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2019 Season

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4 hours ago, Ivsetti said:

Thorpe Park Mania: 

Thorpe Park:

Thorpe Park Mania:

 

It's clearly not the lols, I view it as Thorpe Park taking negative feedback head on and telling guests that their complaints are being worked on. Winter Update series showed them reducing the "tired" look of the resort (which a lot of people complain about here). I also read somewhere about this winter (I think it was a Trip Advisor response) them working on making changes to reduce queue times exiting the car park. That said, it is a weird way to tell guests you're working on their complaints as it doesn't come across as professional as it could have although I think that's because of the image the park try to portray themselves as on social media. I'm guessing improvements will be revealed on opening day in March.

 

Kieran doesn't seem to understand how much rides actually cost.

Does anyone know what the fifth problem was?

Not for lols?

 

 👀😂

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5 hours ago, Wumbamillio said:

It doesn't mean anything, it's just somebody being paid £8 an hour to reply to tweets who has no say over the park at all.

Not strictly true.

 

These sorts of posts are crafted by the marketing team, all of whom are permanent members of staff on a salary (which works out as a lot more than any seasonal, hourly wage staff).

 

It's usually the case that seasonal, hourly wage staff respond to social media posts (and those are usually guest services people). But during closed season they don't normally have those people employed. Equally these sorts of responses will from marketing.

 

And being Merlin, the marketing department have some of the strongest says in the park. 

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I think there is having a personality in your brand and there is being ridiculous and unprofessional.

Thorpe pre 2013 somewhat had a brand and a clear market they were aiming for, sure that market turned out to be not very profitable but at least they knew who their target market was.

 

In many ways I think Thorpe right now is the real laughing stock of the Merlin Parks.

Sure Alton has made budget cut galore, Chessington gets no major investments, but at least those parks both know who their bloody target market is.

The parks both have their own brand and somewhat of a identity, they don't have to be obnoxious on social media to make their brand stand out, the brand is strong.

 

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5 hours ago, JoshC. said:

Not strictly true.

Ah you're right, I didnt think of it that way. Although thats more worrying if these tweets are being sent by more senior people who potentially do have some influence over the park then!

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Thorpe’s social media is absolutely embarrassing. More and more brands try and present themselves as fun and ‘down with the kids’ whilst forgetting the basics.

 

For example, you’ve got airports repeatedly tweeting about how they’re on giphy without communicating with the public regarding an incident.

 

The best park Twitter is that of the Efteling, in my opinion. They don’t try to be your best mate by posting self-deprecating memes or stupid gifs; they actually treat you with the respect you deserve as a paying guest. Their responses are immediate, helpful and just by using punctuation, not too corporate sounding. It’s a simple approach, but social media is the only way a park can ‘speak’. Therefore, it’s so important that the ethos of the park and it’s rides are coveyed by the social media team. 

 

 

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Oh come on. The social media team must be playing for the best reaction they can get on this forum. No one in there right mind can possibly have thought that was an ok thing to post. it misses the mark of "banter" entirely. 

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Did the people who left after the Towers "better than nothing" thing end up working for Thorpe?

 

But I guess their engagements list will be positive enough for this kind of thing to continue, even if the actual content of said engagements is mostly negative... Who has time to actually look at the content of responses?

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I understand a number of their visitors are chavy, cocky and ‘self entitled’ but for the park to class them inferior to pass holders is going a bit far really?

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I'll be honest, the reaction to that Annual Passholder post is ridiculous. Anyone who's acting offended in any way needs to get a grip frankly.

 

In saying that, it's not in any way a fun, funny or clever, and there's millions of better ways to advertise the Thorpe Annual Pass. Maybe even by, you know, advertising what you get with it?

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20 minutes ago, JoshC. said:

I'll be honest, the reaction to that Annual Passholder post is ridiculous. Anyone who's acting offended in any way needs to get a grip frankly.

 

In saying that, it's not in any way a fun, funny or clever, and there's millions of better ways to advertise the Thorpe Annual Pass. Maybe even by, you know, advertising what you get with it?

Trouble is, that's Thorpe...

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On 2/3/2019 at 2:51 PM, Ivsetti said:

 

Treating their paying customers with contempt?

 

How classy.

 

Keep it up Thorpe. Watch your feedback and rating score on TripAdvisor fall even further this season if you keep up with that attitude!

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55 minutes ago, JoshC. said:

I'll be honest, the reaction to that Annual Passholder post is ridiculous. Anyone who's acting offended in any way needs to get a grip frankly.

 

In saying that, it's not in any way a fun, funny or clever, and there's millions of better ways to advertise the Thorpe Annual Pass. Maybe even by, you know, advertising what you get with it?

 

That's the stupid thing, like they could've listed number of rides, or events, or number of times you throw up because you get dizzy or whatever... But instead they decided to go with intelligence? Even saying MAP holders are more attractive would've been a better idea...

 

It's simple and easy mistakes like this that tarnish a brand reputation... It's difficult to build, but oh so easy to destroy...

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I agree it's a stupid post, doesn't do anything to help their reputation, etc. But saying they're treating customers with "contempt"? People on Facebook / Twitter calling this "offensive" and "insulting" (usually people with Annual Passes already who are trying to feel offended on behalf of others). Feels like a bit of an over-reaction, no?

 

As I say, it's a ridiculous post, definitely not doing anything to help with their already damaged brand. But there are people genuinely trying to say it's offensive? Come on..

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Agree, it's not offensive. It's just absolutely pathetic and childish, and does nothing positive in terms of public perception, either of MAP holders or Thorpe Park as a whole. Slow clap time.

 

It's lazy, heavy handed, utter nonsense and ill thought out, which is true of many of Thorpe's decisions and PR. Post now, think later. But hey, that's the world of social media and iNflUenCinG guys. 

 

Maybe 2019 will see that mobile phone charging service open on The Walking Dead The Ride and that B.O. ban will finally be enforced on Stealth.

 

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15 hours ago, Wumbamillio said:

Is this the same Thorpe Park social media/PR team that gave that IAAPA presentation on how to engage with fans?

 

Isn't the answer to this, don't ever engage with fans? Look at the state of us! ;) 

 

18 hours ago, JoshC. said:

I agree it's a stupid post, doesn't do anything to help their reputation, etc. But saying they're treating customers with "contempt"? People on Facebook / Twitter calling this "offensive" and "insulting" (usually people with Annual Passes already who are trying to feel offended on behalf of others). Feels like a bit of an over-reaction, no?

 

As I say, it's a ridiculous post, definitely not doing anything to help with their already damaged brand. But there are people genuinely trying to say it's offensive? Come on..

 

I've not looked at the responses, but we live in a 'offended on someone's behalf' culture, so it doesn't surprise me such a thing exists... But those people are the sort of people who likely complain if they posted something cool with "YeAh BuT u HaVe To WaIt NiNe HoUrS fOr It!", because idiots...

 

If people are saying it's offensive let's hope they don't have MAPs as that completely disproves Thorpe's research ;) 

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20 hours ago, Wumbamillio said:

Is this the same Thorpe Park social media/PR team that gave that IAAPA presentation on how to engage with fans?

There's an interesting article from around the same time: http://www.attractionsmanagement.com/index.cfm?pagetype=features&codeID=33238&fbclid=IwAR3C6Mzr4fAfBT_8txXPcIUw7tLnL-4HFgodWcvBO0f8ryr-PuAbM5GmOi8

 

There's a lot to pick out from it which I think gives some very interesting insight...

 

Quote

Although the fan/park dialogue can be rocky at times, in my experience it’s largely positive if you’re willing to work together.

If you have fans on-side, then you essentially have an army to fill that sometimes-daunting social media echo chamber with praise, positive feedback, helpful suggestions and playful banter.

It's obvious of course that a park wants fans on its side. Of course, 'fans' can mean much more than 'enthusiasts' - anyone who's a passholder is technically a fan. Hence the silly "Annual Passholder facts", which say passholders are more intelligent, more polite and whatever else. Anything to try and make a passholder smile and go 'heh, cool' or something like that. In turn, it sets a tone that the account has this 'banterous' side to them, making people more inclined to share in that banter and post positively.

 

Except, that's not how it's worked. It comes across as the park trying to hard. Like that uncle at parties who says buzzwords like "yolo" and "yeet" and thinks he's cool. It'll make some people smile, but it's not what people want from a theme park account. They want an upbeat tone, information and interesting facts. 99% of the time a 15-minutes of fame meme won't do the job with getting people on board in supporting the brand.

 

Quote

it simultaneously enriches the perception of the brand and strengthens the park/fan relationship, which can only be of benefit to us all.

And it's not like there's people being clueless that the social media reflects the brand - the park are well aware it affects the perception of the brand. But either they don't realise it's not enriching the brand, or they're too stubborn to change their mind.

 

Maybe they'll argue it is working, but enthusiasts in their ivory towers of wisdom are too narrow-minded to see. Maybe it's like a Trump/Brexit thing, where we're just surrounded by so many people who share the same opinion that we're blind to the strength of those who think the social media presence is brilliant. But it's not. Crudely speaking, social media ultimately comes down to interactions and getting people talking. You look at the numbers the park's posts are getting - they're not good. And the majority of people aren't going to be talking about it like enthusiasts are..

 

Quote

Dealing with Backlash

 

Then there’s the other side of the coin. What do you do when a rumour gets out of hand and that once playful and optimistic discussion starts to stray down the wrong path and comments become negative? 
In this instance, we would issue an official statement directly to the fan groups stating the facts to ensure any rumour remains just that – a rumour.

You only have to look at how they've handled the Logger's Leap to see that this is a theory they do not follow. They shut the ride quietly, gave a vague, non-committing statement, and just swept it aside ever since. People hound the park constantly, both during on and off season, and go nowhere. They've dug themselves into a hole that they can't get out of. 

 

And yes, Loggers is a weird one. I'm very much under the impression to closure of it was a decision they didn't want to make, and was only planned to be temporary. There had been plenty of plans and ideas for its reopening. I don't think the park lied when they were saying 'they hope it returns soon' - I genuinely believe that was their plan at one stage or another, but plans changed. But this is the issue when you hide behind vague buzzwords and try to be clever about it, you lose all integrity when something goes wrong behind the scenes, since you have nothing to fall back on for a public statement.

 

Quote

Getting engaged


The key to strengthening your attraction’s fan base is simple – engage.

Use your social media platforms to leave comments on your fans’ content.

Share their reactions and opinions on your official channels and make their voice heard. Let them know how much you loved their latest vlog and actively take an interest in the content they’re producing and the information they’re giving you.

Is this what social media should be about though? Do I really care if Jack visited the park for the 15th time this season with a camera pointed at him the whole time, and he had a good day because he knows all the tricks of how to do the park and the rubbish rides to avoid? Do I care that Sally from Kent, with her 200 followers, visited the park for the first time and wrote a blog saying how wonderful Stealth is? Not really. It's good to do this sort of stuff, but sparingly. People want an upbeat tone, information and interesting facts - this is rarely achieved through influences.

 

Quote

Fan-made vlogs, Facebook comments and discussions and even internet forums are a goldmine when it comes to gaining first-hand perspectives of a day out at your attraction.

All well and good saying this, but Thorpe in particular are terrible for this. The amount of unanswered questions that fly past on a daily basis, the copy and paste responses make it feel like they don't care, don't read responses and just reflects badly on the brand. I know this is a distinction between the marketing team (who craft the original tweets) and the guest services team (who are in charge of responding to general queries), but if there's this disconnect in philosophies between the two teams (one saying that taking the time to respond to comments is important, the other not doing this effectively), then that speaks volumes about the park.

 

 

The park's brand is just ruined at the moment. Can anyone answer, positively, what Thorpe Park is at the moment? Who do they target? How will I feel after a day out there? Why should I go there? So far, all the social media side of things is doing is making me think they're a park desperate for attention and wanting to be "down with the kids". And it really shows. And what's worse, is this has been done before. Thorpe went through the terrible meme phase in 2013/4, back when they were changing target market. The new island brand was working and masking the issues they had there, but the social media side felt desperate. But back then, social media wasn't as critical to a brand, and they managed to salvage it. But they haven't learnt from their mistakes, clearly.

 

Admittedly, they're not doing everything wrong. The Thorpe Park blog, with weekly entries, is nice, and the winter updates have been good. Yet both of those things always seem to miss the mark a bit, and are only 'good', rather than 'great'. They can get the tone of voice and personality right, they've had some good funny moments in the past. But these are exceptions. More often than not, it feels like they're shooting themselves in the foot, really don't care or just trying to troll followers for the lolz.

 

 

I want to make it clear I'm not trying to attack particular people. Yes, this post has been related to a particular article written by one particular person who works at Thorpe, and I'm being critical of it. But that's simply one person reflecting the ideals and value of the park and its brand. It's not something that one person has thought of, and it's gone through. This is a collection of people, making a collection of mistakes, and it's there for their whole following to see. The park is stagnating with investments, the brand is going round in circles and the social media accounts are slowly becoming a laughing stock. It needs sorting out.

 

I'll finish off with a quote from the article, in case anyone tries the 'if you hate it so much, why are you here' line...

Quote

They [fans] can be honest – brutally so at times – but it’s that honesty that will help you identify any key issues at your park.

 

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