Theme Park Manager – Is It Really All Thrills and Spills?

It is fair to say that theme parks are pretty exiting places and ones in which customers have pretty happy memories. So if you like working with people and love the thrills, spills hustle and bustle that theme parks offer, then you might want to consider becoming a theme park manager.

Job Role

A manager’s role within a theme park is varied to say the least. They have overall responsibility for the safety of the customers and employees under their jurisdiction and should ensure regular inspections and health and safety checks are in place. Customer service is also key and as a result a manager will have to develop and implement strategies to ensure customer delight. This may include bringing in new rides or updating existing ones. A theme park manager is also responsible for all financial aspects of the park and may be accountable for marketing the park in order to generate more business.

Day to day work activities

Theme parks vary in size greatly ranging from small family owned venues, right up to large chains of amusement parks. Park managers in larger venues will have a team of managers working under them and reporting back to them. However smaller family owned theme parks will have managers who are responsible for a whole gamut of functions. Having said this, typical daily tasks often include:

Overseeing health and safety and risk assessments
Project managing the upgrade of the park if applicable, such as ride design.
Planning and carrying out strategies which will keep the customer returning, again and again
Dealing with personnel under their remit
Continued marketing
Financial control and budgeting
Keeping a close eye on the competition

Qualities

In order to run and maintain a large theme park there are some qualities that you are going to need and these are as follows:

Good leadership skills

Having the skills to motivate your team and lead from the front is key in this business.

Customer orientated
Theme parks are all about delivering customer delight so some kind of customer service experience is preferred

Business acumen
Good business acumen is imperative for this job and most, if not all theme parks run on tight budgets so the need for control of all aspects of the business is vital.

Marketing skills
Marketing is an important part of the business so in many cases being able to come up with new and ingenious ways of marketing is vital. If you are an ‘out of the box’ thinker then this can sometimes help.

How Do I get into it?

The formal way

Although any degree will stand you in good stead, degrees in travel, tourism and leisure, business management, hospitality management, marketing and engineering are particularly good. As this is a specialised job, most companies will stress the need for some type of experience over academic qualities. However, they can be a fast track to becoming a park manager.

The informal way

The informal way is to work your way up through the ranks. By having an understanding of how the day to day running of a theme park works and having managed smaller departments, prospective employers may look upon you favourably. Having skills from other professions such as business management, human resources, accounting, marketing and media are often highly relevant and can in some cases provide the necessary background for a cross over into managing a theme park.

The Pay

The pay scales can vary depending upon whether you are working in a small family run business or a large corporation and as a result can typically vary from £18,500 – £30,000 for more junior managers through to £35,000 -£75,000 for more senior managers (with ten or more years in the role).

The work can be long and unsocial as most theme parks are open weekends and bank holidays during the summer and managers are often working in very busy and very noisy environments. Having said this, if you really like being in a customer led industry, which is based around having fun, then this could be the chosen career for you. Why not discuss your ideas with us and see how we could help you get your dream job.

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