Without David Sangree, today’s indoor waterpark resort industry might look very different. As president of Cleveland-based Hotel & Leisure Advisors, he was one of the first consultants serving the waterpark resort industry. In 1998, he performed the feasibility study for one of the first indoor waterpark resorts, a Great Wolf Lodge property.
Since then, Sangree has performed more than 100 indoor waterpark resort studies for clients such as Cedar Fair, Holiday Inns, Great Wolf Resorts, and Splash Lagoon Resort in Erie, Pa. With the information he provided, these operators and others have been able to secure funding and ultimately launch successful ventures.
Sangree’s hospitality consulting and appraisal firm has worked with banks, hotels, developers, management companies and other parties involved in the lodging sector throughout the United States, Canada and the Caribbean since 1987.
Prior to starting his firm, Sangree was the director of hospitality consulting at U.S. Realty Consultants in Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. He’s also worked for Pannell Kerr Forster in Chicago; and Westin Hotels in Chicago, New York, Cincinnati and Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Throughout his career, Sangree has helped build the knowledge base on the performance of the industry and, in so doing, he has learned much as well.
“As there are now more than 100 properties opened, greater data is available concerning the performance of waterpark resorts. I have found that the success of a waterpark resort is very dependent upon the location, the amenities offered and the availability of nearby leisure, group and corporate demand generators,” Sangree says. “In the early days, some people thought that adding a waterpark would make a property an instant success.”
Looking forward, he says that “consumers are much more knowledgeable about waterparks than they used to be” and, as a result, some waterpark resorts will need to work hard to stay competitive. He plans to stay in the forefront by continuing to play a leading role in the industry in areas such as sustainable development.
“We have recently begun developing a drought contingency and water conservation plan consulting report for a proposed waterpark resort,” he reports. “This plan will assist the proposed resort and the local municipality in identifying water conservation practices and responses that a waterpark resort property should perform in the case of a drought. I believe waterpark industry consulting projects such as these will become more commonplace as our firm expands.”