meaningful, supportive engagement with consumers. Brands have an opportunity to deliver real-time assurance and a feeling of connection.”

You’ll need to start planning with a marketing mix of advertising, operations, promotions, discounts, competition and macro-economics to determine the value/ROI and impact of each business driver.

“COVID-19 will continue to be ever changing and your marketing plan will need to be the same. Parks need to be agile with their marketing and advertising spend,” stated Tina Hatcher, President of 3i Advertising. “You will need to be prepared to reset marketing strategies in order to accurately represent changes in market recovery, capacity limits, consumer demand and dynamic changes in the effectiveness of your media, social and digital placements.”

Everyone’s focus is on maximizing revenue and profits for the year under a significantly altered environment. This will be more complex because waterparks will need to evaluate and adjust historical performance and metrics to account for both the short and long-term impacts of the crisis.

“Group sales’ revenues has been one of the hardest hit areas of every park,” states Sharaf Chenault, Director of Sales at Cowabunga Bay Water Park. “You cannot count on your previous methods for targeting groups and running events at the park. You need to create new strategies to accommodate for their new mindset.”

Just as nobody knew what to expect from the 2020 season, we still don’t know what to expect for the 2021 season. Join us for this WWA40 Virtual Show Marketing Roundtable to help you start to plan and prepare for next season.

Tina Hatcher
3i Advertising