Cultivating Tomorrow’s Attractions Leaders at IAAPA Expo
Attractions professionals with five years or less of experience participated in the kickoff of the IAAPA Institute for Attractions Professionals (IAP) on Sunday.
A host of professionals from disciplines spanning food and beverage (F&B), technology, human resources, sales, marketing, and more learned how they can improve themselves and their attractions. The Institute of Attractions Professionals serves a goal of bringing together young leaders to learn with and from one another, building momentum as IAAPA Expo begins.
“This event at Expo really kicks off our entire education program, and it has a global audience and a wide variety of attractions,” shares Bethany Graham, IAAPA’s director, global professional development strategy.
The session opened with IAAPA’s instructional designer Adam Heavner reviewing the purpose, vision, and mission of IAAPA and noting the exponential growth of attractions in developing markets such as the Middle East, Vietnam, and South America.
Kim Valadez, the sales & marketing manager for Conroe’s Incredible Pizza Company in Conroe, Texas, then took the stage. She stressed the importance of diverse food offerings and gave tips for developing proper recipes, menus, and other F&B elements.
Valadez also suggested that F&B professionals temporarily open a new ordering station when the existing ones have more than three guests in line. “Speedy transactions ensure more revenues,” she emphasizes.
The Head of Human Resources (HR) at Lagoon Amusement Park in Farmington, Utah, David Gray, shared an engaging video about the first blind man who climbed Mt. Everest and how his climbing team made it happen by working together toward a common goal—encouraging attendees to ensure teamwork remains a core priority. Gray then asked the session attendees to gather in groups and discuss how the teamwork of the Mt. Everest climbing team could translate to their own attractions.
Session attendee Eric Miles of Coral World Ocean Park in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, which is home to dolphins, sea lions, and other marine animals, noted that many of the park’s employees are dedicated to their work in service of a shared mission.
“They work together for something beyond their pay, and that is ensuring the welfare of the animals. They care a lot about the animals,” says Miles.
Other sessions during the IAP program include Facility Operations, Games and Merchandising, Entertainment, and Information Technology, among others. The IAP event also has more engaging offerings to come, with an EDUTour of Fun Spot America and a Lunch and Learn Session with Walt Disney Imagineering on Monday.