In the heart of Rivertown Junction, past Dogs N’ Taters, and into the Blue Ribbon Pavilion, the PRSA Volunteer Chapter was given an exclusive talk with the Dollywood public relations and marketing team. As part of being a PRSA member, we were provided traditional southern cuisine, event and media tactics’ information, strategy on their newest rollercoaster opening event, and what it’s like working with the international country music star – Dolly Parton.
Wesley Ramey, Public Relations Director at The Dollywood Company, began his presentation with a general breakdown of the inner semantics for rollercoaster openings. Most media events are held within a theater for seating and media manageability, but for this, they needed the outdoors. It only makes sense to open an outdoor addition, well, outdoors. Rain or shine, at least Dolly would have an umbrella.
“There is no better place to be for an opening than outside.”
With over 175-200 different media, the difficulty speaks for itself. The public relations team, marketing team, informational technologies, human resources sales, and even the park Chaplain all ensure that someone is always with the media and offering hospitality. Not only to corral the wandering, but to make sure everyone is taken care of. A hydrated, fed, and guided media is a happy media. Any questions or needed information is close by and willing to answer.
With the opening of any ride, it is common to deliver a “ride-a-long” point of view to the media to give the pic an idea of what they might experience. Dollywood is no stranger to this tactic, but new technology changed their game plan. A company out of California delivered newer technologies and resources. This allowed a live first time reaction of Elizabeth Ringas, president of American Coaster Enthusiast. A wonderful example of influencer marketing by the Dollywood PR team.
Here below is the full experience shared with us at the presentation.
Lastly, Ramey gave a slew of examples of what it’s like working with the beloved Dolly Parton, and how they vantage her image. She was described as a joy to work with, and mostly because of everyone’s mutual expectations. There is over 85 years of PR experience, but around 60 years of Dolly PR experience. It is very apparent of their team’s involvement and dedication with their attention to detail.
“If Dolly can come off a 2 a.m. flight fully dressed and prepared at 77 years old, so can you.”
With those closing remarks, the presentation ended, we were escorted to Big Bear Mountain to experience what all their hard work has been living up to – and it very much did.
Overall, this event was our largest turnout held within the past year. From start to finish, we were given stellar hospitality and warm smiles. The presentation showed clever insight into managing multiple kinds of media and events, and how pleasant it is to work with Dolly. Who could’ve guessed that?
Describing a rollercoaster in words is as hard as you might expect but experiencing Big Bear Mountain lived up to every ounce of built-up hype. This well-invested ride opening on the breakout of Covid-19 was everything one could ask from a theme park.