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Winners’ Circle - June 2016

Marketing Success: Just a Click Away

Wuhu Fantawild Resort’s winning campaign leveraged social media tools that are particularly popular in Asia-Pacific

Our story starts with two star-crossed lovers, divided for 2,000 years by the Milky Way. It ends with a digital marketing campaign that drew more than 68,000 visitors to an attraction in one day. Last year, Wuhu Fantawild Resort in Wuhu, Anhui, China, won the IAAPA Brass Ring Award for Marketing Excellence in the category of Digital Marketing Campaign. The winning campaign promoted Qi Xi, Chinese Valentine’s Day. The holiday is tied to the story of a cowherd and weaving maid, banished to opposite ends of the universe for their forbidden love. Legend has it, a bridge forms across the Milky Way on the seventh day of the seventh month to reunite the lovers—this is the day the Chinese celebrate Qi Xi and reflect on the love in their lives.

Wuhu Fantawild Resort has held themed activities for this holiday for the past three years at its theme park and water park. The company launched a marketing campaign that focused on both couples and singles, and incorporated live promotions and social media. Chen Zu Yao, general manager of Wuhu Fantawild, sheds light on finding digital marketing success in this region:

How did you decide what activities to include at Wuhu Fatawild Resort’s parks on this day?
To create a “festival atmosphere,” we organized different activities for different groups. For couples, we promoted couple tickets and activities targeted toward them. For single people, we started a topic discussion—“Seeking Your Significant Other Half at Fantawild on Qi Xi”—on [Sina Weibo], to help single people find love before the festival and encourage them to visit Fantawild parks on one of their dates. To expand our market and attract more visitors, we included single people in our target group, and launched a number of activities for them.

What is Sina Weibo?
Sina Weibo, also called the Chinese Twitter, is a micro-blogging service offered by Sina Corporation. It enables users to upload text along with pictures, videos, and links via a website, WAP, mobile phone, SMS, and MMS. Sina Weibo can be interpreted as a microblog or a one-sentence blog. Users can write down what they see, hear, and think into a sentence of less than 140 characters, or post a picture to share with their friends via personal computer and mobile phone. Other users can repost, comment on, and like their posts. In addition, users can follow other micro-bloggers they are interested in and check out the latest posts uploaded by them.

Why did you partner with celebrities on Sina Weibo?
We have partnered with many influential celebrities and famous local bloggers on Sina Weibo. We choose cooperative partners based on our target visitors. Social media plays a significant role in increasing brand awareness and in promoting activities and events. By cooperating with these well-known celebrities and bloggers, we can expand the influence of events in a short time and achieve satisfactory publicity effects. We have been maintaining a good relationship with these celebrities and local bloggers, endeavoring to offer an overall better activity experience. With regard to the future, we aim to further deepen our partnerships on the basis of mutual benefit and a win-win result.

You also used WeChat, a messaging and social media app, to promote the events and offer the chance for users to win free admission. How do you define success on WeChat?
The number of users who receive, read, forward and mark a post, and participate in discussions on WeChat, along with the coverage of information spreading, visually shows whether a marketing event has been successful. Let’s take a special event planned for the Chinese Valentine’s Day as an example. The post entitled “Enjoy a Free Trip to Fantawild with Your Significant Other Half” was read by 18,004 users and forwarded and marked by 13,221 users. Meanwhile, this popular event gained us another 1,000 fans for our own official account. All of this data tells us that this marketing campaign was successful.

The campaign also included video uploads and online ads in addition to social media. Which aspect of promotion do you think was most successful and why?
A marketing event usually includes planning, preliminary advertisement, holding events, advertisement, and post marketing, and they are all linked. Failure in one particular link may also cause the other links to fail. We had 2.1 million hits on our promotion page of the “Seeking Your Significant Other Half at Fantawild on Qi Xi” event on Sina Weibo. A total of 2,645 people forwarded the page, 1,093 people commented on it, and 3,025 people liked the page. We have thus garnered a lot of attention in the local area, and the microblog became a “hot topic” on Sina Weibo. Next, we continued to promote our event via multimedia, and allowed our participants to learn about the event from our replies on Sina Weibo. We have held the event three times since 2013, and it has effectively helped our market recognition. We put in a lot of effort to hold the event, from park decoration to ticket coupons. Visitors had a happy and romantic night at the Fantawild parks. There were 68,000 visitors at the Fantawild parks in Wuhu on Qi Xi. Also, more than 30,000 visitors came to Fantawild Dreamland at night on that particular day. 

Why did you decide to enter the IAAPA Brass Ring Awards last year?
The show “Ashley” at Fantawild Dreamland won an IAAPA Brass Ring Award in the category of Live Entertainment Excellence in 2014. We all felt extremely honored by this. The IAAPA Brass Ring Award is one of the most influential and authoritative awards in the field of amusement park attractions. So in 2015, Wuhu Fantawild Resort began preparing in every aspect to compete for the award. We wanted to use this opportunity to have more communication with and knowledge of our competitors, to let more people know about Fantawild parks, and to gain acknowledgement from the international market.

Winners’ Circle spotlights innovations from IAAPA Brass Ring Award winners and the key characteristics that led to their recognition. The awards are given out annually at IAAPA Attractions Expo.

REMEMBER: The deadline to submit to the 2016 IAAPA Brass Ring Awards is Aug. 1, 2016. For more information, visit www.IAAPA.org/Awards.