Supplier Power

Hi there Parkers! In my new role I am starting to learn a lot about the importance of building strong relationships with suppliers. I literally went from working with around 5 companies to 50 + companies over night. I honestly cannot name all of them by memory yet. Last month, I had to meet with several of them to leverage our combine powers to sell big over our busy holiday season. Our suppliers are invested in the success of our businesses and it is important to include them in your revenue generating strategies. Here are by tips on how to work with suppliers to enhance business results:

1. Product Knowledge

Ensure that your suppliers provide colleagues with training so they know all about the products they are selling. If your staff members cannot tell a guest why Aquafina water is better than tap water, you need to get your suppliers teaching as soon as possible.

2. Collateral

Invite your suppliers to be a part of your park. Create collateral, posters, and signage that inform the guests about the types of products you sell in the park. Remember to theme or co-brand everything.

3. Idea Innovation

Invite your suppliers to meet with you regularly to discuss ways to increase revenue. Like I mentioned earlier, their business depends on the success of your business. Let them come up with ideas as well. They will have other perspectives and insights your team may not have.

All right Parkers, those are my top 3 ways to involve suppliers. I am curious, who is your favorite supplier and why? Let me know in the comments section. Have a great week!

-Neva Heaston



Leading By Example

Hi there Parkers! It’s been a long hard week for me. I have been working outside during a busy holiday season in Dubai. During my sweaty week, I have thought a lot about leading by example and how important it is. I personally prefer to follow bosses who can and will do any of the frontline jobs in the park. Simple things like interacting with guests, picking up trash, setting up queues, dispatching rides, and more send a clear “one team” message to colleagues. Here are some ways I remember to lead by example:

1. Never Forget Where You Came From

I have a picture on my notice board of me as a lifeguard. I have that picture there so I am reminded of where I came from. That picture brings me back to my glory days at Wild Island Family Adventure Park where I picked up trash, rented tubes, watched water, and turned on slides. Most of the people I have the privilege of managing are doing the same jobs and it is not easy to stay motivated. It is my responsibility to be that motivation and guidance by being there for them in the operation.

2. Tanlines and Time

During the busiest time, if you do not have a tanline your colleagues will know you were not working hard with them. I make a point to work the hardest, work the longest, and look the sweatiest to motivate the colleagues. Tanlines are the best indication of “walking the walk” for me.

3. Sign Up For The Worst Job

When I know a busy week is coming up, I sign up for the worst position. At my park, that is either baking at the Main Entrance or assisting with the crowds at the Wave Pool. If you are a manager, give your colleagues are break, take the hit, lead from the front of the battle instead of the back. Your colleagues will appreciate you and learn from your skills in these areas at the same time.

Alright Parkers, I’ve got one more big day ahead of me. Hope you get out there and show them what you are made of as well. If you have any other ways to lead by example, feel free to share. I would love to hear more.

-Neva Heaston


Let’s Get Ready To Rumble

Ding, Ding, Ding!!! Hello again Parkers! I am getting ready for a BIG operating weekend and I am preparing for the extra guests that will be coming to the park. Now it is very important to prepare for all of the operational challenges during the busy days, but I have been focusing on something new this year. I am putting plans in place to maximize revenue. Here are my tips on how to get your guests to spend, spend, spend while they are in the park.

1. Understand the Guests’ Needs

Look at guest comments, previous top sellers, hot sales spots in the park, and more. With this data you will be able to replicate and enhance previous year’s performance.

2. Stack Your Team

Put the best sellers in your department in places that have high traffic. There are colleagues that can sell the same amount as three other colleagues. Put them in the places you need them the most.

3. Advertise

The marketing folks will say that in order to get a guest to pay attention to sales items inside the park, they have to see something about it seven times. Arrange your branding for items that have high profit margin in all areas of the park like posters, tray mats, uniforms, and more.

All right Parkers, wish me luck! I hope I have some huge revenue and per capita spending to speak boast about next week. If you have any other tips, please share with me in the comments section.


-Neva Heaston


Hello Parkers! Due to popular demand, I am going to increase my blog to three posts a week. Yippy! Thanks for all of the support and for taking the time out during your busy summers to read my blog.

Today I am going to chat about trying new things. Seven years ago, I made the craziest decision ever and I moved 7,948 miles away from home to pursue my career in amusement parks. My friends and family thought I was crazy, but it was the best thing that I have ever done. There are times in our lives when we are forced to take a leap of faith and “risk it to get the biscuit”. To do this, you need to be brave. Here are the ways, I recommend pushing yourself to be brave:

1. Just Do It

I gained a lot of confidence with taking risks by continuously trying new things. Just try it. Put your hand up when others shy away. Sure you may not be the best at everything and trust me no one expects you to be, but you will never know until you try.

2. Watch and Learn

Before I try anything new, I pay attention to how others do it. Remember when you were little and you would watch the other kids do things. You would watch and watch and watch until finally you tried it yourself. You can do the same thing as an adult. When I moved, I talked to others who worked abroad. I read books about working overseas. I sat in conferences and listened to people who built strong reputations by making the big move. I felt better after all of this research because I saw that others made the decision and survived. If they can do it, so can you.

3. Be Comfortable in the Uncomfortable

If you truly know me, you will know that I am terrified of public speaking. I absolutely hate it. But, I do it and survive every time without anyone really noticing. I learned over the years to hide my fear and pretend to be comfortable. I trick myself into being comfortable in the uncomfortable. For instance, when I speak in public I direct my eye contact to one person then I move onto the next person every few minutes. I never would have learned to do this if I did not put myself in situations when I have to speak in public. To be brave, put yourself into situation you hate. It will only make you stronger and naturally you will learn how to cope.

All right Parkers, now it is your turn. I encourage you to be brave and push your limits this week. You can do it trust me. If you have any other tips, I would love to hear them in my comments section. Have a great week!


-Neva Heaston

Hi there Parkers! I hope you are having a good one. I am going to chat about one of my favorite topics, trying something new at work. I have been put in charge of a new project with the Marketing Department this year and I am super excited. The down side is I have no experience doing what they want me to do. Has this ever happened to you? I’m sure we have all been thrown into the “deep end” a few times in our careers. Below are some of the tactics I use to survive situations like this:

1. Trust Your Colleagues

It is a lot to earn the trust of colleagues in other departments. They chose you for a reason. If they believe in you, you can certainly believe in yourself.

2. Experience Is Not Everything

Remember a lot of our management skills are transferable to other projects and tasks. Just because you have not done something before does not mean you cannot handle the task with the other skills in your management “toolkit”.

3. Define What Success Looks Like

Ask whomever is delegated you the task what their expectations are for the project. It is imperative to understand what success looks like to them, and how you are going to be measured. This understanding will give you the best guideline for tackling the task.

4. Google It

It is 2014 and the Internet is the greatest way to learn anything you do not quite understand. If you are a little insecure about your understanding of something or your experience, teach yourself. There are also many webinars, blogs, and more that can help you feel more confident about the new challenge.

Wish me luck! If you have any other tips, I would love to hear them. Please share in the comments section.

-Neva Heaston


Focus Face

Hello Parkers! I hope everyone is having a great week. Today, I would like to chat about motivation. I am sure everyone has weeks that challenge your focus and drive. When I have to spend a lot of time working on spreadsheets or in meetings, my mind tends to drift and my energy-levels drops.  Below are my Top Four Tips on how to stay motivated:

1. Remind Yourself Why You Love Your Job

This may sound crazy to most people, but we are Parkers. If you ever feel unmotivated, stand up and take a walk in the park. Look at our guests and how insanely happy they are on our rides, eating our food, or relaxing on our sun loungers. I can always refocus myself once I remember that I am in the business of creating memories for friends and family.

2. Take Breaks

If you spend too long doing the same thing, you will lose your focus and your mind with shutdown. I recommend setting daily alarms to remind yourself to take frequent short breaks in order to help you power through.

3. Control Your Schedule

You have the power to control your own schedule. You are not obligated to click accept to every meeting or get everything down in one afternoon. I recommend blocking out time to properly distribute project work, general reoccurring tasks, and meetings.

4. Drink Water

We are humans and made out of water. We need it to function normally. Drink water throughout the day to ensure your brain and body are hydrated enough to work, as they should.

Well that is all for today. I hope you can use these tips to get you through your workweek. If you have any other tips on how to stay motivated, be sure to share them in the comments section.

-Neva Heaston


Time To Make That Money

Hi there Parkers! I’m back in busy mode preparing for a very busy summer holiday season in Dubai. Our park does huge numbers during this event, so we are preparing ways to operate efficiently while maintaining high levels of safety and guest service. I am also planning ways to capitalize on this extra attendance to make more ancillary revenue. These tactical plans are necessary to meet a park’s strategic goals that, in any business, involves year on year revenue growth. Here are the ways I recommend coming up with plans to leverage high attendance in order to increase in park sales:

1. Start Early

Planning for major events takes time. You may need to buy things, create signage with Marketing, and more. Give yourself plenty of time to get everything you need.

2.Involve Stakeholders

It is nearly impossible to do anything yourself. You will need help from Marketing, Finance, Supply Chain, Engineering, and IT to pull off anything truly impactful. Ensure that you call a meeting with your support departments so they are on the same page and can help with your speed to market.


There are so many departments that can help you sell. Don’t leave your revenue generating departments fighting the good fight alone. Brief your management teams, phone operators, lifeguards/ride operators, and more about your plans. They can help you direct guests or fill into sales areas when you need them.

4. Use Your Resources

Suppliers want you to sell more of their products. Ask them for Free of Charge items to incentivize upselling or average spend to increase your revenue.

5. Big Displays

Guests are not psychic. Even the best promotions or products will be ignored if you do not throw them in their faces. Remember people did not choose to come a park to shop or eat. They came for the rides, relaxation, or time with their family. To get their attention your products need to be everywhere, nicely displayed, and easy to buy.

6. Document Best Practice and Results

Anything that worked well is worth repeating. Write it down so a year from now you can easily pull the trigger on tried and test moneymakers.

Well time to get to work. If you have any great tips for me and the other readers about revenue generation, please share in the comments section. Have a great week!

-Neva Heaston