San Antonio, Texas, October 11, 2022 - The International Show Caves Association has recently celebrated its 9th Congress in San Antonio (Texas), which has become the first ever joint congress in the United States thanks to the collaboration of the association with the National Caves Association and the high participation of American show caves. Among them, Natural Bridge Caverns served as the host of the event.
The meeting took place from September 21 to October 1, 2022, and it was celebrated at the Westin Riverwalk Hotel (San Antonio), which gathered nearly two hundred cave managers, organisations and individuals in the field of Geology, Speleology, Mining, Engineering and Tourism, among others.
The main theme of the congress was “Strategize. Develop. Dream.” and the daily sessions held at the Westin Riverwalk in San Antonio covered topics of interest related to the subterranean world and tourism. These included storytelling, merchandising, ticketing, cave lighting and science, among others.
The opening ceremony was held at the Navarro Room and was followed by a congress itinerary which included different presentations and served to establish new relationship between attendees as they shared experiences and knowledge regarding the management and development of new projects. Natural Bridge Caverns , host of the event, organised activities and tours to one of Texas’ most visited tourist attractions.
The presentations which took place during the congress included:
Mike Konzen, Chairman and CEO of PGAV, presented “Strategic Storytelling – Creating a Cutting-Edge Experience Through the Power of Story", Mike focused on the potential of show caves and how to bring a level of immersive design to everything you do.
Matt Ross, National Cyber Claims Leader at Marsh McLennan Agency (MMA), and Shawn Tuma, attorney internationally recognized in cybersecurity, computer fraud and data privacy law, presented “No One is Immune to Cyber Claims - Protect You, Your Guests, and Your $$$ €€€” to teach how cave managers can protect their business data.
Michael Catcott, who has has been in the tourist business for 25 years; Lenny Freund, a 40 plus year veteran of the amusement industry; Claudia Yundt, Park Director at Squire Boone Caverns; and Terri Adams, General Manager of Natural Bridge Caverns, presented “Merchandising Retail, Food & Beverage” to explain the different strategies which can help tourist attractions increase their sales.
Adam Bryant, Senior Safety Advocate at Assurance, a Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC company, talked about existing ways to prevent losses in “Loss Control Observations”.
Harry Tomasides, Chief Revenue Officer for Digonex since 2015; Randy Josselyn, expert in ticketing systems, theme park marketing, revenue management, attraction operations; and Brian Vauter, Director of IT, POS, Data & BI at Natural Bridge Caverns, presented “Ticketing Trends: Are You Maximizing Revenue?” and covered topics including OTA’s, timed ticketing, discounts, ticketing software, online ticketing, kiosks, and other ticketing trends
Alexander Chrapko, Managing Director and Project Director for Cave Lighting CL GmbH & Co. KG based in Germany, and Matt Carr, Director of Cavern Development at Natural Bridge Caverns with 30 year experience at the show cave, were in charge of presenting “Cave Lighting & Development”, which dealt with state-of-the-art lighting systems and other cave developments with a direct impact on tourist experience.