Waterparks & Resorts Part 1

Aleatha Ezra, director of park member development, World Waterpark Association

Aleatha Ezra is the director of park member development for the World Waterpark Association, a position she has held since late 2005. She says: “While the pace of waterpark openings and new attraction launches has been temporarily slowed by COVID-19, we know that the need for what’s new, what’s next—the next ‘est,’ whether that’s highest, fastest, cleanest or safest—remains an important motivator for operators and supplier working around the globe. “The positive response the industry has seen to how it has evolved over the last decade has been tremendous. Guests love the fact that waterparks have been elevating their theming, multi-generational ride attraction mix and their offerings of more immersive guest experiences. It’s safe to say that over the next few years guests will respond well to integrating more of what’s been working.”

Aleatha continues: “As waterparks continue to add new rides or renovate existing attractions, they will need to be thinking about how to incorporate innovative slide path designs, sound and lighting effects and creative, interactive theming to make the guest experience even more amazing and memorable.

“They will also need to continue to invest in their staff training and development programmes so that the guest service side continues to elevate the guest experience to deliver the highest satisfaction rate possible. Today’s visitor is no longer interested in the minimum service experience at any particular interaction point. They want to be wowed by everything they see and experience from the moment they enter the parking lot to the moment they head back to their car. They want to experience something that they can share as memories with their children and grandchildren and talk about on social media.”

Hannah de Bie, vice president of marketing and communications, Sub Sea Systems

to maintain a clean and sanitary park will continue to be an area where we see innovation from our operators. Technology can help that with better access to real time data about guest traffic and usage or your facilities, enabling operators to deploy the resources they do have in the places that need it the most.” “It is undeniable that the impact of the Covid-19 has been devastating for the world economy and even more so for the leisure industry,” says Amós Casas of Amusement Logic. “The waterpark sector is no stranger to this crisis situation and although most parks have invested a lot of time and resources in adapting and implementing the necessary measures to make their facilities Covid safe for both employees and visitors, the results have not been as expected. Visitor numbers and revenues have dropped dramatically putting many parks in a critical situation. This drop has not been caused by the lack of adequate measures, but rather by the reduction in the mobility of the world population, in some cases forced by the respective governments and in others by the very decision of potential tourists who have decided not to travel on vacation or carry out recreational activities given the current worldwide health emergency.”

Ray Laurenstein, business development manager, ADG


Recovery is however, on the horizon he says: “we are convinced that this is a temporary circumstance and that, as soon as the sanitary normality is re-established, the attendance of the waterparks will return to the “pre-Covid” figures.” The World Waterpark Association, is equally optimistic. Aleatha Ezra, director of park member development explains why: “The events of this year

highlighted something we’ve always known about our industry—when creative thinking or innovative problem-solving is needed, our members are more than up to the task to respond in ways that keep safety front of mind.

“Today, and going forward into the next season, operators will continue to do a variety of things in order to ensure a safer experience for employees and guests, including implementing social distancing throughout the park, requiring advance ticket purchases, using in-park apps to track who was in the park at any given time, offering F&B as a carryout option, using temperature checks for employees and even guests and many more examples. The WWA will continue to work closely with operators to share their lessons learned.

“Of course, pandemics are tricky things to navigate because there is no specific rule-book with one-size- fits-all solutions. We’ve already learned a lot form those operators who were able to open at some point in 2020. For those that did operate under Covid-19 restrictions, we heard from a number of them that guests did return in smaller numbers. And those that visited parks were inclined to spend money on services that improved their visit—such as cabanas or pre-set food and beverage packages resulting in higher per- caps for the parks.”

When creative thinking

or innovative problem solving is needed, our members are more than up to the task to respond in ways that keep safety front of mind.

Martin Aquatic Design & Engineering AUTUMN PART 2 2020

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