Regional Parks, National Advertising

I'm wondering how often regional parks extend their advertising to national, or maybe even international markets. I'm currently writing a paper on regional parks and marketing is one of the issues that I'm discussing. If anyone has any information (particularly links that will lead me somewhere) that would be great. I've never really heard of regional parks advertising nationally, which is mainly why I'm posting this! Thanks.
There's a reason you haven't heard of it: it's stupid.

Only an enthusiast gets on an airplane to fly to a regional theme park. There aren't too many of those folks around, and they are already motivated to find out about your park. You don't *need* to advertise to them.

Not necessarily. I've seen regional parks advertised in tourist publications. While the average Joe might not fly to a city for a park, there are a percentage that will go to a park while visiting a city for other purposes (trip with the family and such).

I do agree that type of out-of-market advertising tends to be very limited in scope. *** Edited 2/16/2008 6:29:33 PM UTC by Odd Todd***

Putting the 'odd' in Todd since 1976...
Mamoosh's avatar
Can you be more specific about these "tourist publications" your referring to?
I don't know if you'd consider Busch Gardens as regional or not but they did a big national campain last summer.
^Yeah but it was for their park in Tampa and Williamsburg. Add those two swaths together and they are a "local park" for 1/4 geographically of the country. Then you add on the fact that Tampa is the "8th Orlando park" and thus has a national draw and its a no brainer.

*** Edited 2/16/2008 7:16:00 PM UTC by Touchdown***

2022 Trips: WDW, Sea World San Diego & Orlando, CP, KI, BGW, Bay Beach, Canobie Lake, Universal Orlando

I saw an ad for the new water resort in Gurnee, IL, Key Lime Cove in the last Parents magazine.
Cedar Point tried advertising in the Baltimore t.v. market area several years ago. If I remember from the forum topic I posted, several other areas had seen the same advertising.

I can see with Cedar Point that it made some sense. They have plenty of lodging--including the resorts--and it's a well known park among the gp. It's a park that's also hard to get completely done well in one day (especially now with Maverick thrown into the mix).

Many people have cable and have probably seen the park on a Discovery/TLC program or a Travel Channel show if they didn't already know about the park from their upbringing. I work with many people who have been to CP from their midwestern backgrounds i.e. they grew up around there, or the family still lives somewhere in the vicinity.

I would have to say that the park that advertises the heaviest for how far they are away from the Baltimore area is BGE. Now, while from Baltimore it's about a 3-1/2 hour drive back and forth--not unmanageable, but still far enough.

If you go too far North, East, or West of Baltimore you're looking at either shortening your day, or doing overnight accommodations. BGE also ties in heavily with Colonial Williamsburg in advertising since they're so close together. I can guarantee you that a lot of foreign tourists take in C.W. and are probably sucked into BGE and the waterpark as well.

^See thats what I was getting at for BGE "local" can be:
-Most of MD
-Some of SC

BGT "local:"
-Part of AL
-Part of MS

Then you factor in the Orlando factor, and it makes sense for them to advertise nationally. Busch also does this for their Sea World parks, but the entire Southern 1/2 of US is practically a local area for them with the way their three parks are located (and again you have the Orlando Factor.)

2022 Trips: WDW, Sea World San Diego & Orlando, CP, KI, BGW, Bay Beach, Canobie Lake, Universal Orlando

Living in New Orleans I am closer to BGT than most of Mississippi because going through Mississippi and Alabama only takes about 2 1/2 hours on a good day, but the only draw BGT has for me is my grandparents, living so close.

Bolliger/Mabillard for President in '08 NOT Dinn/Summers

Six flags did a national campaign when it was owned by Time-Warner.
^They did one with Mr. Six in 2005 as well.
Sawblade5's avatar
I also remember when Six Flags would buy 30 minute segments of ad time on TV to advertise Six Flags St. Louis here in Kansas City in the late 90s (I think this was before the Premier Buyout). They were trying to draw people away from Kansas City more actively then to come visit their park, even though back then it was kinda of a big deal and the Six Flags name actually meant something then. Since then I hadn't really seen them advertise here in Kansas City other than the discount coupon releases at certain spots.

Chris Knight

Lately I've been seeing Busch Gardens TV ads here in middle Tennessee. We usually get Dollywood, Sea World, SF, Disney, Holiday World, Beech Bend, and Universal ads here.

Edit because I forgot Dollywood!

*** Edited 2/17/2008 10:39:48 PM UTC by thrillerman1***

I survived a Japanese typhoon and the Togo flat ride of death!!!!!!
The Six Flags ads are not what the original question is asking about. They ran a unified campaign, primarily in the media markets that were 'close enough' to one park or another. But, each ad was really intended to drive traffic at "the local park", whichever one that might be.

The original question is about out-of-market ads.

Regional parks don't bother spending marketing dollars on national or international markets since they draw their customer base regionally.

Regional parks do work work with travel and tourism companies to draw from travel groups that can work on a national level. Aside from a coaster enthusiast, someone from Seattle probably wouldn't make a trip just to go to Six Flags Over Georgia. But someone from Seattle who was planning a holiday in Atlanta might want to include a day at Six Flags as part of the trip especially if they have kids.

Not the parks per se, but certainly as one of many attractions in a certain region. For example, Hersheypark piggybacks on its proximity to Amish or PA Dutch country, not to mention the town of Hershey and the Harrisburg Capital Region.

I'm sure the same is true of Dollywood/ Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge and many other places. You can see things like this in AAA magazines. The parks themselves won't advertise, but they'll be mentioned as one more place to visit in a region.

The tourist promotion agencies-- or similar groups who actually do the advertising-- benefit because the more attractions they can talk up, the more tourists and tourist dollars they can attract.

Something else to consider is publicity. Here at Holiday World (and I'd guess at a lot of the other regional parks) our PR efforts are national, while advertising is regional.

Regarding national magazines, you can advertise regionally in them ... so, for example, your ad appears only in the copies that go to the Midwestern states.

Hope this helps, Paula

Paula Werne
Holiday World

Paula I always look forward to the HW billboards in Nashville. Can't wait to see them pop up in a few more months. There's usually one right by my house!

I survived a Japanese typhoon and the Togo flat ride of death!!!!!!
Glad you have a better attitude than Mrs. Zinga:

Man, was she ticked at us! :)


Paula Werne
Holiday World

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