We just came back from Hersheypark, land of all things sweet and chocolate. What a great time. If you’ve never been, I highly recommend it. The park in super fun, and Chocolate World is heaven for candy queens.
Over the course of our visit I discovered some fun digital and social integration tools that made the trip that much more fun. And more fattening. 🙂
First off, there’s a Hersheypark iPhone app. A digital map of the park in your hand with GPS so you can find out where the heck you are. That’s particularly important when your dizzy from the Tilt-a-Whirl. The app lets you build a list of Must-See rides and when you look at your list the GPS kicks in telling you which ones your close and closest to where you at. It’s a good way to maximize your time and minimize the trekking around. Which minimizes the tired feet complaints and the fights over what’s next.
The app also has a daily alerts feature. This is key if a particular ride is down, like The Claw was during out trip. My youngest is still bummed.
Twitter was buzzing with Foursquare check-ins and roller coaster ratings and wait times people are finding on rides. @HersheyParkPR sends out periodic notes.
The Hersheypark Facebook page has over 85,000 fans. Impressive. The Park is posting weather updates, specials and sneak peeks at new attractions. Even using a bit of video for some behind the scenes at concerts. Fans are singing the park’s praises.
What could be improved
@HersheyParkPR doesn’t respond to tweets. Before I found the iPhone app, I tweeted to see if they could tell me how long The Claw would be down. 4 days later still no response. They are using Twitter as a one-way tool, pretty old-school. It would have been great if they would have tweeted me back asking if I’d discovered the iPhone app. Simple cross promotion of the tools available.
On Facebook, page admins aren’t responding to fan comments much, and when they do it’s very generic.
The post was a great opportunity to engage with Taylor about roller coasters. What if Hersheypark had responded with “That depends on the daredevil in you. Fahrenheit is THE scariest. Sooper-Dooper-Looper is more “beginning daredevil” since it only has 1 loop. Great Bear will freak anyone out since your feet dangle and there are so many loops and twist-ies.” Chances are Taylor would have told them more than “LOL” in his response. Missed opportunity to build a relationship.
The main website landing page has no linking logos to Facebook or Twitter or the app. Seriously, that’s simple. Call the web guy. The iPhone app is mentioned, but it’s buried in the Frequently Asked Questions section.
Lastly, despite spending the night in Hershey Lodge, a Hershey resort property, there was no signage bring Facebook or the app or a Twitter handle to my attention. I stumbled onto them by myself. With a tiny bit of effort to advertise their existence, the digital tools the would be more impactful on guests. And those guests could (and would) bring them to other people’s attention. Here’s an idea. My room key was imprinted with my name and the dates of my stay. Why wouldn’t you also imprint the Facebook logo, Twitter handle and iPhone app logo? Blackberry logo, too if there’s an app for it. There were big screen monitors above the activity desk in the lobby. It’s another place the images could be placed to tell guests the other platforms they could connect on and get more information to enhance their stays.
They’ve made a good start. What they need next is integration. That’s easy.