More than 170 key players in the hotel and waterpark
industries connected at the launch of the Waterpark Resorts
Leadership & Development Conference Nov. 28 at the
Las Vegas Hilton. The one-day event offered an opportunity
for industry members to learn, discuss and network.
?The presentations were extremely beneficial and
informational,? said Steven Wagner, vice president
of sales and marketing at SCS Interactive in Englewood,
Colo. ?I was very happy with the information I
walked away with.?
The first annual WRLD Conference attracted a strong
crowd of hoteliers, facility operators, builders,
developers, architects and event managers of municipalities
who were interested in learning all aspects of breaking
into, or gaining market share in, the industry. The
educational event was organized by Aquatics
International in conjunction with the International
Pool & Spa Expo, both of which are owned and
operated by Hanley Wood, LLC, and in cooperation with the
American Resort Development Association.
?I think it was well-done. There was kind of a
who?s-who in the industry,? said Tom Lilly,
vice president of sales at Rain Drop Products in Ashland,
Ohio. ?It got a good turnout, had good speakers and
good people there.?
Keynote speaker John Emery, CEO of Great Wolf Resorts,
discussed secrets to success of his company, the only
publicly traded waterpark resort business (NASDAQ: WOLF).
The key, he told the audience, is using aquatics as the
core draw, and creating other options and activities to
bring the family together for an all-inclusive
The keynote was followed by a panel of four executive
designers, who discussed issues facing the waterpark
resorts market and shared information about their company
products, as well as others.
The 2006 Best of Aquatics winners were honored at a
luncheon, along with the Dream Facilities designers.
Six break-out workshop sessions followed in the
afternoon. Topics included a tutorial in feasibility
analysis; how to finance a waterpark resort; different
stages of design and planning; weighing costs and benefits
behind design choices and building materials; managing
operations; and achieving the best indoor air quality in
waterparks. Organizers said attendees valued the overall
?The WRLD conference was a huge success because
it filled an information void in the industry,?
said Katey Collora, marketing manager, Distribution and
Pool Groups, for Hanley Wood. ?Attendees were
excited to hear from industry leaders as they shared their
expertise and knowledge on important issues affecting the
The 2007 WRLD Conference is scheduled for Nov. 26-27 in
Orlando, Fla. Organizers plan to expand the conference with
a waterpark resort tour and table-top exhibits. For more
information, including speaker presentations from the
conference, visit wrldconference.com.