Feature Article - January 2004
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Pool Profitability

Revenue-generating ideas to help keep your budget afloat

By Stacy St. Clair

Of course, water conservation alone won't put a waterpark in the black. Patrons need something more tangible to keep them coming back.

Hyland Hills has accomplished this by creating a myriad of rides to delight even the most seasoned waterpark aficionado. The selection process is done by keeping close tabs on industry trends and understanding what patrons desire.

"We're good at asking our patrons what they want to share together as a family," Saitta says.

The result has been a facility that has a little something for everyone: fast, heart-stopping rides for thrill-seekers and a lazy river for the non-daredevils.

The selections were so well-researched they remain popular years after their installation. For example, the Screamin' Mimi—a 100-foot slide with a 30-foot drop—remains a favorite among customers despite making its debut 21 years ago.

The ride's popularity helped lure 425,000 guests this summer. The park boasted enough revenue during the past season to cover its own expenses and subsidize local youth sports.

"We watch our expenses and have tight management," Loose says. "That is key."

Cleaning Made Easy

When automatic pool cleaners burst onto the scene years ago, they became the instant darling of the aquatic industry.

They were easy, efficient and—best of all—extremely economical. They could clean an entire pool overnight without human supervision, cutting a significant need for manpower.

But while city pools and moderately sized waterparks fell in love with the product, the big boys were left a bit heartbroken. The machines simply weren't mighty enough to handle their facilities. They could only filter 10,000 gallons per hour, not nearly productive enough for a massive, commercial aquatic center.

The big parks, however, now have reason to rejoice. A new vacuum, which has been used in Europe for years, finally has made its way to North American shores.

The new systems can filter 19,000 to 21,000 gallons per hour and doesn't need to be baby-sat. Industry experts estimate the self-sufficient machine will save 12 personnel-hours per night.

"It's going to cut manpower into nothing," aquatic industry supplier Carol Ramundo says. "That's a lot of money saved." The filter system also keeps the water cleaner, reducing the pools dependence on chemicals.

"They're incredible," Ramundo says. "They're really like little steel tanks."