Highlights from PVA Annual Convention at MariTrends 2023

Written by Scott Riddell
Last updated on Mar 23, 2023

Another successful PVA event in the books!

It’s business as usual for the passenger-vessel industry. Even with a mild recession, experts anticipate a strong, busy travel season from upscale travelers who will fill any anticipated economic voids. With optimistic expertise echoed throughout the week, the vibe of PVA MariTrends was overwhelmingly positive.

Shout out to Oahu Golf Apparel, who decked us out for our first-ever Katica Golf Tournament. You couldn’t miss them.

RocketRez Staff Dressed in Matching Hawaiian Shirts from Oahu Golf Apparel

There were many golf balls pulled out of the sand, but even more connections were made on the course and in the clubhouse. We had a blast!

While the carpet was still being rolled out in the exhibit hall, the education sessions were in full swing. As usual, our attention was caught up with the presentations focusing on technology and marketing.

In The New Era of Digital Advertising presented by Robert Kopf from Marketing Support Network, there were literal gasps from the well-attended crowd. Many were learning for the first time about the abolition of 3rd party cookies and the deprecation of Google’s Universal Analytics. It wasn’t all doom and gloom, however.

The points we all took away were that:

  1. First-party data rules all - get your email list in order, and;
  2. The resurgence of contextual marketing - showing your brand and your message next to content on sites like YouTube that is timely and relevant is an opportunity to get in front of your audience without the complications of privacy and security.

Ramping up the energy in Brand vs Marketing with Value Media, we got to participate in some real brand evaluation and put ourselves in the role of our customers as they consider how they feel about us when they see our ads, read our copy, and book tickets through our websites. Think Tito’s vs Grey Goose, Spirit vs Delta, Apple vs Microsoft. \

The decision to work with a company - to buy a ticket for a tour, or to buy the software that enables those ticket sales - is preceded by understanding the expectations and what you’re going to get out of engaging with this company, the values you share or at least perceive that they have, the memories of previous engagements, and the relationship you’re going to have with them.

As the exhibition floor opened up with the first general session we were reminded again of why we’re here - to do business. And all signs point to lots of business to be done.

Study after study continues to show that regardless of a looming recession, people continue to come back to travel.

Moreover, although not all segments are coming back as quickly, the more affluent travelers are making up for the lagging segments and actually prepared to spend more on their travels, which is of course the good news we’re all looking for.

Time will tell, but the excitement and anticipation ramping up for the coming season was palpable on the trade show floor.

In A Look at the Future of Travel and Tourism in the General Session, there was a singular focus that video and short-form social media content and influencer marketing are what’s working for leisure brands.

RocketRez took the microphone a couple of times to expound our expertise on a couple of different topics.

Passenger vessel industry veterans Gina Cameron and JP Veiga got into the weeds of managing cargo and commuter traffic, challenges of operating a fleet of vessels, and scaling up and down operations when seasonality affects demand and employment.

CEO John Pendergrast reprised his presentation on the improving guest experience through data and insights. Tracking the complete customer journey has never been available for mid-market tours until now because of reservation technology like RocketRez that connects all parts of the business.

When ticketing is connected to retail, food & beverage, communications, and guest management among other operational components of an attraction, the operator gets a clear picture of what each customer is doing, what they’re spending, and how their experience can be shaped and elevated.

Enterprise-level technology now available out of the box for all types of tours and attractions is getting the attention of operators looking for innovative solutions that will accelerate their digital transformation.

RocketRez was able to take the stage to demonstrate that we are a proven leader in res-tech. The waitlist is growing for RocketPASS as its methodical rollout continues and we scale up on our mission “to enable unforgettable experiences that bring people together.”

And of course, we had an opportunity to celebrate with many of our customers and colleagues in the industry on the heels of announcing our Series B funding - taking a few moments to let everyone know that this funding is for the benefit of our clients and the industry overall.

Thank you to the hardworking team at PVA for another memorable event. We’ll see you again next year in Portland, and everywhere in between.

To find out how RocketRez can help your tour and attraction company, request a free demo today.

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Scott Riddell

Scott Riddell is the Marketing Director at RocketRez - a leading all-in-one ticketing and operations platform for tours and attractions. Scott has an extensive background in software marketing, product management, and operations. Before joining RocketRez, Scott helped grow eCommerce developer Bold Commerce from the ground level to more than 400 employees, and over 100,000 eCommerce clients, from startup to enterprise. Scott's is helping to scale RocketRez as it expands to new markets and is adopted by industry leaders in tours, attractions, zoos, aquariums, and theme parks.