News Flashes from Tourist Attractions & Parks Magazine

Gold Medal Voted the Best Place to Work

Gold Medal Products Co. was recently recognized by an independent panel representing various businesses as a Best Place to Work in Cincinnati. This is the second year in a row Gold Medal has received a Manny Award from a business publication, last year was for New Product Development/Innovation.

“Gold Medal is a family owned and operated company, and we love sharing the excitement of our fun foods. Since we opened our doors in 1931, our employees, dealers and customers have been like an extended family,” said John Evans Jr., Senior Vice President of Gold Medal. “We are proud to have won Best Place to Work. But we’re even more proud of our employees and thank them for helping us to accomplish amazing milestones in the past 80 years.”

In addition to an extraordinary benefits plan and tuition reimbursement, Gold Medal helps its employees plan for the future with a generous 401(K) matching program. It’s also a family oriented company that believes in giving back to its community. Gold Medal supports local charities, religious organizations and schools. Plus, the company aids nationwide groups like Make-A-Wish and Special Olympics. Throughout the year, it also adopts local families, and the employees give generously with open hearts.

HMS Monaco Has the Patriotic Crane Plush Pack

New from HMS Monaco is the Patriotic Crane Plush Pack, which is available for jumbo claw cranes. Free freight is available. Delivery is June 1-10.

Digital Out-of-Home Interactive Entertainment Conference 2012 Is Rescheduled

The organizers of the DNA US Conference 2012 have announce that the May event has been rescheduled for the 2nd and 3rd of October 2012. The organizers are sorry for any inconvenience, but confirm that this event will still be held at the Davidson Center in Los Angeles, and that the extensive conference schedule will be unchanged for the new October date.
Speaking on the rescheduling, event organizer Kevin Williams said, “I want to personally extend my apologies for the short notice and inconvenience for changing the date to October 2 and 3, 2012. I understand the confusion about the new dates, but we have been the victim of our own success and have had to bend to growing supporter demands.”

Special Newsletter Feature Story

Learning from The Best to Be The Best

Admission and Cash Handling Trends at Leisure Entertainment Facilities

At one time, leisure entertainment facilities of all kinds offered visitors a single option when it came to admission, handing over cash, or, if they were lucky, a credit card, right at the door. Paying set fees was also the norm, and cash handling was often a headache. However, this is hardly the case these days as owners and operators expand their menu of payment choices and cash management tools.

One increasingly prevalent trend in admissions that has emerged over the past few years is that of online ticket sales, wherein guests can purchase their tickets at home on a venue’s website, print them out and simply hand them over at the entrance rather than waiting in a queue to get the job done. This not only saves visitors time and enhances the guest experience by shortening or eliminating admission delays; it also yields a bit of labor savings, albeit, not a quantifiable one, to facilities themselves, sources said.

“Meanwhile, although passes have long been a popular admissions ‘vehicle’ at amusement parks, zoos, aquariums and museums, family entertainment centers are jumping on this bandwagon as well.”

Many facilities have begun to institute discounts on admission to encourage consumers to pay their admission fees ahead of time, online. Max Pulsinelli, assistant director of communications at the Bronx Zoo in the Bronx, N.Y., said his facility has seen an uptick in online ticket purchasing since the implementation of a 10 percent discount on all “Total Experience” zoo tickets bought on its website. In addition to regular zoo admission, “Total Experience” tickets serve as free passes to the 4-D Theater, Bug Carousel, Butterfly Garden, Congo Gorilla Forest, Children’s Zoo, JungleWorld, Wild Asia Monorail and Zoo Shuttle. For additional flexibility, online tickets are good for six months after the date of purchase.

The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, Pa., also touts online ticket purchasing capabilities, with a variety of general admission and combination options available. The museum has also instituted a separate online ticket-purchasing option for special exhibits; visitors can use a special “date finder” tool to search for and find tickets for their preferred admission date and time. To make the advance purchasing capability even more “guest-friendly,” a spokesperson noted, those prospective visitors who do not have access to a computer or prefer not to enter credit card information online can reserve and pay for admission to general admission and permanent exhibit/attractions by telephone.

Meanwhile, although passes have long been a popular admissions “vehicle” at amusement parks, zoos, aquariums and museums, family entertainment centers are jumping on this bandwagon as well. The Funplex, an indoor and outdoor family entertainment center in East Hanover, N.J., is a case in point, noted Kim Williams, manager. To maximize the appeal of this option, she stated, the facility features a choice of two season passes, one that buys admission to the entire complex, including the new Splashplex waterpark component slated to open at the end of May, and another for Splashplex only.

Similarly, at Polaris’ Magic Mountain Fun Center in Columbus, Ohio, visitors can buy passes good for unlimited games of miniature golf on any day the facility is open to the public. Each pass costs $60 and is good for an entire year. The pass may, along with combination tickets, “All-You-Can-Play-Day” tickets and tokens, be purchased online.

On the cash handling side, many leisure entertainment facilities are freeing up staff and adding flexibility for guests by installing various configurations of machines that augment or partially replace roving change-making employees and stationery change booths, reported Wayne Snihur, executive vice president and general manager, American Changer and Hoffman Mint.  In part based on response to feedback from operators of family entertainment centers and similar venues, American Changer now offers 60 different configurations of bill changers and token dispensers. These models range from acceptance of bills in denominations of $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 bills; to “bill breakers” that dispense bills and coins and token dispensers that accept cash and/or cash and credit cards.

Snihur said savvy owners and operators of leisure entertainment facilities ensure that bill changers are installed in highly visible areas, where managers and other roving personnel can keep a close eye on them. The less vigilant operators are in this regard, he warned, the greater the potential for attempted vandalism and theft of the machines’ content.

Leisure entertainment facilities are also replacing manual counting and sorting of bills and coins with machines that do the job. One operator, who asked not to be named, said such a move has eliminated innocent counting errors made even by conscientious employees who have been trained in cash handling procedures (for instance, how to count cash and requirements for removing it from cash registers and placing it in a locked safe until it is ready for deposit at the bank).

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