Friday, January 23, 2009

Introducing … IAAPA – Zoos & Aquariums

My job is to market IAAPA, so I want you to know exactly what you’re getting when you join or renew your membership—and why it’s even more essential to stay connected to the industry through us as we all head into what will be a challenging economic year. A lot of our benefits are intangible or immeasurable, but even if you just use ONE of them, your membership will undoubtedly pay for itself. Each week, I will update the blog with a post about what IAAPA can do for a specific attractions community; some of the benefits will be the same across the board, some will be specific, but all of them will be things you can use or learn from to improve your business.

This week, my topic is: zoos, aquariums, and IAAPA.

Every day, IAAPA sends out “News Flash” to members. News Flash is an e-mail service that provides you with all the headlines from the global attractions industry. The News Flash from Monday had several headlines and links to stories about zoos and aquariums are struggling in this current economy.

Here are some of the stories picked up and published in News Flash:

United States Zoos and Aquariums Face Funding Crisis

Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo to Cut Budget by $1 Million

Texas' Fort Worth Zoo Continues Funding Negotiations with City

As the IAAPA liaison to IAAPA’s Zoo and Aquarium Committee, these stories stood out to me. Not only is it important for me to know what’s affecting our members, but it is also important that I react to these issues and provide our members with the support they need. Therefore, it seemed especially appropriate that I focus my second membership blog on how IAAPA can benefit zoos and aquariums.

I know that much like everyone else, zoos and aquariums will be watching every dollar they spend this year and dues to “the amusement park association” may appear to be an easy way to save some money. But I think the fact that memberships for zoos and aquariums grew by 18 percent in 2008 indicates zoos and aquariums are looking to IAAPA to provide cutting-edge ideas to increase revenue.

So, enough introduction, let’s take a look at why IAAPA membership makes sense for zoos and aquariums to join or renew their memberships.

How are you going to train your staff this year? Do you have all the education resources you need? IAAPA has a whole bookstore full of training tools offered at affordable prices for members. Take a look at the First Steps or the Skill Builder series for economical and customizable training ideas that can really come in handy as you start building your staff.

And if you're looking for something FREE, we also offer more than 90 free education sessions at IAAPA Attractions Expo. This year we will also continue to host Zoo and Aquarium Day, which usually has a small fee associated with it (to cover lunch, transportation, etc.). If you have ideas for what you would like us to cover during these sessions let us know (just shoot me an e-mail; we are just starting to work on the sessions for 2009.

In the meantime, however, members can login to the Member Center and get access to past session handouts and other information. These sessions are your connection to earned-revenue ideas and will be a lifeline to you in coming up with new ways to meet your monetary goals.

News Flash
As I mentioned earlier this post, News Flash is a daily e-mail service that provides you with all the headlines from the global attractions industry. You can follow the trends as you learn about openings, closures, successes, struggles, and other situations. News Flash is an incredibly powerful tool, but you have to read it, AND use it. If you’re currently a member and don’t receive News Flash, sign up: If you’re not a member and want to know more, e-mail or call me at or +1 703/836-4800.

Did you know that if you had an issue at your facility and needed help with the press, IAAPA’s staff provides you with FREE crisis communications support? That alone is worth the price of admission (or membership!). Just call the IAAPA offices and we will put you in touch with all the right people.

And, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention FUNWORLD. Our monthly magazine is FILLED with articles, ideas, and stories about people just like you working in the attractions industry. I pulled several articles from current and recent issues that are of particular interest to zoos and aquariums and posted them on your community page.

Am I missing anything? What else do you need from IAAPA? Let me know what you think and if there is anything else that IAAPA can do to help support you. My e-mail is and I look forward to hearing from you.

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