With nearly 300,000 guests visiting annually, KeyLime Cove occasionally sees guests with special requests or circumstances. Our aquatics leadership team consists of eight professionals who are dedicated to ensuring the department provides unforgettable experiences for each guest.

One individual’s experience stands out as an example of how we were able to truly make their visit unforgettable. “Ms. Smith” was planning to visit KeyLime Cove with her son. When she called to book her visit, she was greeted by a reservationist who answered her questions and provided her with information on all of the amenities KeyLime Cove offers. Ms. Smith had some questions about the restrictions on the waterpark’s slide attractions, which the reservationist answered, and she booked her stay.

Upon arrival, Ms. Smith decided to begin her visit with a ride down one of the slides. But before she could enjoy any attraction, she was met by a slide dispatcher. What the guest had failed to mention to the reservationist was that her wish was to ride the slides with her son, who had cerebral palsy. Because we follow suggested slide recommendations from the manufacturers, which prohibit guests from riding down tandem, Ms. Smith would be unable to ride with her son.

We reached out to our slide manufacturer to ask which guidelines were in place for which concerns. The manufacturer then forwarded the contact information of an engineer with the company and an individual who composes the guidelines for each attraction. We contacted both of them, seeking possible ways to accommodate the guest’s wishes.

After desperately trying to get a positive outcome for this guest from the manufacturer, we were informed that they could not recommend the mother riding down the slide with her son. Ms. Smith was heartbroken. Our aquatics leadership team met and, after some discussion with Ms. Smith, a decision was reached.

Veteran lifeguards at KeyLime Cove are trained, and regularly practice, entering slides in situations where a guest is unable to successfully get through the entire ride. The lifeguard knows how safely enter the slide, approach the guest, and safely get them through to the end. We decided to send one of those lifeguards with Ms. Smith’s son — and meet up with the mother at the end of the ride.

The plan was executed flawlessly and Ms. Smith was greeted at the end of the slide by a smiling little boy. It just took that one slide, but Ms. Smith was ecstatic and could not thank us enough for giving him “the best day of his life.”

The Lessons:

1. Make an effort. It’s easy to say “no” or “we can’t meet that request.” To be great, you need to work for it. Spend time to solve the concern. Work toward a positive outcome. Don’t just discard the concern and move on. Make the guest’s experience extraordinary. It’s worth it.

2. Sometimes the answer is outside the box. Whether it consists of sending queries out to partners or making the most of your staff’s training, the majority of scenarios do have solutions. Be sure to discuss all options. If your role is at the top of the department, utilize everyone in the team to brainstorm. Lifeguards and others often come up with excellent ideas when given the chance to participate.

3. Relationships are made for a reason. Vendors’ partnerships allow for open dialogue and an opportunity to support one another. Take the time to know the organizational structure and who would be a support system for different scenarios. They are only a phone call away, and it doesn’t hurt to ask.