AP Podcast - Episode 67: Christine Buhr talks about adult birthday parties, treating your employees as leaders and eating your own dog food

December 11, 2018

Christine Buhr is the Founder and President of Shakers Fun Centre in Calgary, Canada.  In this episode, she shares her philosophies on employee training and mentoring, responsible ways to serve alcohol in your center and when to trust the data or go with your gut.

Before opening Shaker's Fun Centre, Christine Buhr had no experience in the attractions industry, nor was she a consumer of the product.  By identifying a gap in the marketplace in the Calgary region, Christine's drive for entrepreneurship led to opening a go-kart track on 7 acres of land.  13 years later, Shaker's is a full FEC and widely acknowledged as one of the top family attractions in Calgary.

Christine shares her strategy on how treating your employees as leaders gives them a sense of empowerment and accountability that ultimately results in the ideal guest experience.  Additionally, Christine discusses why Shaker's group events expand beyond the traditional demographics of children's birthday parties, and how to carefully walk the line to serve all demographics evenly.

To contact Christine directly: christine@shakerscalgary.com



AP Podcast - Episode 66: AttractionPros LIVE Mailbag Episode 2

December 4, 2018

In this continuation of addressing extra questions from AttractionPros LIVE in Orlando, we dive into three more really outstanding questions:

  • If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be? (Maybe from guests' POV & from industry POV)
  • Developing better leaders - motivating them when they are reluctant?
  • As a supplier to the industry, getting introduced to big theme parks is almost impossible.  Any tips or should the "big parks" host an open house 3-4 times a year?

AP Podcast - Episode 65: AttractionPros LIVE Mailbag Episode 1

November 27, 2018

After our AttractionPros LIVE episode in Orlando, the discussion was so engaging that we had some questions left over that we didn't have time to get to.  So, we decided to answer them here, in our Attraction LIVE Mailbag Episode!

The two questions we tackled in this episode are:

  • What are a few ideas to challenge/motivate my small team of 8 to bring their A-game every day... and not just when the higher-ups are around?
  • Succession planning - How do I rebuild my management team?

AP Podcast Episode 64: AttractionPros LIVE from Orlando, FL!

November 20, 2018

This is our second installment of AttractionPros LIVE, where the audience is our guest!  We gathered on November 14, 2018 with 30 AttractionPros from around the industry for a lively and insightful chat about data, networking follow-up, guest experience, leadership, and more!

By submitting questions anonymously, our guests were able to ask what would help their operations improve while tapping into the collective wisdom in the room.  The diversity of guests made the conversation incredibly robust... we had people from many different type of attractions as well as vendors and consultants.

Special thanks to Patrick Buckley who provided amazing photography services.  To view the album from this event, click here.


AP Podcast - Episode 63: Ian Klein spins a yarn about IP’s, storytelling and expanding the narrative

November 13, 2018

Ian Klein is Founder and Creative Director with Vizir Productions, a Los Angeles based creative consultancy devoted to crafting meaningful, story-driven experiences.  Vizir Productions helps bridge the gap between intellectual property and immersive attraction experiences.

In this episode, Ian Klein talks about his background in narrative development, and how he helps intellectual property holders translate stories into experiences for theme parks and immersive attractions.  Ian tells us how important it is to immerse attraction guests into a story, and how storytellers must "stay authentic to the fiction" in order to maintain continuity of the narrative, while keeping the "4 quadrants" in mind.

When it comes to the most effective ways for attractions to implement intellectual property into their experience, Ian discusses 5 keys to great IP implementation.  This includes giving guests a role to ensure active participation, stimulate all of the senses to be truly immersive, extend the narrative beyond film or television, provide year-round engagement (not just surrounding a film's release), and promote new content as it develops.


AttractionPros LIVE tickets are still available!
Will you be in Orlando on Wednesday, November 14th during the IAAPA expo?  Come join us for an exciting night of networking and discussing some of the most important best practices facing our industry!  This event will be recorded and used for a future podcast episode, so come prepared to share!  A free networking reception will be held immediately following the recording.



AP Podcast Episode 62: Sylvia Matiko talks about non-profits vs for-profits, guest vs visitor and a place called Timbalaya

November 6, 2018

Sylvia Matiko is the co-founder of A Different View, a management consultancy focused on helping improve the visitor experience at museums, cultural centers, aquariums, etc.  She is also the Guardian of the Locket at Timbalaya, a new, innovative play environment for children.

A Different View helps attractions (both commercial and non-profit/cultural attractions) align their mission, vision, and values with delivering the most ideal visitor experience.  Sylvia talks about peeling back the onion to learn more about who your guests are (or visitors, depending on the terminology you use) and if the values of the company are being "behaviorized" by all members of the organization.

In non-profit organizations, there is occasionally a misalignment of "mission and margin," which can be a detriment to the success of the organization.  Sylvia talks about how cultural attractions can better align their revenue with the mission to ensure success.  Additionally, Sylvia is a key member of an exciting new project called "Timbalaya," making its debut in Kuwait in late 2019 or early 2020.

"If you love what you do, the money will follow."


AttractionPros LIVE tickets are still available!
Will you be in Orlando on Wednesday, November 14th during the IAAPA expo?  Come join us for an exciting night of networking and discussing some of the most important best practices facing our industry!  This event will be recorded and used for a future podcast episode, so come prepared to share!  A free networking reception will be held immediately following the recording.



AP Podcast - Episode 61: Frank Price talks about birthday parties, personalities, and why marketing people hate him.

October 30, 2018

Frank Price, President of FL Price and Founder of Birthday University, joins the AttractionPros Podcast to talk about one of the largest revenue sources for the family entertainment industry: birthday parties.  Sometimes more isn't always better, and you can't always be everything to everyone.

Frank talks about the human element of the operation.  Your facility might have the greatest attractions, food, games, and retail, but that's not what will set you apart from your competition.  You can't fill an entertainment with amazing offerings and call it a day.  It all comes down to the people who deliver that experience to your guests.

Training budgets often get cut when there is an emphasis on marketing.  Frank talks about certain times when you can (and even should) reduce your marketing budget so you can focus more attention on developing your employees in the interest of building a strong guest experience culture.  That way, the marketing aspect is driven through positive word of mouth and online reviews.


AttractionPros LIVE will be held on November 14th, 2018 in Orlando!  Free tickets are still available on a first come, first served basis.  Need a ticket?  Click here.


AP Podcast - Episode 60: Katie Bruno of WDD Online talks about digital marketing, common digital marketing mistakes and something called polymer valley

October 23, 2018

Katie Bruno is the Digital Marketing Strategist for WDDOnline, a digital marketing firm the serves the attractions industry. In this conversation, Katie talks about how important it is for us to have fun (even with our online presence), why no two individuals or companies should attempt to copy one another, and some of the biggest digital marketing mistakes she has seen. 


AP Podcast - Episode 59: Brandon Willey of FetchRev talks about gathering and using customer data to increase sales

October 16, 2018

Brandon Willey, CEO of FetchRev joins us for a great conversation about the right ways to gather and use customer data to increase sales and foot traffic to your attraction.  He also talks about how the company values are "baked in" to everything they do!


AP Podcast - Episode 58: Jeff Platt of Sky Zone talks innovation, being a young leader, and the power of play.

October 9, 2018

Jeff Platt is CEO of Sky Zone, and the creator of the trampoline park concept - although its not originally what he set out to do.  When the trampoline court for a new sport concept attracted attention from nearby kids at a skate park, they realized they needed to shift to experience-based recreation.  Today, Sky Zone has more than 200 locations worldwide, and was acquired by CircusTrix in early 2018.

In this episode, Jeff shares:

  • Advice for young leaders
  • His approach to his role and how Sky Zone fosters innovation
  • How his perceptions were changed after being on Undercover Boss
  • His philosophy that the guest experience is secondary to the team member experience