Podcast: Waterpark marketers celebrate a “Summer of Awesome” using video and influencers

Award-winning campaign for water park “Hawaiian Falls” succeeds because of relationships, great visuals and FOMO.

Marketing specialist Julie Dion and I dive right in (pun intended), discussing her wildly successful campaign called “Summer of Awesome.” This is a clever campaign, both in the water park and on social media, designed to entice patrons into purchasing season passes for Hawaiian Falls, a popular group of waterparks in Texas. The 2017 campaign successfully provided visibility to some of the water park’s pre-established events and promotions, while simultaneously instilling a fear of missing out (FOMO) by offering various new events and promotions exclusive to season pass holders.

Executing the Marketing Campaign

“Summer of Awesome” made its debut for season pass holders in April, just in time for the water parks opening in May and took three months of careful planning to get it off its feet. Considering it won Hawaiian Falls the 1st place award for the “World Water Park Association Best Social Media,” it sounds like that was time well spent.

This campaign offers a great sense value for the guests at little to no cost for the park itself. Having a such a viral campaign and the exposure, revenue and guest satisfaction that came with it was the real triumph. The water park revenue increased by 13%, merely by “building consumer relations and showing the value of the product versus discounting any of the prices.” Now that is most definitely worthy of a fist pump!

Retaining current seasons pass holders is just as important as gaining new ones and “Summer of Awesome” did exactly that for the park in the absence of new rides or attractions. The campaign became so popular it ended up sparking a viral hashtag across all forms of media in the Texas area, #summerofawesome.

The Role of Influencers

As if the “Summer of Awesome” campaign wasn’t already gaining enough momentum for Hawaiian Falls, Dion Marketing also connected influencers to the campaign as much as possible. Examples include:

  • Inviting local mom bloggers to the party by offering them different writing topics involving the park in exchange for tickets to the park.
  • Adding visibility and influence within the hype of “Summer of Awesome” by having a local meteorologist report the weather from the water park. Not only was this extremely fun and visual, but ended up being a win-win for both sides in terms of exposure.

Tips for Successful Season-long Marketing

  1. Have a campaign calendar in place before you start to execute on it.
  2. Timing is everything, so make sure to bring the campaign to the public’s attention promptly before the park is open.
  3. Visual ads featuring core campaign targets are vital, such as family members, couples, and grandparents with grandkids having fun. These images help sell the idea of building memories with loved ones in and outside of the park.
  4. Remember the social media marketing aspects, such as defining hashtags to help amplify the park’s exposure.
  5. Add “selfie stations” at the attraction. This low-cost feature encourages consumers to participate and promote the campaign on social media, AND makes them feel included as well.
  6. Include influencers that make sense for your destination. They appeal to consumers in a really natural and authentic way that ads can’t, and in return, you offer them a voice in telling the campaign’s narrative in a unique way.

Good marketing and advertising are all about finding the right audience, putting the right information in front of them and watching them come have fun spending money with you!

“Whether in advertising and marketing, or any career it’s important to love what you do, and here at Dion Marketing, I love what I do and we are all sort of marketing and advertising geeks. And so that’s what makes it fun, and I think that’s what resonates with our clients. Because if we are liking what we do and trying really hard, not only will we do a better job, but our clients will like what we do.”

About the Guest: Julie Dion is a successful marketing specialist with nearly 20 years of experience in media buying, marketing, public relations, advertising strategies, and execution. Her company, Dion Marketing, specializes in creating successful marketing plans by combining new media options with traditional advertising, partnerships, and promotions. Through this experience, she has helped promote several family entertainment centers, amusement parks and attractions. Julie and the Dion Marketing team recently won four 1st place marketing awards from World Waterpark Associations.

Want more destination and attraction marketing insights? Find our most recent chats on the Zesty Marketing Podcast.

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