COVID-19 Video Series

In this uncertain time, it is important to stay informed. That is why we are committed to providing the attractions industry with up-to-date information, best practices, and resources. This video series includes content from AttractionPros Podcast co-hosts Matt Heller and Josh Liebman, along with special guests from throughout the industry.

Friday, August 6th, 2021
Reflections with Kevin Williams
with Kevin Williams

Kevin Williams returns to the COVID-19 video series to reflect on our conversations from 2020. We cover predictions from the beginning of the pandemic that include pent-up demand, the emergence of in-home entertainment, enhanced cleaning procedures, whether masks are retail, and things we did not predict: the ability to attract quality talent. Where do we go from here? Kevin shares his predictions for the next steps that the industry needs to take.

By the way, you can check out Kevin’s first interview on the series here, as well as his second interview here.

Thursday, June 25th, 2020
Rethinking how to keep our communities safe
with Anthony Palermo (Connect&Go)

Anthony Palermo of Connect&Go returns to the video series to talk about how tracking COVID-19 cases among employees can help keep businesses from having to shut down again. With Connect&Go’s latest product, Safeband will help businesses keep their employees safer at work, through effective physical distancing tracking and contact tracing. In this video, Anthony provides a detailed overview of Safeband and how the product came into play at the most ideal time.

Monday, June 22nd, 2020
It’s not game over
with Andre Lawless (Lawless Marketing)

Andre Lawless from Lawless Marketing talks about how to harness the “start-up” mentality to get your business back on track post COVID-19. In this in-depth conversation, Andre covers what communication operators should focus on in order to connect with their target customer at this time, whether they have reopened or not, and evoking the feeling that their business provides, not just stating that the attraction has reopened or announce an opening date – with creative examples included. Andre also discusses the type of data that operators should collect, including Net Promoter Score, along with open-ended qualitative data to further connect with their guests.

Thursday, June 11th, 2020
Smooth out the rough edges
with Shawn Whitman (Zoo Atlanta)

Shawn Whitman from Zoo Atlanta shares how his team prepared for and executed a successful opening of the zoo, and what he sees as some of the changes that might be here to stay. In this in-depth conversation, we cover the zoo’s reopening plans, operational procedures, modifications to HR procedures, and how guests have responded to the updated modifications. Shawn walks us through what visiting the zoo is currently like, which includes timed ticketing, reservations, and a one-way path to ensure a more controlled guest experience.

Wednesday, June 10th, 2020
Embrace what you are not ready to embrace
with Kevin Williams (KWP Limited)

Kevin Williams joins us again to talk about facility cleanliness, observing guest behavior with open eyes and ears and making changes that we might not want to make. Kevin also discusses the third in series of guides to operators of amusements and attractions venues, in the changing landscape #AfterLockdown. In addition to several thorough tips and recommendations Kevin makes for physical spacing of fixtures and equipment, we also dive into the importance of focusing on guest experience as the industry begins to invite guests back.

Thursday, June 4th, 2020
Planning for the future – near and far
with Ed Hodgdon (Funtown Splashtown USA and NEAAPA)

Ed Hodgdon from Funtown Splashtown USA talks about his park deciding not to open for 2020, and how they are using this summer off to make updates to the park that otherwise would not have been able to be completed. Additionally, Ed discusses what the New England Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (NEAAPA) is doing to help the many varied attractions across New England gather resources and plan for their eventual re-opening.

Saturday, May 30th, 2020
Our employees stepped up
with David Gray (Lagoon)

Lagoon in Utah has reopened and their HR Director, David Gray, joins us to talk about how it went. We talk about guests, employees, the health department, and David’s best advice for those who are planning to reopen soon. David said that he has never been so excited to open the park for the season, and how Lagoon’s employees truly stepped up to show their enthusiasm and help with the park’s long-anticipated reopening.

Saturday, May 23rd, 2020
Don’t do this on your own
with David Bromilow (Mobaro)

Mobaro is known for helping attractions operators streamline their routine processes, and as we all know, that routine is getting a complete overhaul throughout the entire industry. David discusses how Mobaro is offering a specific COVID-19 component of their application at no cost. David has also served on various task forces to help define reopening procedures, which he shed lights on, and talks about how the attractions that have begun to open are serving as the “pathfinders” for the global industry to follow.

Friday, May 22nd, 2020
Unlearn your history
with David Crandell (Fiesta Village Fun Park)

David Crandell from Fiesta Village is back to talk about how the opening of his entertainment center went over the weekend of May 15-17. One of his major learnings was to forget history… this is a new world and none of your historical data will help predict how this is going to go. David shares with us the feedback provided by guests and team members, and how the community has embraced Fiesta Village’s return.

Thursday, May 21st, 2020
Taking reasonable steps to minimize exposure
with Erik Beard (International Ride Training)

In this video, Erik Beard talks about how International Ride Training has supported the industry through refining procedures for attractions operations, in the interest of keeping both guests and staff members safe. When it comes to sanitation standards, the goal should be primarily focused on cleaning the people, vs. cleaning the touch points. From a risk management standpoint, we discus how parks should be communicating that they are taking reasonable steps to minimize exposure, not guaranteeing that guests will not be susceptible to contracting the virus.

Wednesday, May 20th, 2020
Take care of ourselves to take care of others
with Matt Eckert (Holiday World)

Matt Eckert, President & CEO of Holiday World in Santa Claus, IN, joins our video series to discuss the park’s reopening plans, scheduled for June 14th. Originally scheduled to open on May 2nd, Matt discusses changes guests can expect to see when they visit this summer. With a reputation of being the cleanest park in the world, Matt says that that’s no longer enough, and now they need to take creative initiatives to protect this standard, and of course, how they are protecting guests and team members. Matt also explains how virtual queueing will be implemented due to a new partnership with accesso.

Tuesday, May 19th, 2020
Creativity will save us
with Kimball Keller (Blue Sky Productions)

In this conversation, Kimball Keller discusses how COVID-19 has damaged the live entertainment industry, including stage shows, theaters, performances, traveling tours, festivals, and concerts. Kimball shares how operators have taken creative initiatives to adapt and create ways to stay relevant and produce revenue. From drive-in concerts to online performances, effective solutions are out there, and Kimball is confident that the industry will come back even stronger than it was before.

Thursday, May 14th, 2020
Reinventing the wheel because we have to
with Jeff Chatterton (Checkmate Public Affairs)

Jeff Chatterton is a crisis communication expert.  His PR firm, Checkmate Public Affairs, helps attractions build trust and credibility when facing public pressures.  Given that this crisis is affecting the global attractions industry, Jeff has incredible insight into responding to questions operators are not used to hearing.  In this conversation, we discuss the best ways to address a variety of issues, that include guests as well as staff members, and give clarity into how operators should be aligning their communication strategy as the pandemic continues to evolve.

Friday, May 8th, 2020
Checking every box before reopening
with David Crandell (Fiesta Village Fun Park)

David Crandell is the General Manager at Fiesta Village Fun Park in Colton, Ca, just east of Los Angeles.  Fiesta Village is finalizing the last details before reopening next weekend, and David sat down with us to tell us what that looks like.  From the decision to reopen, to bringing back staff, and assuring guests of updated sanitation procedures, David and his team and working diligently to make sure that they can achieve success while ensuring that the safety and guests and team members are of utmost priority.  Fiesta Village is also surveying guests to learn about what their fans except from them when they reopening, and plans to share the data when the research is complete.

Thursday, April 30th, 2020
Forecasting isn’t just for the weather
with Zach Winfield (Zoo Advisors)

Zach Winfield from Zoo Advisors shares with us how zoos and aquariums are adapting their model to stay top of mind, generate revenue when they can, and continue to fundraise while the industry is shut down.  Zach shares examples of keepers joining virtual meetings with animals, converting properties to drive through experiences, and staying engaged with their communities and members to keep fundraising efforts active.  Additionally, Zach shares with us a free tool that Zoo Advisors has developed for operators based on revised attendance forecasting, capacity decreases, and updated revenue projections.

Tuesday, April 28th, 2020
What emerging trends are going to become standardized?

A random discussion while waiting for a podcast guest that we thought was kind of interesting. While recording a podcast isn’t all that glamorous, this look under the hood gives insight into what Matt and Josh talk about when the record light isn’t on.

Friday, April 24th, 2020
Bounce forward
with Phil Edgell (Vantage)

Phil Edgell from Vantage joins the AttractionPros COVID-19 Video Series to share how the company has shifted its business model during this time to serve those who critically need their service right now.  Contract tracing technology has become a necessary application in senior care homes.  By using the bluetooth platform that Vantage has created, their wearable technology can be adapted into clinical care, where if a resident has tested positive for COVID-19, that they can now trace other individuals with whom they may have come in contact.  Phil shares how Vantage was able to pivot quickly while still committing their primary focus to the attractions industry, ways that branching off into the healthcare industry has shed new light on enhancing their application in attractions, and how it’s now about bouncing back… it’s about bouncing forward.

Monday, April 20th, 2020
Lead with compassion
with Heather Barnes (Shedd Aquarium / Improvisation at Work)

Heather Barnes, from Shedd Aquarium and Improvisation at Work, talks about how Shedd’s executive leadership is keeping in contact with employees who are unable to perform their regular job duties.  The common theme of “How are you doing as a human being?” has shown through various communication methods, which stresses the importance of ensuring that your employees are keeping comfortable during this time, along with the additional pressures that all of our organizations are working through.  Additionally, Heather shares how leading improvisation classes has entered a new dynamic, as she can reach a wider audience through telecommunication technology, and how participants are now challenged with circumventing the logistics that are not a normal part of an in-person session.

Friday, April 17th, 2020
Check your mindset
with Sylvia Matiko (A Different View)

Sylvia Matiko talks about the importance of understanding the consumer mindset, and how it’s going to change.  Motivations and behaviors are going to change, and A Different View is leading the charge with researching a cross-industry analysis, looking at “The Mindset Index” and benchmarking it over time.  By cross-referencing multiple attraction types who can all learn from each other, this will inform strategy moving forward by giving insight to leadership.

Thursday, April 16th, 2020
Breakdowns to breakthroughs
with Phil Wilson (Extreme Engineering)

Monday, April 13th, 2020
Listen, communicate, participate!
with Barry Zelickson (Big Thrill Factory)

Friday, April 10th, 2020, 2020
Bounce into an optimistic future
with Bethany Evans (International Association of Trampoline Parks)

Thursday, April 9th, 2020, 2020
More than ever we have to listen to our guests
with Scot Carson (Amusement Advantage)

Wednesday, April 8th, 2020, 2020
The first new normal is already here
with Tim Benson (Omaha Children’s Museum)

Tuesday, April 7th, 2020, 2020
Invest your time wisely
with Kevin McNulty (Netweave Online)

Monday, April 6th, 2020, 2020
You have to be ready for the opportunities
with Bill Lupfer (Florida Attractions Association)

Saturday, April 4th, 2020, 2020
Pivoting your business to help others
with Anthony Palermo (Connect&Go)

Friday, April 3rd, 2020, 2020
Crisis communication when there is no playbook
with Carolyn McLean

Thursday, April 2nd, 2020, 2020
Being flexible with moving targets
with Jeff Strickland (Pacific National Exhibition)

Wednesday, April 1st, 2020, 2020
Embracing your community
with Tiffany Rains (The Alley)

Tuesday, March 31st, 2020, 2020
The unknown questions we can’t answer yet
with Clint Novak (Funland of Fredericksburg)

Monday, March 30th, 2020, 2020
The impact of VR and out-of-home entertainment
with Kevin Williams (KWP Limited)

Saturday, March 28th, 2020, 2020
Connecting with laid off or furloughed employees