Spirit of Excellence Awards Presented at IAAPA Attractions Expo 2009

IAAPA News
November 17, 2009

Spirit of Excellence Awards Presented at IAAPA Attractions Expo 2009
Top Attractions Industry Guest Services, Human Resources,
Employee, and Safety Programs Recognized

Las Vegas, Nevada (United States) – Six Spirit of Excellence awards were presented by the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) at IAAPA Attractions Expo 2009 today to recognize IAAPA member-facilities dedicated to excellence in training and professional development and to showcase attractions with leading human resource programs.

Recipients included Busch Gardens Tampa BayHersheyparkMerlin Entertainments Group,Conner Prairie Interactive History Park, and the St. Louis Zoo in the following categories: Best Employee Recognition Program, Best Recruitment Program, Best Orientation Program, Best Supervisor Training, Best Guest Services Training Program, and Best Safety Awareness Program.

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay in Tampa, Florida, United States, won the Best Employee Recognition Program category. Its “World Class Summer” program, designed to create a simple yet impactful reward system, incorporated the Guest Satisfaction Challenge, which measured service areas of employee courtesy, park cleanliness, park arrival process, attraction line speed, culinary satisfaction, and merchandise satisfaction. Progress was tracked, published, and rewarded each week, and team members could easily follow results on giant score boards, turning the experience into a friendly competition. Rewards came in the form of free lunches, popsicles, and sodas. As a result of the challenge, team members were consistently engaged in work, maintained a higher level of involvement and sense of ownership in the park, and sustained positive attitudes and high energy performance during the summer season. www.buschgardens.com/bgt2

Hersheypark, in Hershey, Pennsylvania, United States, won the award for Best Recruitment Program with its recently transformed hiring process. The park’s “TEAM Screen” evaluation assesses applicants based on transportation and availability, expression, appearance, and model communication behaviors. In-park interview session events then create an exciting hiring atmosphere and set a high expectation for guest service. In the past year, 14 interview session events yielded 3,744 scheduled interviews, and newly implemented on-site physicals have made it possible for employees to begin working sooner. Employee service survey scores also increased with the new process. The park employs 350 full-time and 4,056 part-time employees. www.hersheypark.com

Hersheypark in Hershey, Pennsylvania, United States, also won the award for the Best Orientation Program. The park sends a “Welcome to the Sweetest Team on Earth” message to its newly hired employees and its “Onboarding Team,” creates an interactive experience for new hires with tools like GameShow Pro computer quizzing software. The orientation program emphasizes the park’s culture of mutual respect and illustrates how to present a service promise to guests and coworkers. One hundred and fifty orientation sessions are held at Hersheypark throughout the year, with 20 full-time managers in attendance to train employees and encourage program graduates. www.hersheypark.com

Merlin Entertainments Group in Poole, Dorset, United Kingdom, won the award for Best Supervisor Training Program, nominated by their Madame Tussauds location in New York City. Founded in 2006, its “Graduate Program” lasts two years and is designed to increase retention while teaching future senior leaders skills and strategies for communication, teamwork, and time and change management. Participants—or “graduates”—in the program are hosted at different Merlin facilities and placed in several roles during the program to learn and train with operations, processes, and histories of each department. Throughout the program, graduates are evaluated by line managers, group training managers, human resources professionals, and graduate managers. Fourteen staff members were hired on from the program in 2006 and 2007, and twelve in 2008. www.merlinentertainments.biz

Conner Prairie Interactive History Park in Fishers, Indiana, United States, won the award forBest Guest Services Training Program. With its “Opening Doors to Great Guest Experiences” program, the park equips staff to facilitate memorable learning experiences for guests. Around 20 new staffers attend each five-day training course to analyze guest-staff interaction via video, study feedback surveys, and participate in discussions facilitated by Conner Prairie’s Experience Managers. Topics include the first interaction between employee and guest, creating engaging experiences, and best practices in family learning at museums and attractions. www.connerprairie.org

The St. Louis Zoo in St. Louis, Missouri, United States, won the Best Safety Awareness Program award. In 2006 the free-admission facility developed a safety department with the goals of reducing incidents and strengthening confidence in zoo operations. The new programs and services involve drug testing, hands-on fire extinguisher training, vehicle safety training, development of contractor safety handbooks, a First Aid facility, and the creation of a Command Center. The new program has reduced worker compensation premiums at the zoo by 54 percent and loss-time accidents by 900 percent, decreasing from 18 in 2005, to only two in 2008. www.stlzoo.org

About IAAPA Attractions Expo 2009
IAAPA Attractions Expo 2009 is the largest conference and trade show for the amusement park and attractions industry in the world. With its theme “Bright Lights, Big Show: The Main Attraction,” the show takes place for the first time in Las Vegas, and draws industry professionals from more than 85 countries to the Las Vegas Convention Center from Monday, Nov. 16, through Friday, Nov. 20. The trade show floor is open Tuesday, Nov. 17, through Friday, Nov. 20. IAAPA Attractions Expo 2009 offers a solid week of business and fun. The event also includes educational sessions, behind-the-scenes tours, marquee social events, and networking opportunities. This is the marketplace where amusement and attraction industry leaders, decision makers, and visionaries gather to network, view the latest innovations, and plan for the future. For more information, visitwww.IAAPA.org/expos/attractions.

About IAAPA
IAAPA is the premier trade association for the attractions industry worldwide. Founded more than 90 years ago, IAAPA is the largest international trade association for permanently situated amusement facilities and attractions, and is dedicated to the preservation and prosperity of the attractions industry. IAAPA represents more than 4,000 member facilities from 90 countries throughout the world.

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Logos and images from IAAPA Attractions Expo 2009 can be downloaded from the onlineIAAPA Attractions Expo 2009 press kit.

Contact Information
Press Office: +1 703/299-5127
Marion Hixon: mhixon@IAAPA.org
David Mandt: dmandt@IAAPA.org
Colleen Mangone: cmangone@IAAPA.org
Nicholas Wolaver: nicholas.wolaver@edelman.com
Rachel Rosenberg: rachel.rosenberg@edelman.com