Operating the Splash! La Mirada Regional Aquatics Center as a
savvy business venture has been a smart move. Since opening for its
first summer in 2008, season pass sales have nearly doubled, and
the operation has far surpassed cost recovery expectations of 70
percent. In 2011, cost recovery reached 98 percent.
Run by the city of La Mirada’s Community Services
Department, the center includes a 50-meter competition pool,
25-yard heated teaching pool and Buccaneer Bay waterpark. Features
in the waterpark include three two-story water slides; a zero-depth
play structure for little ones; two splashing spraypad areas; and a
500-foot lazy river.
To help offset costs, the facility uses an aggressive marketing
program coupled with lucrative partnerships and location rentals
for television, commercial and advertising shoots.
Staff members get the word out in a variety of ways and
organically bring in more guests. For instance, they visit local
second grade students annually and conduct a water safety program.
Recreational swimming is free during the summer, which introduces
patrons to the facility’s other low-cost programs, such as
swim lessons, water polo, synchronized swimming and diving.
Marketing strategies include online deal sites such as Groupon
and LivingSocial; as well as advertising through radio, pizza
boxes, church bulletins and 5k runs.
Splash experienced a challenge in 2010 when its Family Friday
Nights showed low attendance. Staff members took it upon themselves
to shorten the event’s hours, and feature it as a
LivingSocial deal. Those two changes generated more than $22,000
over the past two years for this one event.
Given their success, the team is currently exploring adding new
features and obtaining a sponsor to help subsidize the cost.