Feature Article - October 2016
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Wet & Wild Destinations

Strategies for Waterpark Success

By Dave Ramont


Play It Safe

Waterparks are enjoying a growth spurt, and by continuing to offer cutting-edge innovations, more amenities, special events, and top-notch customer service, they hope to keep riding the wave.

Safety is the biggest priority for waterpark staff, and each park has their daily protocol of checks and balances. Dollywood's Brown said that each day prior to opening, a manager will walk all the attractions, followed by trained personnel inspecting all the rides. Next, maintenance will do their inspections and then the attractions are turned on and lifeguards will ride them. At Typhoon Texas, all rides are inspected by maintenance staff, then ride-tested by water-safety staff each morning, according to Mayer.

While parks typically handle routine maintenance in-house, major repairs or updates often require outside assistance. Brinkel said they have a team dedicated to delivering services after a park has opened, including inspections, cleaning, retrofitting and re-surfacing.

"Retrofitting a play structure with theming or new interactive elements can provide a new selling feature for the waterpark and a new marketing angle to promote," he said.

Brown figures that every 10 to 15 years, they look at resurfacing at least sections of a slide if not the whole thing. "Depending on where the ride sits, how much sun it gets, how much it's used, and whether it's open or enclosed really determines the length."

Waterparks are enjoying a growth spurt, and by continuing to offer cutting-edge innovations, more amenities, special events, and top-notch customer service, they hope to keep riding the wave.

As Mayer said, "It's a constant goal of ours to keep the fun going and be more than just a waterpark."