IAAPA News - Events - January 2018


IAAPA Institute for Attractions Leaders 2017 attendees gathered in Dubai for four days of interactive sessions, networking, and a visit to Motiongate Dubai.

IAAPA Institute for Attractions Leaders 2017 Builds Networks and Spotlights the Guest Experience 

by Juanita Chavarro Arias

Many qualities define a successful leader, but leadership skills often require growth and improvement to continue motivating teams and creating memorable guest experiences. To help attractions facility leaders excel in their roles—managing departments, leading other leaders, and setting business goals—IAAPA Institute for Attractions Leaders 2017 offered an intensive four-day course in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The event, held in late October, provided the opportunity for attendees to hone their leadership skills and learn beneficial business strategies through integrated instruction, daily keynote speakers, interactive coursework, and a visit to one of Dubai’s newest attractions. At the same time, participants connected with colleagues, building strong networks within the attractions, entertainment, leisure, and tourism industries.

Each day focused on a different topic, including why leadership is so important, what defines an experience, how personal leadership contributes to experiences, and how to use leadership practices in the future. Leadership coach Mike Hohnen highlighted recognized leadership models and principles, original concepts, and new viewpoints. In addition to keynote presentations, small group work, and practical exercises, attendees had individual time for reflection. 

The first day of the course covered the Service Profit Chain, building a dream team, and understanding the difference between leadership and management. Michael Collins, senior partner at Leisure Development Partners, presented the key drivers of the industry. The following day sought to answer two questions: What is an experience, and who is responsible for it? To establish the foundation for creating the best guest experiences, participants were introduced to Service Design Thinking, and they visited Motiongate Dubai and attended a presentation by Ahmad Hussain, general manager of theme parks at DXB Entertainments. On the third day, attendees explored personal leadership and related topics, like self-management, relationships, communication, and individual challenges. And after gaining new perspectives, participants spent the final day looking to the future by discovering the Team Leaders’ Toolbox, team psychology, and the ABCs of Leadership, while also identifying the kind of leaders they would like to be.

Participants left IAAPA Institute for Attractions Leaders 2017 with the knowledge and skills to apply leadership principles and tools in their everyday roles, create exceptional customer experiences, and reflect on the rewarding aspects of being excellent leaders who strive to be better and better for their teams, guests, and facilities.

IAAPA Operators Forum 2017 Explores Security

On Oct. 2, 2017, seasonal, supervisory, and middle-management employees from attractions around the United States gathered at Six Flags America in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, for IAAPA Operators Forum: Creating a Security-Based Culture. The one-day program offered attendees the opportunity to learn from expert-led seminars and hands-on experiences centered on security topics, including identifying security risks and the impact of social media. During the event, industry leaders and professional security experts presented perspectives about handling challenging security environments and best practices for keeping guests, team members, and facilities safe. Attendees networked with fellow operators, discussed trends in guest behavior, and participated in an engaging active shooter response exercise. Participants returned to their attractions with new knowledge of a range of security subjects and access to a collection of free training and planning resources.

 ​1. Dr. Lisa Dolev, founder and CEO of Qylur Intelligent Systems Inc.  2-3. Participants learned about identifying security risks, best practices, and more.  4-5. Attendees interacted with guest speakers and shared ideas and insights from fellow operators.