Busch Entertainment EVP Joe Couceiro - Takeaways from VA1Add a comment.
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David's takeaways from Joe Couceiro's presentation at VA1 on Sept. 28th, 2009
I attended the VA1 Tourism Conference in Alexandria on September 28th and 29th. We work with several destinations in the state as well as the Blue Ridge Parkway, and I wanted to get some fresh insights into trends for travel. I'm writing a series of short posts with takeaways from the conference.
You can get all the presentations and handouts on the VA-1 Conference website.
Joe Couceiro, Executive Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer of Busch Entertainment Corporation, spoke on "Tourism Marketing for the New Norm." He talked about how Busch Entertainment has tied their various theme parks together under the vision to celebrate, connect and care for the world we share through entertainment. They do a great job creating stories that engage visitors and make the exotic available to children of all ages.
Shortly after the conference, parent company Anheuser-Busch InBev announced the sale of Busch Entertainment's chain of 10 amusement parks to Blackstone. Alluding to the impending sale, Mr. Couceiro said he was very excited about the upcoming plans and it would mean good things for the parks.
A few other points from his presentation:
- During the recession Busch Entertainment has held up fairly well due in part to the fact that they have parks in both regional and major tourist destinations, so they don't just rely on destinations like Orlando to which people often fly.
- Fear has become a driver in vacation planning in addition to value (fear of whether I'm still going to have a job or not).
- One and all are looking for a deal.
- Secure residents with perceived value - Busch Entertainment's "Pay once, come back all year" plan has been hugely successful for getting local residents to come to the parks, and has served as training wheels for a season pass.
- Bundling works - focus on value, flexibility and convenience.
- Drive demand with fresh offerings - consumer events like Busch Gardens' Howl-O-Scream and ChristmasTown.
- Many doors have closed - go find the open windows!
- Frail or sluggish competitors are vulnerable - go after them!
- Respond promptly - see the ball, hit the ball.
- Shift resources to address immediate opportunities, but don't compromise your long-term brand image and goals.
- Take advantage of guilt as a motivation - "I owe it to my family, to myself."
- Emphasize distinctiveness - "I can't get this near home."
- Don't just sell, build demand.
- If you're not having fun, and people can see your employees are not having fun - guess what? Your guests aren't having fun either.
- Every person we hire has an influence on the lifelong memories of our guests.
Read more about the sale of Busch Entertainment Corporation to Blackstone Group: