Sunday, February 25, 2024

IAAPA time!

Patrick Haller leads the IAAPA marketing team

interview by Martin Palicki

IAAPA announced Patrick Haller has joined the organization as vice president of global marketing, communications, and membership. He will lead the association’s global marketing, communications, and membership strategy and plan implementation. Haller brings more than 15 years of association marketing and communications experience to his new role. He has previously served with the National Business Aviation Association, the American Institute of Architects and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.

Tell us about your background and what led you to IAAPA.

The opportunity to join the IAAPA team was too great to pass up! I’ve spent the bulk of my career helping organizations grow by communicating the value of membership. I believe in the work associations do, helping members navigate difficult circumstances – as we’ve all experienced in the past 18 months – helping companies operate more effectively, and helping individuals grow in their career.

With your experience in associations, tell us how you think the role of associations is evolving, particularly in light of the pandemic.

Associations at the core exist to advocate on behalf of the industry. I don’t think that element of our role changes, but I do think how we achieve positive outcomes for the industry requires more member engagement than in the past. I also believe that associations have a responsibility to help members navigate information overload to identify best practices in safety and operational efficiencies. Associations are also a place where members can learn from each other and face the biggest challenges of the time. Whether those are health and safety related, staffing issues, implementing new technologies, or navigating difficult supply chains, members can and should learn and grow from the knowledge of one another.

What tips do you have for members wanting to get the most out of their IAAPA membership?

To get the most out of your membership, get connected! Make sure all your staff has access to the website resources and get the most important industry and association updates from the IAAPA News Daily e-newsletter. Participate in regional opportunities for networking and education as your schedule allows, and if you have the passion to help further the industry, consider joining a volunteer committee in your area of expertise.

IAAPA offers so many opportunities to learn and connect through the entire year!

What will drive your role with IAAPA?

I’m thrilled to be working with a great team of experts to market and communicate the global IAAPA brand on behalf of our members. We look to increase awareness of IAAPA’s mission and resources to all members so they can benefit from the depth of knowledge that exists in the industry on important topics like safety, operational efficiency, innovation and sustainability. We’re also working to ensure that we tailor our benefits, products and services regionally so that no matter where our members are located, they find benefits that are relevant to their needs.

What are you looking forward to most about the upcoming IAAPA Expo in Orlando?

IAAPA Expo is the premier event for the global attractions industry. I look forward to not only attending but being a part of the Expo.

In September, we successfully hosted IAAPA Expo Europe, and with it, the return of large, in-person events. Our team developed and executed a comprehensive plan that included new protocols aimed at ensuring everyone was safe during the Expo. That helped make us even more excited for IAAPA Expo – we knew we could adapt and still deliver the quality events IAAPA is known for and deliver meaningful experiences for attendees and exhibitors.

On a personal level, it was great to work alongside the IAAPA team and meet my colleagues from the IAAPA EMEA office. I also enjoyed beginning to get to know many of our members, and I look forward to meeting more colleagues and members in- person in November.

Give us a preview of what attendees can look forward to at this year’s Expo.

IAAPA Expo has always been the place where the global attractions industry looks ahead and shares new innovations and new ideas. We are excited to have many exhibitors host press conferences from the trade show floor. These announcements add to the excitement of the event, but also are significant examples of how the industry is constantly evolving, adapting – and surprising us!

We have more than 90 education sessions taking place throughout the week, with topics covering all areas of the industry. While some sessions were originally in place for IAAPA Expo 2019, we also have many key sessions addressing issues we dealt with through the pandemic and how we can continue to recover, adapt and move forward.

We’ve also added “EDUTalks” – mini sessions that will take place right on the trade show floor. These sessions are short and address key issues in our industry in a casual setting and are designed to help connect attendees as they explore the trade show floor.

The return of IAAPA Expo traditions is just as important. Richard Zimmerman, President and CEO of Cedar Fair Entertainment Company, will be the keynote speaker at the GM and Owners’ Breakfast. The Lunch and Learn will feature Josh D’Amaro, Chairman, Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, and the creative team behind “The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man” attraction at Universal’s Islands of Adventure make up this year’s Legends Panel.

Finally, we are excited to once again host our charity events supporting Give Kids The World Village. The golf tournament and Fun Run are beloved traditions, and we know the Village needs our support more than ever. Both events are fun and leave a lasting impression on all who take part.

How do you see the role of in-person and virtual events in today’s industry?

The attractions industry is an in-person industry designed to bring people together for shared experiences. In-person events hosted by IAAPA exist for the same reason. We look to bring together the newest and most innovative ideas on our show floors and in our education to help the industry move forward and grow.

Virtual events have a place in that overall strategy by helping to extend the reach of information when face-to-face isn’t possible. Nothing can replace the excitement and energy of seeing a new attraction for the first time. That said, new technologies in virtual reality continue to blur the lines of the real and virtual spaces and I think this trend will continue to expand. • • •

Martin Palicki
Martin Palicki
Martin Palicki owns and publishes InPark Magazine. Started in 2004, InPark Magazine provides owners and operators the perspective from "in"side the "park." Martin has also written for publications like Sound & Communications, Lighting & Sound America, Attractions Management and others. Martin has been featured in Time Magazine, and Folio. Martin lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA.

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