For Episode 6, the I’M4FUN Podcast welcomes Mr. Roland Mack, Founder of Europa-Park in Rust, Germany. Roland founded Europa-Park in 1975 with his father, and today Europa-Park is Germany’s largest amusement park, having been voted “best in the world” for the sixth year in a row by the Golden Ticket Awards. As a former Chairman of IAAPA, Roland joins Dennis live to discuss how the European leisure market is faring in 2020 and what its outlook is for the future. Not only as an operator, but also as a co-owner of Mack Rides, Roland specifically provides a unique insight as to how Covid-19 has impacted both the operator and supply sides of the industry. Don’t miss this interesting discussion!
About Roland Mack
Roland Mack was born on 12 October 1949 in Freiburg. After completing his degree as a graduate engineer at the Technical University of Karlsruhe, Roland Mack went into the family manufacturing company, Mack Rides in Waldkirch. In 1975, he founded Europa-Park together with his father. In addition to his position as managing partner, Roland Mack was also one of the founding members of the VDFU (German Association of Amusement Parks). Furthermore, he was active in the IAAPA (International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions) for many years and even appointed as its chairman − the first German in the association’s 95 year history. Among many other decorations, Roland Mack was made an honorary doctor, received the Order of Merit First Class of the Federal Republic of Germany and was inducted into IAPPA´s coveted Hall of Fame – a feat only achieved by very selected influential figures including Walt Disney. Roland Mack is married and has two sons as well as one daughter.
Thank you again to everyone that joined us live on November 18th for Episode 6 of the ITPS I’M4FUN Podcast, with special guest Roland Mack, Managing Director of Europa-Park. Thanks also for the many of you that submitted questions either before or live during our broadcast. We were not able to get to all the questions live, Roland has been kind enough to provide answers to remaining questions (see below). Enjoy and do not hesitate to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org if you have further questions!
How has your labor pool been? Are you losing good talent that may not return because they are looking elsewhere? What are you doing to retain staff and keep them motivated?
Roland Mack: This is of course also a difficult situation for our staff since they have been highly motivated during the summer and they were very positive for the winter season. As a family business we are very close to our staff and I’m sure that we can count on the loyalty of our Team Members. I belief in our business model and I’m carrying this message out to our Team Members. But remember there is a certain amount of Magic working in the park environment that is hard to find in other places.
What creative ways can attraction suppliers reach potential new customers today?
Roland Mack: Digitalization offers us a whole bunch of new possibilities to reach new customers. But I still believe that the most important tool for a supplier is the trust of the customer into the product and the supplier itself. Therefore, the personal contact is very much needed.
As a past Chairman of IAAPA, what do you see being done by IAAPA that will benefit our parks and the industry in general?
Roland Mack: IAAPA is very important for our parks and the industry itself because it is a platform to communicate and to set standards for example in global park safety. Even if it was not possible to meet in person at the trade shows IAAPA provided us with a lot of helpful information during the crises – this is where we can all benefit from the global IAAPA network.
What is the most unique aspect to you of operating Europa-Park?
Roland Mack: Well that is a very difficult question. Maybe the most unique aspect in our business is the fact that it is our job to make people smile, to make them happy and let them experience time with their family and friends. Also as a family business we can react quickly which is very important. This is also what motivates me to work hard and to improve Europa-Park every day as a lot of guests know the Mack name.
We can see from the video you sent to Dennis and from watching you live on the podcast that you enjoy getting into the showman aspect of the business. This might be a tough question – but what is the most memorable experience you have been a part of?
Roland Mack: Difficult question – there are so many memorable moments. Spontaneously I think about the opening of our new waterpark Rulantica. The idea for this second park was born many years ago and it is very special to finally be able to see the product of very hard work – especially to experience that our guests really like what we are doing and to feel the success of this work.
Does this new lockdown prevent travel between European countries? If no, do you anticipate being able to host the EMEA Trade Summit in February if there is still a lockdown?
Roland Mack: Right now we have to live with many restriction regarding traveling within Europe. Even if business travel is still positive it is difficult since you have to check the different rules regarding testing and quarantine. As we all know it is a very fluid situation that is evolving weekly. But I hope that the numbers of infections will go down soon and that this will allow us to host the EMEA Trade Summit in February here at Europa-Park.
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