By Keith Thomas
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She then put forward a variety of possible answers but perhaps most surprisingly (or perhaps not), the responses have not focussed as she had expected on adding more exciting attractions, or developing more regional parks or even larger parks but rather on treasuring the sometimes unsung heroes of our businesses: the staff and the experience that they deliver.
As the most successful operators have known, right back to the first days of Disneyland and Walt’s elevation of his staff to the status of ‘cast members’, the answer in challenging times is not always to invest in large and capital intensive projects but to concentrate on delivering consistent, high quality experiences, combined with great customer service. That’s a way to generate strong word of mouth recommendation in the market place.
We all know from our own experiences how engagement with a committed, knowledgeable and enthusiastic member of staff can transform an ordinary day out at an attraction into something truly memorable but it’s often easy to forget in the enthusiasm to plan and develop new attractions and exhibitions. Client, consultant, designer and contractor will emerge from months of scribbling, number crunching and brainstorming with the ultimate new feature for their attraction or museum. How often do they fail to take into account the human software which can make or break it?
To me then, the key to success is both the simplest and hardest task of all: identifying, recruiting, training and managing the team that will, every day, run the show, the exhibition or the ride, interact with the guests and make sure the damn thing doesn’t break down!
That’s a far bigger challenge for any operator of course than ‘merely’ building a new ride!
Image: Kind Courtesy Disney – WONDERFULLY WITCHY: Minnie casts her spell of happiness on guests of all ages during Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.(Photographer Gene Duncan)