IAAPA Is Accepting Hall of Fame Nominations
Have you ever considered nominating someone for the IAAPA Hall of Fame Award? Now is your chance! Nominations are due Aug. 1, 2013
The IAAPA Hall of Fame was established in 1990 to celebrate outstanding achievement and contributions to the growth and development of the global amusement parks and attractions industry; an industry that, like few others, depends on the imaginations, talents and vision of its dream builders.
Since that time, dozens of industry pioneers have been honored. The IAAPA Hall of Fame inductees are not chosen by virtue of their personal success alone but rather for significant contributions to the entire industry. Nominees may be living or deceased. The IAAPA Hall of Fame and Archives Committee, led by Ron Gustafson of Quassy Amusement Park, will select the 2013 inductee(s) and the award(s) will be presented at IAAPA Attractions 2013 in Orlando, on Nov. 19.
Please review the selection criteria and submit an online nomination form by Aug. 1, 2013, to nominate someone for the IAAPA Hall of Fame. If you have questions about Hall of Fame nominations, please contact Jan McCool (jmccool@IAAPA.org) or David Mandt (dmandt@IAAPA.org) at IAAPA at +1 703/836-4800.
CORE Cashless Announces a New Partnership
CORE Cashless is proud to announce a new partnership with Firestone Financial that will give CORE customers two different financing options., including an option for 0 percent APR for 12 months. This will give customers a flexible way to pay for their cashless system and will allow CORE to reach previously unattainable levels of business and efficiency. Both financing options are now available through CORE Cashless.
Gold Medal Offers “Build Your Own Production System”
Redefine the future and design your own financial freedom. That’s the power of the new Build Your Own Production System. Operators asked for more control over their popcorn and gourmet corn production, so Gold Medal created the completely customizable, one-stop shop for popping up profits.
This revolutionary setup is extremely versatile. The equipment is independent of each other, interchangeable and can be retrofitted in the field. Owners can add as many machines as they need, run only the items they want, and control their investments.
- 48, 60, or 79-inch tables;
- 36 to 60-ounce poppers;
- Domestic/export options for all equipment;
- Right/left-hand kettle dump options for poppers and Corn Treat Mixers;
- Salt/Sweet Switch (lowers the kettle temperature by about 40° to keep
the sugar from burning);
- Bag-in-Box or bucket oil systems;
- 5 or 10-gallon Corn Treat Mixers and digital displays;
- Filter and Karmel Kool systems;
- Plus, a pull-out corn storage bin is a standard features and holds 50 pounds.
The options are endless! For more information on this system or any other product, contact Gold Medal Products Co. at 800-543-0862 and firstname.lastname@example.org, or check out the website at www.gmpopcorn.com.
Special Tourist Attractions & Parks (TAP) Newsletter Feature
Top Hiring and Training Tips For Leisure Entertainment Facilities
It’s no secret that the quality of attractions and foodservice play a significant role in determining whether or not guests return to any leisure entertainment facility. However, the caliber of employees also comes into play here, which is why savvy hiring and training are a must for venues of all types.
In addition to the standard interview questions, such as those pertaining to candidates’ experience, owners and operators would do well to pose other queries to give them a better feel for whether a prospective hire is the right fit for the job and if the individual really wants to work at a given facility, or just wants a position anywhere. For instance, during interviews at Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park in Gilroy, Calif., candidates are asked why they want a position with the venue in particular, the name of their favorite amusement park character, how they would handle an angry customer, how they play with children and how they would make a child laugh. Other questions include why the person thinks guests frequent the park, what type of environment should be promoted there and what suggestions candidates may have for ensuring a safe, yet fun working environment.
Special considerations apply to hiring seasonal workers, whose temporary employment status may make them less interested in and dedicated to their jobs as their permanent counterparts. Seasonal workers also tend to be younger and less experienced, and, as such, may not be as serious about fulfilling their responsibilities as they otherwise might be. To increase the odds of success in finding seasonal staff members who will give their “all” to a leisure entertainment facility despite their relatively short tenure there, owners and operators should consider seeking out candidates who clearly have an interest in the nature of their work. For example, at the Administrative Assistant and Guest Services Manager ElizaBeth McKay (who is involved in the hiring process) and Director Kathy Diekman narrow the field of potential hires not only to individuals who enjoy interacting with the public, but who clearly are animal-lovers (for instance, they have done volunteer work with animals or are big animal show fans). Seasonal “help wanted” notices posted at high schools and colleges throughout the area include verbiage that promotes the positions as educational opportunities to learn about animals, wildlife conservation and zoos as a whole.
For many facilities, hiring temporary workers who can remain on hand after the high season and/or once most students have returned to high school or college can be a challenge. One way to handle this is to offer at least some seasonal positions to students from abroad. Funland, in Rehoboth Beach, Del., employs about 100 to 110 people, with about 30 foreign students brought in to increase the staff ranks during the high season when American workers are largely unavailable, said Christopher Darr, personnel manager.
The Center for Cultural Interchange (CCI) facilitates relationships between United States businesses and international university students through its J-1 Summer Work and Travel Program and Career Advancement Program. CCI works with vetted partners in various countries to recruit and screen these students, matches them with potential employers based on their ability to suit individual facilities’ needs and offers hiring options based on employer requirements, such as whether the latter will travel overseas to handle screening or if it prefers to/can only meet candidates via Skype All CCI program participants are currently enrolled and in good standing at a university in their home country, have been tested for various levels of English proficiency and have passed muster in interviews with the U.S. Embassy in their own country.
As for training, formal orientation should include, in addition to meetings and classroom-style sessions, several days of “shadowing” an experienced staff member. At Oasis Bowl & Family Fun Center in Fallon, Nev., new employees work alongside more seasoned personnel for several days before they are allowed to do their jobs solo or to interact with guests.
Follow-up training is also critical, especially—but not only—for younger, less experienced employees. At The Track Family Recreation Center facilities, in Destin, Fla.; Pigeon Forge, Tenn., and Gulf Shores, Ala., management holds a brief staff meeting each morning to discuss basic standards, like customer service, cleanliness, safety and how to handle common problems.
Kathy and Todd Elmer, owners of Casey’s Amusement Park, in Alexandria, Minn., follow much the same procedure, holding frequent gatherings to reinforce concepts learned by employees when they begin their tenure and discussing any difficulties staff members may be having.
Customer service skills, in particular, necessitate ongoing reinforcement. Gregory Smith, president of human resources and workplace management consulting firm Chart Your Course International, counsels his clients to regularly demonstrate and reinforce appropriate customer service principles. One family entertainment center, he said, has developed a list of “customer service commandments,” which run the gamut from eschewing a lack of answers to guests’ questions or telling visitors to ask another equally unknowledgeable colleague in favor of politely offering to find the answers; to staying calm, collective and non-defensive when fielding guests’ complaints. Daily customer service commandment reviews are held at the start of each shift. Another client relies on monthly role-playing sessions to impart customer service principles upon employees.