Digital marketing for attractions and what lies ahead post opening. With Johnny Lyle

In today’s Skip the Queue episode I speak with Johnny Lyle, Marketing and Digital Director for the attractions industries.

Johnny advises Sundown Adventureland, Audley End Miniature railway and his work with BeWILDerwood won a coveted DBA gold award and Drum Grand Prix for best Marketing Launch.

We discuss how he’s advised attractions about digital marketing throughout lockdown and what lies ahead for attractions in the UK.

“Keep your costs to an absolute minimum and maximise the fun.”

What will you learn from this podcast?

  • Digital marketing advice for attractions pre and post Covid
  • What lies ahead for the sector in the UK
  • The biggest surprise in last few months
  • The worst job he’s ever had

To listen to the full podcast, search Skip The Queue on iTunes, Google Podcasts and Spotify to subscribe. You can find links to every episode and more at www.rubbercheese.com/podcast.

You can also read the full transcript below.

The interview

Your host, Kelly Molson

Our guest, Johnny Lyle


Kelly Molson: Johnny, welcome to the podcast. It’s so lovely to have you on today.

Johnny Lyle: Well, thank you for having me.

Kelly Molson: So we were introduced quite early on in lockdown weren’t we by a mutual friend of ours, lovely Rachel. And I think for me, that’s been one of the really great things about this situation. Always looking at the positives. I’ve been able to talk to some really interesting and really fun people because everyone’s had a little bit more time to give up, but we don’t know each other that well. So what I’d like to do at the beginning of any of our podcast interviews is just do a little icebreaker round. Now you haven’t been able to prepare any answers for this, so you don’t know what’s coming. You look worried.

Johnny Lyle: Yeah, I am.

Kelly Molson: Don’t be. Right. Okay. So first question. Do you prefer books or podcasts?

Johnny Lyle: Books. As you can see on the video with about how many books I’m surrounded by.

Kelly Molson: There’s something about the smell isn’t there for me. That’s what does it for me. I’ve never been a big fan of a Kindle. I like to have that kind of paper feeling and that smell.

Johnny Lyle: Most of my readings are on a Kindle now, to be honest, but these are the books that I can’t part with. So I’ve read every one in here and these are the ones I won’t part with. There’s lots more I read, but these are only the ones my favorites.

Kelly Molson: Good, we’ll come to that later because I’ve got a question about a book for you. What is the worst job that you’ve ever had?

Johnny Lyle: When I was at university I was temping and I did two. One of them was delivering for a soft drinks company into pubs at four o’clock in the morning, at five o’clock in the morning. And the other one was genuinely working at a tip, picking up the rubbish, that had blown up onto the fence around the outside. So the job site was Womble as a litter picker in a rubbish tip.

Kelly Molson: Actually Womble.

Johnny Lyle: Which was actually very well paid because no one wanted to do it, allowed me to buy a car in my first year of university. So it was good.

Kelly Molson: A means to an end. It was a good job. Final icebreaker question. This is my favorite question. So can you tell me something that’s true to you that almost nobody agrees with you on? So what is your unpopular opinion?

Johnny Lyle: That Oxford United are worthy winners in tomorrow’s and Monday’s playoffs and should have always been in the championship or the premiership.

Kelly Molson: I feel like this is controversial.

Johnny Lyle: It’s not controversial for me. It’s an absolute fact.

Kelly Molson: Thank you for sharing. We’ll leave that there.

Johnny Lyle: But depending on when this goes out, I might already have been proved wrong, I don’t know if we lose the playoff.

Kelly Molson: Okay. You are a marketing specialist working in the attraction sector. How long have you been working in the industry and what’s a typical project for you?

Johnny Lyle: So officially, the first project I did started about 2007. At the time I was running a brand consultancy, and I had just lost my father and was offered a project to work in-house with a client for a period of time for a company called Treehouse Company, getting ready. They had a new product called The Bothy Lodge Company and they wanted to take it to IPO. So I went in a acting Market Director for a few months to get them ready for that. Treehouse company had a contract to build a tree house adventure play place over in Norfolk, which at the time was going to be called Kingswater, which ultimately became BeWILDerwood.

Kelly Molson: Great. Yeah, that went well.

Johnny Lyle: So I met my now very, very good friend, Simon Egan, who I still work with because we’ve now got a company together, CAPCo where we build great big adventure, play things. We’ve done Castle Howard, and Culzean, and Lowther Castle, and Fort Douglas and places like that. So we started that and it just took off our plan was to have 35,000 visitors a year in the first year. And we got 12,000 in the second week.

Kelly Molson: Gosh.

Johnny Lyle: And then it just went ballistic. It was just total overnight success it won a THEA as the Best Children’s Attraction in the worldish at the time. It won DBA gold, it won the Drum Grand Prix for Best Marketing Launch.

It just cleaned up it won everything. A Treehouse Company won tons as well that year actually as well. So it was quite good. And then from that, just more and more people asked me whether I would get involved with them. And eventually, I left the design agency, my own design agency and sold it to my partners, so I could focus more on this.

Kelly Molson: Nice.

Johnny Lyle: So probably eight years full time now in doing this.

Kelly Molson: So as an agency owner myself, you’ve got a coveted DBA award.

Johnny Lyle: Yeah. And it was the first time we’d ever entered that. And it was the same year as the launch of the MINI. So we were up there with… And the Beijing Olympics won, I think at the same time as well, or was that when we won the THEA? So it was a good year.

Kelly Molson: Nice. So it’s eight years that you’ve been working as a Consultant. What kind of things do you get involved in now? How do you advise attractions?

Johnny Lyle: There are two sorts of typical… Sure you’d expect me to say there’s nothing typical, but there are two types of work. The first one is when an attraction’s failing or something’s gone wrong. A couple of years ago, I had two in succession where the digital agency had built the website and left it blocked from Google as they launched it, and cost them all of their web traffic. And so I went in to find out what was wrong and sort it out. And then the second is when they want a new way of thinking. So it might be reviewing their internal team. It might be to reposition the attraction. So the one near South of Walden that you know well is Audley End Miniature Railway. So we moved that from being a minute railway, the old miniature railway enthusiastic would go to, into being a family attraction where young families would go.

And in doing so, again, grew it from 50,000 to 110,000 a year in profitability. So those are the sorts of things, but I guess the main part of it is I don’t want to be the one necessarily going in and actually doing the work. I’d much rather if there was already an in house team there and they needed training, or upskilling or help with some rethinking really more than anything. I’m certainly not trying to go in and replace anyone. I don’t want their jobs. I’m not a threat to them. In theory, I should only ever be an asset to them.

Kelly Molson: So how has it been for you throughout this period? Attractions have been closed, it’s been really difficult. You talked a little bit there about a typical project for you, taking the visitor numbers from 50,000 up to 100,000 plus. At the moment, that’s really challenging. We’ve got attractions that have got capped to capacity. They can only take so many people through the doors and that’s if some of them can open and they’re able to open within the restrictions that we’ve currently have in terms of people’s safety. So how has it been for you during lockdown? What have you been able to help them with and advise them with?

Johnny Lyle: The main thing for me was continuing to communicate. Is actually keep talking, try and keep front of mind because with everyone, loads of people just furloughed all their marketing stuff almost overnight. So that made it really difficult because there weren’t people that do the work. So it’s been trying to keep a low level of communication without certainly not whining, keeping positive, keeping sort of say, “We’re really looking forward to having you back when we can.” And making sure that they could see that you were taking every step to protect them going forward. And it’s still a fun place to look forward to coming back to. But it was a real challenge because almost everyone switched off. I think everyone went into total rabbit in the headlights, no one knew what to do.

So certainly the attractions I worked with, they just went very, very quiet. There was big stress in terms of choosing when to close. And I think with the ones I worked with the most closely, they closed early, they actually went a bit early and got really, really good feedback from their customers for it in both cases, in the two I worked very closely with. So now it’s a case of making sure you don’t go back too early, and don’t suddenly aim for as big a capacity as you could possibly get away with because I just don’t think people are going to feel safe.

Kelly Molson: Yeah, I think you’re right actually. And that’s similar conversations that we’ve been having with our clients is they need to be ready, and they need to make sure that they’ve worked through the procedures and they need to make sure that it is safe and welcoming, and a happy place for people to be back out. So I think you’re totally right about people not rushing into reopening, it’s the right way to approach it. We’ve had similar conversations with the clients that we work for in terms of trying to keep that conversation going, even while you’re closed. If you can’t be open and have people there still be part of that conversation, did you speak to any clients around virtual tours or producing content that people could use at home as well?

Johnny Lyle: We did a lot of that. Sundown Adventureland it was a peaceful old attraction. They produced a lot things for kids to do at home. So there’s lots of coloring, lots of little puzzles and all sorts of bits. And we did one behind the scenes tour about how one of the rides was actually made for those who were interested. And that went really well. And I think that was one of my lessons I think was be generous, give stuff away because it will come back. You’ll be rewarded by being generous. Don’t be grabby at all. I think there was people charging for some of these downloads at one point and that very, very quickly got stopped. So the ones I worked with didn’t do masses because they’re not particularly big attractions. They’re like up to 300,000ish that tends to be where I work. So they didn’t do masses because they don’t necessarily have really, really distant appeal. They’re still relatively local markets. So it was a balance between keeping them on board, and not talking to them too much again on the nerves.

Kelly Molson: Yeah. It’s a fine line, isn’t it? Because, like you say, a lot of the teams were furloughed and they’re running a really scale back skeleton team. You want to help, but you don’t want to be imposing. You don’t want to be a burden or an annoyance to them at any point as well.

Johnny Lyle: But the big opportunity that I think we did take was it was a fabulous opportunity. The other guy Blink, there was that little story about Pepsi and Coke in the Cola Wars. Was it was a brilliant opportunity to really work on your SEO and really work on the content of your site. So I did a lot of that, a lot of groundwork and a lot of work on Google Business, looking at local links and citations and getting that groundwork in that will come back when people start searching again for what to do. And that was, I’ve loved that that’s been brilliant and I’m quite looking forward to seeing what the results of some of those are going to be.

Kelly Molson: Yeah, that’s nice, isn’t it? Like you say, put the groundwork in while you were closed. If you could focus on some of those things, getting all your ducks in a row, as they say.

Johnny Lyle: Yeah.

Kelly Molson: You’re going to be in a better place for when you open. The weekend is approaching where attractions if they can and are able to open safely, they will be. What’s the current mood like with some of your attractions as they start to plan that opening?

Johnny Lyle: Nervous, I think. And I think nervous for their teams as well because they’re very close to their teams. They want to make sure they’re not putting their own teams at risk, but the business model is going to be completely different. The critical bit in the first few weeks is going to be TripAdvisor reviews and Facebook reviews. What people say, because they’re going to make or break attractions, I think in the next few weeks. And if people have gone into… They’re going to allow too many people in and people don’t feel safe, they’re not going to be afraid to tell other people.

And I think then you will destroy the whole of the rest of your year, if you try and take too many. If you go much above 30% capacity, 40% capacity by the summer, then I think you really are taking a massive risk. And the next big one I think is going to be most attractions, have an indoor Christmas experience. If you get it wrong now you’re not going to have any form of indoor Christmas experience either. You’ve got to get it right. You’ve got to not take too much or try and take too much now because otherwise, I think you could lose everything.

Kelly Molson: Gosh, it is quite frightening to think about that, isn’t it? Christmas at the moment seems like really far away, but obviously we know that a lot of the Christmas campaigns start to be planned now…

Johnny Lyle: Yeah.

Kelly Molson: ..If not just before now. And things like Halloween and those kind of activities too start to be planned. It’s just really difficult even with a capacity of 30%, like you say, that’s been set, we still don’t really know if they’re going to achieve that. What we’ve seen recently, which has been brilliant is the overwhelming demand for zoos and outdoor activities.

Johnny Lyle: Yeah.

Kelly Molson: We’re not sure that we’re going to get the same resurgence for indoor attractions, and that’s the big challenge for them I think at the moment.

Johnny Lyle: No, people are still definitely more nervous about indoor, aren’t they? There’s no doubt about that. The problem is though, I think for a lot of attractions. Their business model’s got to change because if you think a lot of attractions, summer can be 30%, 40% of turnover. Christmas can again be 25, 30% of turnover. If you could only operate on 30, 40% capacity on your biggest months, then your business model means you’re already going to do 40% of your annual turnover potentially. So you’ve got to be able to get through until at the earliest next summer I think before we could be back to any form of normality.

Kelly Molson: So what kind of things have you been advising your clients that they can do now, and then they can continue to do for the future? Because the bigger question is what is the future for attractions? And at the moment, that’s a really tough question to ask because I think that most of us sitting here, we don’t know what the next two weeks will bring, let alone where the next two months will bring. But what are your thoughts on what attractions can do now to start boosting their marketing? Have you been looking at advising your clients about what they can do now and for the next few months?

Johnny Lyle: I think the main thing is trying to welcome people back, trying to make sure that it is fun. It’s more about having fun than them thinking they’re at risk. If they’re walking into an attraction, looking over their shoulder thinking, “Oh, I wonder if he’s got it. I wonder if they’ve got it.” Then they’re not going to come back. So the main one I’ve been rabbiting on about all the time is making sure that your staff are smiling because that smile first ask questions later has always been something I’ve tried to work to. And I think if you don’t make it a fun place to be first and foremost, people won’t come back. Other than that, it’s hunkered down and make sure you try, and keep your costs to an absolute minimum and maximize the fun and try and survive. I know that sounds incredibly negative, unless you’ve really done the math, I think it’s going to be an incredibly tough period for most attractions.

Particularly, the ones who are highly geared. So the ones who borrowed money, big money in the last few years, and they’re dependent on the numbers. Like the Merlins of this world, who they are going to find it very, very tough. Because I know people will go back, I know they’re open and that you can walk around the grounds now. They’re going to be operating on tiny capacities, aren’t they?

Kelly Molson: Yeah, I guess that’s something that we’ve been talking a little bit about the last couple of weeks at the studio actually, maximizing the revenue from the visitors that can come through your doors. How are you looking at the retail environment that you’ve got on-site? Most attractions are opening and offering booking time slots. So that’s something that we’ve been talking to our clients about. Can they book food slots while they’re there? Can they book a slot in the retail environment so that they feel safer, but also you’re driving them to maybe while they’re there just capture as much revenue from them as you possibly can? At that point. I don’t know if that’s something that you’ve been talking to your clients about as well?

Johnny Lyle: Not much, but I did a big Zoom the other day with about 10 attractions, the CAPco clients, we spoke to a lot of them. And one really interesting one was Bean who runs Chobham Adventure Farm, he’s a real innovator. So they’re doing it on time slots, two or three-hour time slots can’t remember. But each of the people who are booking are being allocated a table within the place as well. They’re doing full food service, it’s still you walk up and you get your food, but there’s obviously social distancing within the queuing because food is a really important part of their offer. But they’re also offering the ability for people to upgrade. It’s a bit [inaudible 00:18:02], but you can actually choose which table you want for a little bit extra.

Kelly Molson: Okay.

Johnny Lyle: So you can get a table in one of the better areas.I think there’s a real danger though that attractions are… If you’re caught profiteering. If you’re caught putting prices up, if you’re caught doing anything like that, then again that will come back and haunt you. It’ll come back in reviews. And we’ve seen that on Amazon, actually, Amazon has kicked off a lot of suppliers who were profiteering who were doing the 500-pound toilet roll trick or whatever. If they’re doing it, then TripAdvisor, Facebook, they’re going to do it just from your reviews.

So I think it’s about trying to increase the well time, so that people will eat. Retail is going to be really difficult because all the advice has come from the government and that has come from fan and all the other bodies has said, don’t direct people out through your shop.

So retail in attractions is going to be very hard hit. But I think what we’ve looked at is more pop ups is to make more other small places around the park. So actually you can go and get an ice cream; you can go and get a drink; you can go and get a slushee; you can go and buy a memento somewhere else. So it’s not all in one big retail environment.

Kelly Molson: Right, so you’re not funneling people through that area. I guess, it’s hard to swallow because we do obviously have to consider that a lot of us are going to be… This is a difficult time for so many people and we’re going to be struggling in time in terms of what money we actually have coming in. So not everybody’s going to have the same amount of free money that they had to spend previously, isn’t it? And you need to get that marketing… you need to get it really right. It has to be really sympathetic and empathetic.

Johnny Lyle: Yeah. But a lot of people have been furloughed remember, and being on full pay or 80% pay sitting at home, doing nothing with almost no outgoing. So all the research again showed a different view, did a lot of research, and ALVA did a lot of research. All of that research said in the sentiment surveys that people weren’t expecting to be discounted, they were quite happy to come back and pay full price. And I think we’ve seen that already again with the zoos. I know we have with Cotswold Wildlife Park as well, even at some of the bits the attractions are closed. They’re actually still quite happy to come in and pay, which is really encouraging. I guess at this stage, it’s probably the very loyal customers who are coming back first and some of the others will be more choosy.

I’ve seen a lot of talk on Facebook again from customers saying, “It’s too early for us yet. We’re still shielding.” Or, “Little Doris is not well enough. We don’t want to take that risk.” So if you make it, so it’s a great place to be for your regular customers and try and live off that, and work with them and make sure they have a great time. Then the others will come back. I’m sure.

Kelly Molson: Yeah. So big question. And I know it’s probably one that can’t be answered, but what do you think that the future looks like for attractions in the UK?

Johnny Lyle: I think it’s going to be tough. I think there’ll be some weeding out. I think there’s going to be a big unemployment hit, which is going to be harder for attractions because whilst people are on furlough, they’re not being laid off by companies and we’re already seeing it in the Northwest. There’s some adjustment, Airbus are laying people off. I think Derby, Rolls-Royce are laying people off. There’s going to be layoffs in some quite big numbers around. So that’s going to hit the economy very hard and it’s still a discretionary spend. So you just got to make sure that we deliver great value and great fun and an escape. The advantage we’ve got this year is that less people are going to be traveling overseas. So more people are going to be staycationing and enjoying what’s around them.

But I don’t think I’ve got any specific long-term thoughts yet. We’ve just got to see how this emerges as we come out. But I think the weaker ones will really struggle. We’ve already seen it in our football. I know you like your football as well, but Wigan are going out of business and there’s going to be others like that, aren’t there? And football is a bit of a mess in lots of ways. So I think the attraction because it’s again, a discretionary spend. It’s something that people do for fun is going to be challenged.

Kelly Molson: Yeah. Yeah. You mentioned football. I might as well get it out in the open about being a Tottenham fan, which-

Johnny Lyle: I knew that.

Kelly Molson: … has its pros and cons. Similarly, Lee and I have both got… we have season tickets and we have no idea when we’re going to go back and we have no idea how that’s going to work or.

Johnny Lyle: Yeah. If you take some of the bigger attractions, one of my favorite attractions I’ve ever been to is Puy du Fou in France, incredible. No rides, but all shows. It’s got 10 different shows. It’s the most incredible attraction I’ve ever been to. And then you’ve got there’s the one Kynren up in Newcastle, or North East, which I’ve been to as well, which grew from Puy du Fou. On the big evening show at Puy du Fou it only runs about 50 nights a year or so. They’ve got 14,000 people in a stand, all right next to each other, sitting next to each other and 2000 people in the cast, how are they going to run that? It can’t run unless you can fill it because it can’t possibly be profitable. It’s going to be so difficult for them.

And they’re going to have to adjust their business model. They’re either going to have to build massive temporary stands to allow that many people to sit there, but be twice as far apart, or they’re going to say, “Well, we’re outside anyway. So it’ll probably be okay.” There’s really obviously really major adjustments to come. And I think one of the other ones, again, I know I mentioned Merlin before. If you take the big rides, the really big thrill rides. A lot of the time on those rides is spent in the pre-show is the queuing section, and the pre-show evolved because they were trying to make it so you weren’t really queuing you were actually enjoying the pre-show. You were being warmed up, ready for the ride. Most of those are indoors. A lot of those are going to have to be removed.

So if all you’re going to do is walk straight onto the front a long social distance queue and then walk and get onto the ride without as much as the pre-show, it’s just not going to be as much fun. You’re not going to have be warmed up in the same way. So you’re not going to be having the same level expectation about that ride. So that will be quite different, I think again.

Kelly Molson: Yep. So opening up, but still it’s a long journey, a long road ahead for many of the attractions and the way that they’re set up. And lots of changes that’s going to need to be made.

Johnny Lyle: I sound like I’m being really negative and I don’t mean to be, but I’m trying to be pragmatic and think of what you can do. So much of that is still come back to the welcome. It’s got to be about the welcome, and make sure that the ones you can get and the ones who are, that you just absolutely welcome them with open arms and make them feel safe and loved. And as though they’re going to have a great day, help them have a great day. Because that’s what going out to these places is like, is it has to be about having a great day?

Kelly Molson: So when I spoke to Ben, he talked a lot about the front of house, and actually it’s the front of house team that really make that experience. And we know that, we know that if you arrive somewhere and it feels magical because the people are magical. That’s the start of the fun, isn’t it?

Johnny Lyle: Yeah.

Kelly Molson: So I completely, I completely hear where you’re coming from and it’s a difficult question. We just don’t know what’s coming next, but you’re right. If you are able to bring back people, make them feel as welcome and as happy, they’re in the best place in the world. What at the moment, what’s the biggest challenge that you have with your role at the moment? And how do you think that you’ll overcome it?

Johnny Lyle: I think my biggest challenge is being 54. It’s being a Digital Marketing Specialist at 54. A lot of people assume it’s a young person’s game. And so at the moment, I’m still lucky enough to be taken seriously by people with it because I’ve got a track record. But I think as I get another few years on, are you going to want a 60-year-old to come in and look at your digital marketing? And I don’t know whether people will. So it’s a completely personal thing and I think that’s going to be difficult. So I think I’ve got to evolve more into leading and training than actually doing, but I’m interested enough to keep seeing what matters and what’s changing, but I guess that’s going to get harder and harder. You’re lucky. You’re really young.

Kelly Molson: Not that young, but yeah, it’s not that long. You haven’t got many years on me. You’d be surprised. I hear what you’re saying though. I look at that and think, “Well, I run a digital agency now, but I’m 42. Again, what will I be when I’m 50. Will I be running the digital age? I don’t know.” I guess that’s the same kind of perception.

Johnny Lyle: I’ve been talking about that a lot with my family, to be honest. And it’s one, I’ve always got some form of side hustle going. I’ve always got some online business that I’m running somewhere or that I’m trialing. And I guess it’s have another go at some of them and see where they emerge, but really continue to focus on, I think more to do more towards training and leadership and overviewing than actually doing. Because with one of my clients, I still actually do all the work. I still write all the content and produce all the social media stuff. Which is brilliant because it keeps you very, very close so that you can see what works, and you can measure what works. But I can’t see myself being able to do that or wanting to do that and another five years, to be honest.

Kelly Molson: So one of the things that are at the beginning of the podcast, I said, we were introduced by a mutual friend. This has been one of the positives that I can take from this period is that I’ve had time, and people who have been generous to give me their time to chat and just to meet really interesting people. What’s the biggest surprise that you’ve had over the last few months and why?

Johnny Lyle: Well, you asked me a question earlier about, what’s my unpopular opinion. And I almost used this one then. And I think it’s how nice the weather is when there’s no planes flying and there’s no cars on the road because I just can’t believe the two are unrelated. If we chucking pollution into the top of the sky with planes, then we’re going to make clouds and we’re not going to have nice weather. I’ll say that now instead of you chucking that outside, but nevermind. But the traffic has picked right back up again. And I think I was surprised. I was really nervous at first about taking this forced time off. Because I’ve never really done it before.

And I was nervous about what the future held and work and the like. Actually, I just relaxed into it really quickly and I thoroughly enjoyed it. And I’ve baked a load of bread and I’ve made a load of lovely food and we’ve walked the entire Werl coastline, and poor dog is exhausted from it. And just actually enjoyed a slower pace of life that I’ve genuinely never had since I started my first business at 23.

Kelly Molson: Yeah. It’s nice. It’s been again, that’s definitely a plus reconnecting a little bit more with nature and just taking that time that we’ve been… I guess we have to say that we’ve been gifted it just to slow things down a little bit.

Johnny Lyle: Yeah. I’ve mostly sat down at my desk, nearly every day still. So I didn’t completely get out of the habit of it, but I very rarely worked beyond three o’clock and by three o’clock, “Oh, gin and tonic.” And sit out in the garden, put my feet up and read my book. It’s sweet.

Kelly Molson: Delightful. Okay, book. Well, that brings us onto our last question. So we like to ask our guests if they have a book that they would recommend that’s helped shape your career.

Johnny Lyle: I’m going to cheat. I can’t narrow it down to one. So I’m going nar… I’m going to narrow it down to-

Kelly Molson: You’re going to do two aren’t you? Three? You’re killing me.

Johnny Lyle: Right three. 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey. I read it probably 20 years ago for the first time. The live, love leave a legacy that bit about making sure you think about what you leave behind was critical. It changed everything about the way I thought that’s the first one. The second one, which is directly related to be honest, is Five People You Meet In Heaven by Mitch Albom. Which shows the effect of what you’re saying, and what you’re doing has on other people. And makes you much more conscious of the impact you can have consciously, or subconsciously really does make you moderate your behavior. Because I’m prone to be a loudmouth know all. And I’ve really learned to think about what I’m saying because of that.

And then the third one, which is absolutely brilliant everyone should read it is called Fish! by Stephen Lundin, which is about the guys who work in the Seattle fish market. And it’s all about choosing your attitude. You absolutely undoubtedly choose your attitude. You decide what you want to be when you get into work. That was fantastic. Then again, in my design agency days, we put a whole staff through a training session on that. We did a whole day training session just with that one book and film. And they all have had a massive positive impact on me as well as about 10,000 other books. Those are the three that I could narrow it down to.

Kelly Molson: Great. I mean great choices, but also you guys are blowing my book budget because what we do is we offer people the chance to win the book. But now it’s books. Ben had two books as well, you’re killing me. Okay.

Johnny Lyle: Sorry.

Kelly Molson: If you’d like to win a copy of Johnny’s books, then if you head over to our Twitter account, which is Skip the Queue, and you retweet this episode announcement with the comment “I want Johnny’s books.”, Then you’ll be in with a chance of winning them. Them, “Ah.” Better get my Amazon order in now.

Johnny Lyle: Our daughter runs a coffee shop in Nottingham. And she has just started getting into it. “I wanted to develop myself. I want to get better.” And so I sent her a copy of the Fish! Book as one to start with. And she was totally and utterly blown away with it and is now buying copies of it herself for all her staff, and actually running a training session with all her staff. Just to go through that because it had such an impact on her.

Kelly Molson: No, well, that’s a good sign of a book, isn’t it? I think we’ve done that a few times where books have had a real moment with us. And we’ve given copies of them to our clients, or we’ve given copies of them to people that have referred or things like that. So that’s a real testament to a good book.

Johnny Lyle: Well, I’m second hand on Amazon, they’re only a few pence then you pay £2.80 delivery. It’s got to be worth it. You don’t even need to buy them new, buy the secondhand recycle them. Get books-

Kelly Molson: I’m happy with second-hand books, it’s what you might all be getting listeners.

Johnny Lyle: Yeah. Don’t buy new, buy second hands. There’s no point in wasting more paper printing new ones when there’s loads of old copies of about.

Kelly Molson: Johnny, thank you so much for being on the podcast today. It’s been really real pleasure to have you on. Lots of changes come in. It’ll be interesting to see what the next few months look like. Maybe we can catch up again after Christmas and see where we’re all at.

Johnny Lyle: Yeah. Christmas is going to be the big one, isn’t it? Let’s see what state everyone’s in when we get to Christmas. And then smile our way through Christmas and then have a brilliant next year. I think we’ve got to write this year off and then have a brilliant one next year.

Kelly Molson: 2021’s the one.

Johnny Lyle: Yeah, it is.

Kelly Molson: All right. Thanks, Johnny.

Johnny Lyle: Thanks, Kelly.


Do you know someone we should be talking to?

Do you know someone fascinating we should be talking to?

If so, email us at hello@rubbercheese.com – we’ll get back to you shortly.

Paul Wright.
Kelly Molson Managing Director

Host of the popular Skip the Queue Podcast, for people working in or working with visitor attractions, she regularly delivers workshops and presentations on the sector at various national conferences and universities including The Visitor Attractions Conference, ASVA and Anglia Ruskin University.

Read more about me

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