Pete Barto is President of PB Amusement, a firm he started to fill the gap of helping operators find just the right ride or experience for their attraction. Pete is one of the few people who can say that he has the “trifecta” of experience, having worked with an industry association, an operator, and a manufacturer. Pete is not shy about his love for the industry, which is evident in the conversation where we talk about passion recognizing passion, doing business with friends, and investing in attractions.
Passion recognizes passion
“Every bit of an amusement park gets me excited, and always has.”
From an early age, Pete was called to “perform” at local amusement parks, but not in a traditional way. In a few cases, Pete took over for a games barker or tram driver and began perfecting his “sales pitch” that would later serve him well in many roles.
It is this passion that Pete displays, but also sees in other people. The passion that many people have for this industry is infectious, and Pete makes a great point about working with others who share the same outlook, passion, and drive. It’s inspiring, and who wouldn’t want to work around other inspiring people?
Doing business with friends
“It’s so much more enjoyable doing business with friends.”
If you look at Pete’s roles throughout his career, you notice a similar word pop up over and over – sales. Pete has had a variety of sales roles but doesn’t consider himself a salesperson. That’s because he chooses to do business with people he likes and genuinely cares about – his friends.
Because of this, Pete doesn’t “push” products or services on people that they don’t need. He takes a very “long game” approach to sales in that he feels if he builds a relationship, the sales will eventually follow. This is why Pete is not worried or upset when a sale doesn’t go through. It wasn’t right at that time, but the situation could be different in the future and the sale may happen then. Until then Pete keeps in close contact and tries to learn everything he can about their business.
Investing in attractions
“You can’t always tell when a park is very clean, but you can tell when one is not.”
For Pete, investing in an attraction is partially about the hardware you buy. It’s also about the effort you put into the presentation of the park, the food, the atmosphere, and the team. He doesn’t say it in so many words, but he seems to take a holistic approach when working with a park or operator to provide them with the very best service and attraction for their needs.
This means that Pete factors in everything, over and above the footprint and budget. He also looks for demographic trends such as the average age of families and whether or not there are more babies being born over a certain period of time. For example, if he sees that there will be a boom in births over the next few years, then a park’s expansion plan should include family or children’s rides.
This podcast wouldn’t be possible without the incredible work of our amazing team:
- Scheduling and correspondence by Kristen Karaliunas
- Branding and design by Fabiana Fonseca
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