Engage with your guests on a deeper level this July during Park & Rec Month

July is Park and Recreation Month. It’s a time for us to celebrate the outdoors, health and wellness, and a time for us to show our support for local communities and families.

But don’t make the mistake of thinking this month is just for local parks and recreation facilities. In fact, every family entertainment venue can take part in the fun of “Get Your Play On.”

What is your park doing to share in this opportunity? Read on for a few fun tips that will help you turn up the summer heat and add meaning for your guests.

No. 1: Join the #NRPAPlayChallenge

If you’re a parks and recreation facility, be sure to build excitement and community awareness for your facility by encouraging visitors to participate in the #NRPAPlayChallenge. Photo contests will be held each week, with a different PLAY theme for each week’s photos. Why not try to get your facility in on the fun by posting flyers onsite or in your digital signage and training staff to talk about the contest? 

Also, at the local level, host your own contests. Create and share social media posts inviting visitors to post pictures and stories of their family gatherings, day camp, field trips or simply enjoying your site.  Provide direction to use unique parks hashtags and/or post the photos to your Facebook page and tag your organization.  If you’re an indoor facility, play on the month’s theme by “beating the heat” or “coming in out of the rain” to play or find some fitness fun.

If your facility has unique character, such as a well-known mascot or an extreme action offering, consider a way to creatively include it into the contest as a way of promoting your brand and setting yourselves apart. For example, the Hilton Paddington Hotel in London uses the iconic Paddington Bear in fun photo contests. Guests visiting the hotel are encouraged to buy a stuffed Paddington and photograph him out and about enjoying the local sights.

There are lots of opportunities like this that don’t take much time to put together, just a bit of thought of how to best implement them. During contests, be sure you’re coaching staff each morning in shift meetings, or have team members engage in some friendly competition to encourage guest interaction.

No. 2: Let budding vloggers have their moment

Today, many guests are chronicling their daily lives on Snapchat, Facebook Live or in Instagram Stories.  Just like with your photo contests, video content creation is a great way to show your support and get noticed. Do you have an active vlogger on staff or as a frequent guest? Have them film as they enter your park or at a particular attraction discussing what they love about their community and your park.

No. 3: Practice smart email marketing campaigns  

Take the time to correctly set up your event software with areas in terms of attractions, capacity and party rooms. Local retailers are constantly filling potential customers’ inboxes with specials and promotions. Flip the script when you send email marketing campaigns encouraging families to get out and spend time together enjoying the beauty of your park. Use your facility’s core values in email and social posts and talk about the benefits of walking, sunshine or even the stress-busting properties of laughter while you also encourage guests to visit and promote any special promotions or packages.

No. 4: Turn the event into an engagement opportunity

Any special event or holiday offers you an automatic opportunity to engage with your guests in a unique way.  Whether it’s Park and Recreation Month, Laser Tag Day, National Pizza Week or anything else, arm your staff with questions to ask so they can easily start conversations with guests and enhance their park experience. To get these conversations rolling, consider openers such as:

“Hello! Welcome to [facility] and thank you for coming to help us celebrate Park and Recreation Month! What brings you in today?”

Listen to the answers. You’ll learn all kinds of great information, such as their objectives for their visit or attractions they might be interested in and whether they received a marketing email. Ask team members what they learned from guests so you can continue to tailor your marketing to meet their needs.

“I hope you brought your cameras!  Did you know we’re running a photo contest here at the park AND we’re participating nationally? All you have to do to enter is snap your photo and post to your favorite social media site using [this hashtag] to enter our contest and #getyourplayon for the national contest on Twitter and Instagram. We’ll have fun prizes throughout the month, so be sure to follow us on social media for more info!

Team members should have a basic understanding of the contest to be able to give the heads-up and direct guests to your social media or website for more information. You could also hand out business cards with contest details.

Even if you don’t want to participate in contests, use opportunities like this as they arise so that you can further interact with your visitors and continue deepening your relationships with them. 

Have plans for Park and Recreation Month or an upcoming celebration? Share them with us in the comments or on Twitter!

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