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IAAPA Virtual Water Park Forum

Event Type: Education
Venue: Online
Member Price: $29 | Nonmember Price: $79
Credit Hour(s): 4
     
Virtual Water Park Forum
     

11 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. ET

Join the IAAPA Global Water Park Committee for a full-day educational and networking forum, presented entirely online. Industry leaders will share their insights to prepare you and your team for a successful 2021 season. Hear from speakers who will discuss new guest experiences, employee engagement, operational challenges, marketing and sales strategies, and the future of water park technologies. Network, make new connections, and share experiences with fellow operators from the comfort of your home or office. Group rates are available, register now!

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Speakers

Chris Swartz

Chris Swartz

General Manager, Wild Wadi Waterpark

What’s the Future for Technology in Water Parks?

Chris Swartz has over 25 years of experience working in the water park industry and is currently employed as the General Manager for Wild Wadi Waterpark in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Wild Wadi is the first water park in the UAE and is uniquely located on the Arabian Gulf next to the prestigious Burj Al Arab and Jumeirah Beach Hotels. He has presented at numerous local, state, national and international conferences including the World Waterpark Association, the National Recreation and Park Association, Rocky Mountain Revenue School, the Texas Recreation and Park Society and the Dubai Entertainment and Leisure Show. In 2010, “Aquatics International” featured him as one of the “Power 25 Reinventors” in the aquatics industry. Swartz served on the WWA Board of Directors, and held the offices of Secretary, Treasurer, Vice Chair, Chair and Past Chair. He is currently on the Board of Directors for the Middle East and North Africa Leisure & Attractions Council (MENALAC).

Joshua Liebman, ICAE

Joshua Liebman, ICAE

Guest Experience Evangelist, ROLLER Software

The New Guest Experience in Water Parks

Joshua specializes in guest experience, including hospitality standards, complaint resolution, and feedback data. Joshua’s experience in the industry includes attractions operations, guest service communications, retail management, quality assurance, consumer analytics, and guest experience training.
Joshua has worked for some of the top attraction operators in the world, including Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, Merlin Entertainments, and Cedar Fair. Joshua has been integral to the openings of multiple attractions in various leadership capacities, and has consulted for companies like Ritz Carlton, The Coca-Cola Company, and several leading attractions throughout the United States, focusing on improving their business through guest experience.

In early 2021, Joshua was appointed Guest Experience Evangelist by ROLLER Software.

Matt Heller

Matt Heller, ICAE

Founder, Performance Optimist Consulting

Tips for Employee Engagement

Matt Heller has spent 31 years in the attractions industry, spending time in both operations and human resources. In 2011, Matt created his own leadership development consulting company, Performance Optimist Consulting, where he now gets to help leaders from all over the industry make sure they are getting the most out of themselves and their teams.

Will B. Morey

Will B. Morey

Director of Water Park Operations, Morey’s Piers and Beachfront Water Parks

Water Park Operations: Challenges of Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

Will B. Morey is currently the Director of Water Park Operations at Morey’s Piers and Beachfront Water Parks; a family owned business started in 1969 and recognized as a premier regional entertainment destination located along a five-mile barrier island in Wildwood, NJ. Will represents the 3rd generation of Morey’s Piers, along with his brother Kyle and cousins, Zack and Jordan. 

In 2009, Will began working seasonally in the attractions and maintenance department at Morey’s Piers.  In 2010, he transitioned into water park operations where he has continued to learn and grow.  He is also a part of Morey’s Piers recruiting and training teams, responsible for the hiring of domestic and international team members.  Will is the former Chair of the International Association of Amusement Park and Attraction’s (IAAPA) Young Professional Sub-Committee and a former member of the Global Membership Committee.  

Caitlyn Blacker

Caitlyn Blacker

Director of Marketing, American Resort Management

2021 Marketing and Sales Strategies – Beginning Recovery

At American Resort Management (ARM), Caitlyn’s responsibilities include developing, implementing and evaluating the park's marketing strategy, managing the social media presence, and working directly with the public relations team, all with the goal of increasing brand awareness and maximizing revenue in areas such as day pass sales, birthday parties, special event tickets, sponsorship opportunities and other revenue sources. Before beginning with ARM, Caitlyn was a versatile and accomplished digital marketing manager with extensive experience building, executing and maintaining successful marketing campaigns.

Randall Hudson

Randall Hudson

Vice President of Sales, American Resort Management

2021 Marketing and Sales Strategies – Beginning Recovery

Randall Hudson is the Vice President of Sales at American Resort Management (ARM), with responsibilities including sales production for all parks and hotels, oversight of group sales at all locations, implementing national sales plan, business development and analyzing industry trends. Before beginning with ARM, Randall got his start in banking quickly working his way up into Private Asset Banking with 3 of the top banks at the time and became an industry leader. As a Finance major from the University of Texas at Arlington it gives him a unique insight into just about any industry. Randall started his career in Waterparks after the 2008 Great Recession. Randall used a combination of his marketing and sales skills to quickly double group sales numbers with Hawaiian Falls Waterpark in Mansfield. His success allowed him to grow into the role as General Manager, giving him insight into the operations side of a waterpark.

Jim Kunau

Jim Kunau

General Manager, Island H20 Live!

2021 Marketing and Sales Strategies – Beginning Recovery

Jim is a 26-year theme and water park senior manager. Jim began his industry experience at Kentucky Kingdom as Director of Sales. Kentucky Kingdom was purchased by Premier Parks and became the first rebranded park. Jim moved to Houston as Park Director at Splashtown Water Park the 8th largest water park in the US at the time. Jim completed his Six Flags career as Corporate Director of Entertainment and Marketing.

After Six Flags, Jim spent a year in Dubai with Emaar Malls Group and returned to Magic Springs in Hot Springs AR. Jim became General Manager at Hurricane Alley Waterpark in Corpus Christi. He assisted Schlitterbahn Resort in Corpus Christi as Interim General Manager during their foreclosure process. He moved to Kissimmee at the end of 2018 as General Manager of Island H2O Live!

Todd Andrus

Todd Andrus

Director of Marketing & Sales, Island H20 Live!

2021 Marketing and Sales Strategies – Beginning Recovery

Todd has been in the hospitality marketing field for over 23 years. He has recently joined Island H2O Water Park as the Marketing & Sales Director responsible for driving awareness and visitation to the park. In his most recent role, Todd was the Head of Brand Marketing for Merlin Entertainments in North America. There he led the strategic direction and management for Merlin Entertainments’ pillar brands: LEGOLAND Discovery Centers & SEA LIFE Aquariums. Todd was directly responsible for marketing strategy, strategic partnerships and marketing support for each of the 16 attractions in the US & Canada. Todd currently serves on the Global Marketing Committee for Visit Orlando as Past-Chair. He also serves on the IAAPA Marketing committee. Todd holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from Kent State University and resides in Windermere with his wife and two sons.

Agenda

Join experienced park operators as we look into the latest tech trends within the water park industry. From digital documentation through full scale guest experience systems, hear from an expert panel that are implementing technology in real-time within their parks and will speak to the realities of using these systems.

After many changes for the industry in 2020, the guest experience has changed in many ways. Join industry leaders as we discuss new guest experiences with recent safety measures and what the guest experience looks like in 2021 and beyond. This session will include both a speaker and a hybrid of industry leaders from Water Parks in a discussion-style format.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about many challenges and opportunities. One of those opportunities is to re-evaluate what it takes to truly engage our employees. More than ever, employees need a sense of security and purpose as much as they need a paycheck. In this session, we will focus on a critical mindset shift that guides employee engagement efforts, as well as three fundamental needs shared by every human being. 

2020 brought about a whole new set of operational challenges in the water park industry. What is 2021 going to look like?  In this session, we’ll touch on the perennial challenges and risks that we face as operators, including those specific to the COVID-19 pandemic.

2020 taught us to pivot marketing strategy, quickly. In this session, explore marketing and sales strategies that worked in 2020 and what we’ll keep using moving forward in 2021 and beyond.

All times ET

Thank you to our Virtual Water Park Forum Sponsor, Jeff Ellis and Associates, Inc.