In a world where guests consistently demand more of their leisure time, venues providing fun and entertainment need to go above and beyond to ensure they deliver the memorable experiences that keep guests coming back. Waterparks, both indoor and outdoor, face challenges in these regards. With outdoor waterparks, the seasonality of their business, as well as the risk for further off-days due to weather, leaves them a very narrow window in which to earn the favor of guests for both that year and moving forward. Indoor waterparks, while they do not suffer from seasonality, must be built to deliver warm, summer climate year-round, while also being fun and exciting enough that people want to swim and play despite colder seasons.

So what is the recipe to success for these waterparks? Surely while all waterparks are different, there are some standard systems that should be implemented. Our team discussed some of the key points of planning a waterpark.

Programming

Obviously, the slides, rides, and attractions matter. But that’s not where it ends; there’s a lot at play here beyond imagining the wildest slides. How do we make this park accessible to everyone who wants to enjoy it? How can we reimagine classics, like the lazy river? Guests will wait in line to try the slides you’ve created. If the slides aren’t worth the wait, however, you’re going to see them get used less and less, and people aren’t going to stick around nearly as long, which will bring down your reputation and your sales. The ideal waterpark will have a healthy mix of slides “from mild to wild,” as well as unique twists on classics, and an unparalleled children’s area.

Layout

Speaking of sales, waterparks need to do more than just have amenities for guests. They need to be convenient, and they need to be strategically placed so that guests are most likely to see them, walk up to them or into them, and purchase something. Whether it’s a snack, a meal, or a memory, if your waterpark doesn’t make purchasing from these outlets as easy as it can possibly be from the very start, you’re wasting potential and wasting money. Furthermore, guests only have a tolerance to stay in the water for so long. By paying special attention to ancillary areas throughout the facility, your guests will feel comfortable staying longer. For a more detailed look at these ancillary areas, see our recent post on the subject.

Service

In Hospitality, great service is our first language. The needs of guests come before everything, and creating an environment where they can relax and have fun is the staff’s primary focus. With the sheer volume of people, it can become difficult to create that personalized experience for each guest, but make it a priority in staff-training to ensure that each and every guest is not only helped, but served to the best of their abilities. Your waterpark’s reputation and guest return rates depend on stellar service.

Management

The right management team makes an extraordinary difference. You can have the best waterpark imaginable on paper and in person, but if it isn’t managed and maintained properly, it will never reach its highest potential. Properly managed maintenance, finance, and marketing efforts will ensure the long-term success of your waterpark that will keep it a prominent piece of the community for years to come. American Resort Management’s experience with waterparks nationwide creates environments that put guests first and drive results for owners and investors.

Conclusions

So many waterparks open all over the country, but often, we see many sold or closing far too soon. Waterparks add a special element to the communities they serve, and in order to best serve guests from that community and beyond, waterparks must be thoroughly and meticulously planned and revised far before a shovel hits the ground. The programming must fit the identity of the community and target demographics, and provide an ideal of attractions for guests and families of all ages. The layout must make every ancillary area, from gift shops to bars to arcades not only easily accessible but as inviting and visible as possible. The service provided by the staff of your waterpark must be warm and contribute to the relaxing and fun environment your waterpark strives to create. Lastly, put the right management team to work for your waterpark to help it reach its full potential.