Can the Dreamworld Brand survive?

If you’ve been following the Dreamworld inquest as I have, you’ll won’t be forgiven at being somewhat alarmed at some of the evidence that has come to light.

Evidence presented at the Coronal Inquiry paints a picture of large-scale systemic issues into the operations and management of what was Australia’s favorite theme park.

Cost-cutting and budget maintenance is a balancing act for any organisation, but evidence presented suggest a long-term lack of governance, care and focus on ensuring staff and guest safety.

Under the Corporations Act and the Workplace Health and Safety legislation, failure to exercise due care and diligence may result in hefty fines or even imprisonment.

Australia’s almost have apathy for large corporations who are greedy and focus on profits – take the recent Banking Royal Commission – it barely causes a blip as people roll their eyes and think typical of the banks to be that way. However, when that same modus operandi is happening at a theme park, which is meant to be fun, happy and joyful, that same apathy doesn’t seem to apply. Instead, its anger and sadness that a place built for children’s entertainment could have such a lack of regard for safety.

As a result, Dreamworld has lost its innocence for wholesome, family entertainment where the cares of the world don’t exist (…even just for a moment).

How does Dreamworld ever recover when it appears to suffer from a lack of:

  • Staff training, education, and accreditation

  • Ride maintenance protocols and processes

  • Lack of written procedures

  • Lack of budget to support required maintenance

  • Non-compliance with Work Safety Audits

On the first day of the Queensland school holidays, the park was reported as being empty. There were no lines at any of the major attractions, and four of the nine rides were “closed for maintenance”.

How does a business that is being hammered with negative press, that relies on the goodwill of local residents, and has had consistent low visitor numbers in the 18 months since the accident, possibly find the resources to assure guests that everything in the park is now in tip-top shape?

Ardent Leisure share price dropped, and it lost an estimated $140m from the accident.

 

How do Dreamworld get customer trust back?

For many locals and Australian’s alike – it’s extremely sad what has come to light as part of the inquiry, many of us have such fond memories of going there as kids. Many have been on that same ride that tragically killed four guests, many have taken their children on that ride – all the while not ever thinking that it was the death trap that it was. It’s sad for the employees who have had to front the inquiry, testify and face media scrutiny.

 

Dreamworld was known as the “thrill rides” park.

It’s a simple equation – the Rapid’s ride required water to work correctly, if that water dropped below a certain level it became dangerous as the rafts can’t float property. The only way staff measured the water level was by using a scum line. In other industries you simply wouldn’t be allowed to operate without automatic shutdowns or emergency bells to signal that something wasn’t working correctly– yet here we had hundreds if not thousands of people a day going on a ride which safety was being measured, manually, by a scum line. Which only suggest archaic workplace practices that potentially haven’t been updated since the ride was opened 30 years ago.

 

There are six ways to build back trust with your customer:

  1. Communicate early and often

  2. Make every opportunity count

  3. Reward loyal customers

  4. Convince customers to return

  5. Personalize – put a name and face to your brand

  6. Harness power of local media

It would appear Dreamworld has monumentally failed on all counts – the next session of the inquiry will see Dreamworld Senior Management and Executives called into the witness box. Watch this space.