Nancy DiGiammarco

Jun 4, 2013, 13:33 PM

DiGiammarco, the former executive director of a regional convention and visitors bureau, wanted to raise the profile of the park and help it earn a reputation as a destination for visitors from across the Northwest—and she succeeded. Attendance at Silverwood Theme Park jumped from 200,000 a decade ago to more than 660,000 this season. “The park has become the most-attended attraction in the entire state,” she says.

The addition of popular costumed characters Garfield and Odie along with the construction of a new roller coaster helped DiGiammarco jump start efforts to attract new visitors to the park. Following the 2003 opening of Boulder Beach water park, Silverwood Theme Park expected a 15 percent increase in attendance but experienced a jump more than three times that projection thanks to targeted media campaigns.

With the help of her team, DiGiammarco also made expanded media buys throughout the Northwest and formed partnerships with Costco and Subway restaurants to launch promotions in four states, drawing tourists from across the region. “All of these things have given us the opportunity to say, ‘We are not a small park,’” she explains. “These are efforts that have helped make us a destination.”

DiGiammarco also oversees the departments that handle media buys on television and radio, updating social media accounts, writing news releases, leading press trips, and working with the media and group sales. Juggling the varied departments and responsibilities requires a hectic pace but DiGiammarco can’t imagine working anywhere else. “It’s a challenge, but every day is also a new adventure,” she says. “There are so many opportunities to be creative—and there is no time to be bored!”

DiGiammarco also credits her three years of participation on the IAAPA marketing committee, from 2008 to 2010, for helping her expand marketing efforts and develop creative new promotions to draw crowds to Silverwood Theme Park. “It was an opportunity to meet and work with people from all over the world, to share ideas, and help come up with creative ways to market parks of all sizes,” she says. “I came away learning so much.

“In a lot of industries, programs and promotions are kept secret,” she adds. “But this is an industry that shares, where [parks] want to help each other succeed.”

Prior to launching Scarywood Haunted Nights at the park, DiGiammarco and her team visited Knott’s Berry Farm to learn more about creating a successful Halloween experience. During the trip, DiGiammarco benefited from a behind the scenes tour and information that, “helped us take it from an idea to one of our most popular annual attractions,” she says.

The camaraderie among IAAPA members and the opportunity to bring smiles to the faces of theme park guests have kept DiGiammarco excited about her job for the past 14 years. “We are selling memories and happiness; what better thing is there than that?” she asks.