Recession-proof. That's what some have dubbed the waterpark resort market. And to look at Kalahari Resorts, the Wisconsin Dells, Wis.-based operation Todd Nelson founded in 2000, one might well believe that.
"We're a drive-to destination and we've found that we've been able to hold steady," he says.
Even so, Nelson is tightening up his operation, cutting costs where possible. One of his biggest concerns is consumer confidence. When consumers are seriously worried about losing their jobs or making their mortgage payments, they're not likely to spend even a relatively small amount of money traveling.
For that reason, he says it's imperative operators maintain a focus on their guest experience. "Your guests can be your biggest marketing assets, so make sure that they have a great time," Nelson suggests. "If you make cuts, you need do it in areas where you're not sacrificing guest experience."
One way Kalahari is doing this is by offering more all-inclusive package deals. That makes it really easy for consumers to know exactly how much they'll be spending upfront, which alleviates some of the worry over expenses, Nelson says.