Guest Column - November 2003
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Resort Report

Design considerations to manage guests and operations

By Chris Krosner


Waterpark size does matter

There are varying viewpoints by experts in the industry in determining the size of the indoor waterpark in relation to the number of hotel units of a resort. The trend today is a mixture of the two elements, allowing access to the indoor waterpark by both resort guests and the public, which can create a more optimum use of the waterpark component and creating another source of revenue for the resort.

The size of the indoor waterpark should match with what type of environment you want to create. A basic pool expanded with a couple of slides is one thing, but if the desired result is to draw people back into your resort time and again, the indoor waterpark should be designed to be interesting and appealing to a wide range of age groups—from toddlers to grandparents. To accommodate this range of patrons, the indoor waterpark should be a minimum of 30,000 square feet. This size will allow a variety of slide attractions in the waterpark. A 30,000-square-foot waterpark can be a costly component for a small hotel complex where the number of available units will not provide the critical mass needed to compensate for the investment and operating costs of the indoor waterpark. Guidelines are available to size the waterpark to keep the number of hotel units in balance with costs of the indoor waterpark.

Conventions and meetings

The guideline for designing the size of the convention and meeting space at a destination resort is 75 square feet of space per hotel unit. The basic rule of thumb is to allow enough space for the rooms, but this rule is also dependent upon the market and type of services that are being offered by the resort. Some resort owners today are developing projects with a convention facility that will accommodate display booths to allow for a medium-size product show for an adjoining convention. In addition, weddings and class reunions are using convention space for their celebrations, which require seating needs from 500 to 1,000 people. All of these meeting requirements are being driven by market analysis studies that dictate what type of business guests are available to use the convention facilities during the week and the market for after-hours and weekend use of the facility. It has also been noted that the resort that includes indoor waterparks along with convention space will attract more families during the week—in today's way of vacationing—while dad or mom attend a convention, the family enjoys the waterpark and shopping amenities of the resort.

Providing the guest experience

The sequential movement through a resort can be related to a musical score with crescendos and valleys, sightlines and enclosures. An integrated, collaborative approach between the resort owners and a design/build firm can facilitate the best possible layout options. The integrated process assures that the guest experience is maximized but also balanced with the day-to-day functions of the resort. From check-in to towel huts for the indoor waterpark and conference rooms for business guests, the proper placement and design of all of a resort's guest interfaces reinforce the quality of the development and the ultimate value for the owners.

WHAT COMPONENTS FIT INTO DIFFERENT SIZED WATERPARKS?
Kristen Z. Volk

Once you determine the size of your hotel waterpark resort facility, you will want to fit the highest possible entertainment value into what seems like a very small space. Your Market Analysis & Economic Feasibility Report should specify what components you should consider. In reality, there are a lot of variations in the possible components you could install. Consider the following guideline for three different sized indoor waterparks:


SQUARE FEET RIDES AND WATER FEATURES
Less than 15,000 Water slide
Wading pool with individual water features
Kiddie slide
Activity pool
Waterwalk
Floatables
Spa
15,000 to 30,000 Multiple water slide tower
Wading pool with splash play structure and/or individual water features
Kiddie slide
Lazy river
Activity pool
Waterwalk
Floatables
Spa
More than 30,000 Kiddie slide
Multiple water slide tower
Water ride
Wading pool with large splash play structure and individual water features
Kiddie slide
Lazy river
Wave pool
Activity pool
Waterwalk
Floatables
Spa

Source: Information supplied by Jeff Coy of Hotel Waterpark Resort Research and Consulting based in Rochester, Minn., and Kristen Z. Volk, president of Volk International,Inc., an attraction-consulting firm based in Conifer, Colo. Coy can be reached at jeffcoy@aol.com, while Volk can be reached at kzvolk@aol.com.


Chris Kronser is the chief architectural officer of PLANNING Design Build, Inc. of Madison, Wis., which has designed and built more indoor waterparks than any other firm in the country, including the nation's largest indoor waterpark, the Kalahari Resort and Convention Center in Wisconsin Dells, Wis. For more information about PLANNING, visit www.planningdesignbuild.com.