Tom Mehrman (pictured), Ocean Park, Hong Kong: Ocean Park is an experience for everyone. As a result, we use the media channels that are most relevant to the market we are attempting to serve. The media cited above reaches a very niche market, but this can be indispensable for us to promote certain seasonal events, such as our Halloween Bash. As Halloween is a predominantly teen and young adult market, we will go where they get their news and manage their information, which is not through the mass media. I envisage a time in the very near future when we will use the internet and relative channels (interactive website banners, blogs, video streaming, SMS etc) almost exclusively to reach these target markets. However, we will always rely on some above the line mass media to effectively reach out to the wide demographics of our potential audiences, until such a time as the decision makers for all generations are getting their news and information exclusively from below-the-line sources.
Frank O’Connell, Hersheypark, USA: Not entirely. There will always be a certain percentage of the population that we will need to reach with traditional advertising. We continue to see tremendous success with our standard approach, however, we continue to integrate new technologies into our overall mix.
Tony Sze, Chimelong Resort, China: We use some short message services (SMS) with people’s mobile phones, and we have a pretty good internet profile, in fact there are some team members in the marketing department whose full time job is to update our internet. This gives us wide penetration among the young people, and it’s certainly much cheaper than TV, but I don’t think it will ever replace newspapers or television.
Mario O Mamon, Enchanted Kingdom, Philippines: I think the really big parks will still continue to use the traditional channels, but for a budget conscious operation like ours it makes sense to extend our marketing through Web 2.0 and penetrating social networks. A lot of our attendance comes from group sales and this is a good way to recruit them, while at the same time building up a database of individual guest likes and dislikes. The web allows us to be very targeted. The Philippines is also the text capital of the world, so we have experimented with some SMS promotions.
Anthony Catanoso, Steel Pier, USA: It will never replace it. It will add to it and offer some inexpensive exposure. We have not participated in it voluntarily, but I know we are out there in some of them. In the last two years we have concentrated heavily on the traditional online digital market.