Monday Morning with Marty is the weekly blog published by Operation: Pineapple. This blog features articles and opinion relating to attractions, entertainment venues, and non-profit institutions.

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Recent Posts

  • Achieve New Heights

    Achieve New Heights

    Best Practices for Emergency Preparedness “Be Prepared!” – Boy Scouts Motto It was a clear day in March and the Team Members had just finished a round of the capsule answering guest questions and pointing out landmarks. It was business as usual on this run of the SkyTower and there were a wide variety of guests ranging from 3 – 73, one of whom was VERY pregnant. The capsule started its decent and then…BANG!!! With a loud noise and a jolt, the two-level observation capsule slammed to a stop 240 feet in the air. Everyone screamed except for the two …Read More »
  • Family Togetherness

    Family Togetherness

    How cell phones can bring families together when they visit Last month, after enjoying Thanksgiving dinner with my family, we decided to spend the evening at one of our local theme parks. As we walked through the park I was amazed to see how many people had their cell phones out and were so absorbed in their own little cyber-world that they were not enjoying the park (or time with their family and friends). I couldn’t help but wonder why people would spend money on admission to the park, and then not even look up from their phones…and then, as …Read More »
  • Don’t Panic!

    Don’t Panic!

    Best Practices for Keeping Cool in a Pinch “Fast is slow and slow is fast” - John Maxwell Irma was nervous. She could not locate the guest’s reservation. She had searched everywhere…the ticketing system, the pre-printed will call tickets, and even the VIP List. "Are you certain that the tickets were booked in your name?” she asked as calmly as possible. “Of course,” the guest said, starting to sound a bit agitated, “Why, can’t you find them?” Irma said nothing as she pounded madly on the keyboard. Just moments later Irma was finally able to find the reservation, but the …Read More »
  • Get It Done!

    Get It Done!

    Four Leadership styles for getting things done I've never considered myself a "follower"; while I don't mind taking direction from others, I do like to understand the "why" behind the "what" I'm being asked to do. I find it is much easier to accomplish the desired result if I understand the reasons behind what I have been told to do. This is true not only in business, but in my personal life as well; many years ago, when my 18 year old son was just a baby I took him in to see the pediatrician to help figure out why …Read More »
  • Oreos and the Creamy Center

    Oreos and the Creamy Center

    Four Ways to Find your Facility's Sweet Spot I love Oreos. When I eat them, I'm often caught doing what I've been doing since I was a kid - that is eating the creamy center first - essentially, eating my Oreo from the inside out. Why? Because while I like the chocolate cookie, it's the creamy center that makes the treat. That's where I find the most satisfaction and the most enjoyment. In our attractions world, our facilities have their own "creamy centers" - that is, the areas and activities that people love. At any of Disney's Magic Kingdom parks, …Read More »
  • Honesty, Trust, Integrity… and Salesmanship?

    Honesty, Trust, Integrity… and Salesmanship?

    Honesty. Trust. Integrity. ...Salesmanship?" How these corporate values can work in harmony. "Words from the thread on which we string our experiences" - Aldous Huxley Honesty, trust, and integrity; as corporate values go these are very important and we all want these to be cornerstones of our culture. But at the frontgate we should also consider including another cornerstone; Salesmanship. We can certainly all think of examples where sales people were at odds with the first three values noted above, but can salesmanship coexist within an environment of honest selling, integrity, and trustworthiness? The answer is absolutely, YES! The definition …Read More »
  • Hard Habits to Break

    Hard Habits to Break

    How to break free of "Order Taking" and do more! Bad habits are HARD to break! Have you ever tried to quit smoking or to stop overeating? It is not an easy thing to do - and many people who do try ultimately fail. After a few days, a week, or maybe even a month, people who try to break a habit end up right back where they started...unless they find the right motivation and follow through to successfully break their bad habit for good. Below are six steps that will help to break a bad habit: 1. Decide that …Read More »
  • Sales Coaches Drive Greater Performance

    Sales Coaches Drive Greater Performance

    Why performance improvement is so important in the ticket window Coaches hep us to do what we do better. They observe, evaluate, and provide feedback to help us improve. For example, in baseball a coach might observe a batter's stance, swing, focus, and follow through. They will evaluate and then make recommendations for adjustments that will improve the players performance level. Coaches are not just for sports teams; they can also be an effective solution for improving the performance of your Front Gate Team. Sales agents often simply process orders and catch sales given to them by guests rather than …Read More »
  • Bundles of Joy

    Bundles of Joy

    Seven Spectacular ways to Bundle Value with Admission When was the last time you visited a fast food restaurant like McDonald's or Burger King? What were they promoting and how were they promoting it? They were promoting their packages and combos, right? When looking at Consumer Psychology, people love to have options...but they can become overwhelmed quickly. This is the beauty of bundling, it allows you to offer more value and options to your guests without overwhelming them in the process. At the Front Gate, Online, and through third-party resellers, we can bundle Admission - which all guests need - …Read More »
  • The Evolution of Access Control

    The Evolution of Access Control

    The Evolution of Access Control For nearly a century the traditional turnstile with a rotating arm was the standard piece of access control hardware for sporting events, concert venues, and gated attractions. Attendants would staff each access point, verify that each guest had a valid ticket, and then grant access to attendees. There was no advanced technology involved-it was a manual process that left plenty of room for human error (and human deception). It could also create "choke points" and long lines for visitors at peak times. When upgrading the technology at our venues, it is easy to think about …Read More »
  • Succesful Leaders are Visible Leaders

    Succesful Leaders are Visible Leaders

    Successful Leaders are Visible Leaders The best, most successful leaders tend to have two specific qualities: they are both visible to and accessible to all of their people. They are aware that one of their greatest strengths is the relationship with everyone on their team, from their direct reports all the way down to the newest member of the front line team. One example of this type of leadership is Herb Kelleher, the former CEO of Southwest Airlines, who was know for making 2 a.m. visits to Love Field, the home base of the airline, to thank the Maintenance Crew …Read More »
  • The Value of Time

    The Value of Time

    Recently I experienced a situation that has made me reevaluate the importance that time plays in my life. The time that we spend on this earth – however short or long – is a gift from God. Whether we are spending time working or with our family and friends, time is valuable. What we do with the time we have truly matters. In some ways, it is the same with the guests who visit our parks and attractions. They visit us because they want to have an enjoyable time. During off-peak times when we are slower and have shorter operating …Read More »
  • Summertime Fun!

    Summertime Fun!

    Summertime Fun! Five Ways to Enhance the Guest Experience During Peak Season Summertime is upon us. In much of our industry, the summer season is the busiest time of the year; school is out, the family is on vacation, and the days are long and warm. With more people visiting, how can we provide that same WOW experience that keeps our guests engaged and having fun?   In today’s issue of Monday Morning with Marty we’ll explore some proven strategies for providing the highest level of guest service: Extended Hours -  Opening earlier and staying open later are great ways …Read More »
  • Flexible Payment Plans – Why Offering Payment Options Can Really Pay Off!

    Flexible Payment Plans – Why Offering Payment Options Can Really Pay Off!

    Today more and more people are living paycheck to paycheck…which is what makes flexible payment plans so attractive. Our guests want to have access to our premium products and to experience our high-end encounters; however, the higher price point can prevent many guests from choosing these options when full payment is due up front. The use of flexible payment plans can open these offerings up to an entirely new market! Making payments over time isn’t the answer for every product…the products offered with a flexible payment plan must be higher-end products with a price that reflects the product’s values and …Read More »
  • POS Peripherals – How your POS Hardware Reflects On You

    POS Peripherals – How your POS Hardware Reflects On You

    First impressions matter...even when we're talking POS hardware. When it comes to the technology we use at our front gate, people notice. First, our employees notice, and they see either an agile, responsive, lightweight system or something that came from last century. Our guests notice too and the hardware we use tells a story--we're a fresh, hip destination...or a dinosaur. Your choice of POS and Peripherals matter. Below are the essential components that impact first impressions at the front gate... Terminal Hardware. Today, it's all about being light, fast, and efficient. It starts with your software--whether server or cloud-based--the speed …Read More »
  • Priorities Matter! How Operating Efficiently Can Get Us from Good to Great

    Priorities Matter! How Operating Efficiently Can Get Us from Good to Great

      Priorities Matter! How Operating Efficiently Can Get Us from Good to Great Priorities matter. Early in my career, I became introduced to a set of four priorities that help organizations to achieve greatness. These priorities are: Safety  Guest Service  Show Quality  Efficiency   Last week, I wrote primarily about the first three priorities (read last week’s blog). Today, we focus in on the fourth priority—efficiency. As I stated last week, the beauty of efficiency is in its simplicity. When we focus on being safe, providing great service, and presenting a quality show, efficiency is automatic. Operating efficiently is perhaps …Read More »
  • Priorities Matter! Here Are Four Keys That Will Transform Your Operation

    Priorities Matter! Here Are Four Keys That Will Transform Your Operation

    Priorities Matter! Four Keys to Operating a Successful Attraction Priorities matter and for several years while I was with the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas, we had four simple priorities: Safety   Guest Service   Show Quality   Efficiency At Luxor, they were Pharaoh's Phour Philosophies, Universal Studios called them the Four Keys, and Disney, who still uses them today, refers to them the Four Secrets. Regardless of their name, these four priorities can help any size organization to prioritize what truly matters. Together, they create a roadmap of operational excellence. In today's issue of Monday Morning with Marty, we …Read More »
  • Expand Your Season:  How to extend your season and stay in the spotlight

    Expand Your Season: How to extend your season and stay in the spotlight

    Expand Your Season! How to Extend Your Season and Stay in the Spotlight In today’s year-round entertainment world, operating a seasonal attraction can be exceedingly difficult. To survive and be competitive, seasonal attractions are finding that they must be more and more creative and innovative with their hiring actions, marketing strategy, and expansion plan. Many seasonal attractions are discovering that the key to being competitive in the market is to expand the season. Let’s say that you are a seasonal water park (and yes, I am aware that some of my readers truly are seasonal water park operators). Your season …Read More »
  • YES, WE’RE OPEN! Best Practices for Opening & Closing Your Park

    YES, WE’RE OPEN! Best Practices for Opening & Closing Your Park

    Yes, We're Open! Best Practices for Opening & Closing Your Park “Yes, we're open!” Being open when you said you would be open matters. Recently, I needed a favorite outfit of mine to be dry-cleaned and I needed it done quickly. I was traveling out of town on a business trip a couple of days later and I had a short window to get the dry cleaning done. I did some research online and found a local dry cleaner with same-day service that could accommodate my tight timetable. With that in mind, I put a plan together to drop off …Read More »
  • KEEP IT STUPID SIMPLE: Why Limiting Options May Be the Best Choice

    KEEP IT STUPID SIMPLE: Why Limiting Options May Be the Best Choice

    KEEP IT STUPID SIMPLE Why Limiting Options May Be the Best Choice In today’s world, we love having and making choices. Practically everywhere, we are presented with options: 64 crayons in a Crayola box; 12 assorted donuts from Krispy Kreme; even hundreds of cable channels to choose from! However, too much choice can overwhelm us and when that happens, we tend to shut down or shut out new information. So how do we balance the right options without overwhelming people? We must Keep It Stupid Simple. In our point-of-sale world, we give our guests choices too…but typically, we do a …Read More »
  • CASHING IN ON CONVENIENCE: Why wearable technology is the wave of the future

    CASHING IN ON CONVENIENCE: Why wearable technology is the wave of the future

    Smart Wristband Technology Is Transforming the Guest Experience Remember years ago when it used to take several steps just to get into a theme park? You had to wait in line to purchase your admission ticket, pull out your wallet, pay the cashier, receive your barcoded ticket, walk to the admissions turnstile, present your ticket, and finally enter. I know I was exhausted even before I got through the front gates. Far too many steps just to get in the door and extremely inconvenient. The physical act of taking out your wallet and paying can be psychologically “painful” for many …Read More »
  • SETTING THE STAGE:  Six Keys to Connecting with Future Guests

    SETTING THE STAGE: Six Keys to Connecting with Future Guests

    SETTING THE STAGE:  Six Keys to Connecting with Future Guests Last night, we celebrated my oldest son’s 21st birthday with a night out on the town. We began our celebration at Mango’s Tropical Café, a Brazilian-themed dinner & show spectacle on I-Drive in Orlando. It was a fantastic time that truly delivered on my plan for an evening of entertainment and libations. Last night was truly all about the experience.   In most cases, delivering a great guest experience requires a great deal of organization and planning. At Mango’s, I began planning last night’s event weeks ago. I visited the …Read More »
  • LEADERS LEAD: Why Leaders Are Better Than Managers

    LEADERS LEAD: Why Leaders Are Better Than Managers

    LEADERS LEAD Why Leaders Are Better Than Managers Working in food service builds character. That's what I have always taught my children and because of that, both of my boys are presently working in food service. My oldest works at TopGolf as a busser and is now being trained as a food runner. My younger son took his first job working at Dunkin' Donuts and now works at Cracker Barrel Old Country Store. They are learning indispensable skills and valuable lessons that I believe will be with him for the rest of their lives.    Back when I was in …Read More »
  • LET THE GAMES BEGIN! Why Healthy Competition Powers Better Teams

    LET THE GAMES BEGIN! Why Healthy Competition Powers Better Teams

    LET THE GAMES BEGIN Why Healthy Competition Powers Better Teams Healthy Competition brings out the best in people. This past weekend, the world’s eyes were on South Korea as the 2018 Winter Olympics began. Over the next two weeks, the best athletes in a variety of winter sports come together, striving for their fastest time, highest air, and best performance. The quest for greatness powers stronger teams and optimal performance…even in our own work environments. In the hospitality business, how our own people perform daily makes all the difference. While our Olympians might measure performance with metrics like the fastest …Read More »
  • outsourcing stinks!

    outsourcing stinks!

    Outsourcing stinks...and now, my wife was in tears. The call was on speaker and I could hear everything that the customer service representative on the other end of the line was saying. There was no empathy in the agent’s voice. Just a restatement of company policy, once, twice, and even a third time. To make matters worse, there was a language barrier. Not that it was the agent’s fault but she did not have a good command of the English language. With learning any language, I believe that you can be “book smart” but lack the practical and cultural experiences …Read More »
  • Stop Employee Theft

    Stop Employee Theft

    A scorpion asks a frog to carry him over a river. The frog is afraid of being stung, but the scorpion argues that if it did so, both would sink and the scorpion would drown. The frog then agrees, but midway across the river the scorpion does indeed sting the frog, dooming them both. When asked why, the scorpion points out that this is its nature. --Fable of the Scorpion and the Frog In the story above, the scorpion violates trust by stinging the frog and dooming them both. While the frog trusted the scorpion, the scorpion stung him anyway. …Read More »
  • Money on the Table

    Money on the Table

    Nobody likes leaving money on the table... and yet with most ticketing operations, that's all they are doing. They assume the guest already knows what they want and that they are just there to process the order. They fail to sell tickets at all--they only “take orders”. Therefore, they leave a tremendous amount of new money on the table. Here is the traditional approach to ticket sales at most attractions and institutions: Guest approaches ticket seller. Ticket seller greets guest/asks “how can I help you?” Guest asks for tickets—usually broken down with x Adults and y Children. Ticket seller processes order, …Read More »
  • words matter

    words matter

    INTRODUCING OUR EXPANDED SUITE OF SERVICES Revenue Management Operational Execution Guest Experience Management Technology & Integration LEARN MORE The words we use matter. In fact, in many cases sellers have the potential to transform the bottom line by 20%--simply by transforming their dialogue. Words can be powerful and highly effective but only if we clearly understand the nuances and differences in dialogue that our sellers are currently using and how simply adjustments will make all of the difference. Here are five phrases that will drive more ticket sales at your venue. FROM:  What’s your zip code? TO: Where are you …Read More »
  • Build a Better Guest Experience

    Build a Better Guest Experience

    INTRODUCING OUR EXPANDED SUITE OF SERVICES Revenue Management Operational Execution Guest Experience Management Technology & Integration LEARN MORE   Happy New Year. Today, I want to share some food for thought as we begin to execute our 2018 strategies and operational plans. As attraction operators, we all strive to put forward the best possible guest experience. We know that our guests want to have the best experience possible and we know that they’ll pay more to get it. When we create products and packages that are packed with meaningful enhancements, market them properly, and train our staff to position them …Read More »