Before she applied for a job as the director of marketing for Ocean Breeze Waterpark in Virginia Beach, Myra Wood had never heard of the park.
“Branding was a big buzz word back then, and it was needed here,” she recalls.
It wasn’t just the opportunity to help build a brand identity for the oceanfront park that excited Wood. After working for nonprofit organizations like United Way and Red Cross, she was eager to embrace a different kind of marketing campaign. “I looked forward to working someplace where the goal was to bring joy to people,” says Wood. “It’s been a great learning experience—and so much fun—to be marketing entertainment.”
Since accepting the position in 2003, Wood has put her communications degree from East Carolina University to good use. She is responsible for marketing efforts ranging from pricing and planning promotions, including the season pass program, developing advertisements and website content and preparing in-park announcements to conducting visitor surveys and working with the media. Recently, she was on the set when producers from the Travel Channel filmed a segment of “Xtreme Waterparks” at Ocean Breeze.
In 2012, she took over as director of sales, adding new responsibilities such as group sales to her role. “I have not stopped learning in this job,” she says.
One of her proudest accomplishments is a direct result of her membership in IAAPA. During a session at the annual IAAPA Attractions Expo in 2007, one of the panelists mentioned a successful cabana rental program at a water park. Inspired, Wood facilitated the purchase of five cabanas. The program was an instant hit with guests. Ocean Breeze now has 26 cabanas for rent that provide a significant source of revenue for the park. “It’s one example of something I would never have thought of if we hadn’t been at the Attractions Expo,” she says. “We even met the vendor who supplies our cabanas at the Expo!”
Wood served on the IAAPA marketing committee in 2011 and 2012. In addition to giving back to the organization, she welcomed the opportunity to connect with other marketing managers at parks all over the world. Wood credits her participation in the program for helping her develop new marketing strategies and notes that networking with executive staff from international parks gives her a glimpse into the possibilities for high-tech marketing promotions in the future.
In the meantime, she is having a blast creating colorful and entertaining marketing campaigns for the park. “We’re not a family business, but our team operates like a family and that makes coming to work a lot of fun,” she says. “But it’s a lot of work, too. I want to do the best job I can and, at the end of the day, I want to leave knowing that I did all I could to promote the park.”