Indoor waterparks have proven to be sturdy year-round investments for a variety of hospitality, retail, and entertainment companies. Names like Great Wolf Lodge, Kalahari, and others have made this growing all-weather, all-climate attraction a big part of the entertainment and leisure industry.

Consider the $6 billion, three million square foot American Dream mega mall in East Rutherford, N.J. Even this 450-store shopping and entertainment destination has made an indoor waterpark a central component of the visitor experience.

The mall’s new DreamWorks Water Park covers 8.5 acres of the indoor complex, featuring 40 water slides and 15 water-based attractions. Notable among them: the Toothless Trickling Torpedo. Don’t let the name fool you. This high tech ride happens to be the longest and tallest indoor water coaster in the world, the park’s signature attraction.

All told, DreamWorks Water Park joins seven other new indoor waterparks this year alone, adding to a roster of nearly 60 North American water parks.

Your indoor waterpark strategy

As a pool and spa industry professional, you may be considering your business and investment opportunities. What powers indoor waterpark success? What are must-have rides and attractions? What are customers’ expectations today? Who is best equipped to support decision-making in a fast-evolving, 35 year-old industry?

One industry veteran who offers a unique vantage point on indoor water park success is Ray Smegal. Smegal is the chief commercial officer for ProSlide, the world’s leading name in water ride design, engineering, and manufacturing. Today the ProSlide team is the water ride supplier of choice for 90% of the indoor waterparks in the United States.

Here are six observations that may assist your decision-making:

  1. Plan with a vision. “Vision into the future is key. Expansions don’t typically happen with indoor waterparks because of the building confines. You must get things right the first time,” Smegal says.
  2. Put the customer first. “Know what your customer wants. An indoor park that’s too small can be a risk,” he observes. “It’s not easy to fix a park that doesn’t have the right mix of attractions to keep guests coming back.”
  3. Open strong. “Because expansion and renovation is difficult, you want to come out of the gate with the most cutting-edge attraction that will define your brand,” says Smegal.
  4. Future proof with innovation. “Developing a world class indoor water park can take up to five years,” advises Smegal. “Watch the competition. Make sure you’re not aced-out at opening by bigger and better rides down the road.”
  5. Use the best technology available. “Advanced water ride technology such as linear induction motors (LIM) have helped reinvent faster, further, and longer,” says Smegal. “The new water coaster at American Dream is a great example of that. LIM-based technology offers park owners experiences that can’t be matched.”
  6. Exceed guest expectations. “Always strive to exceed guests’ expectations. Memorable experiences drive guest satisfaction, repeat visits, and overall business success,” says Smegal.

A foremost consideration is teaming up with a partner skilled in ride selection, development, and implementation. Benchmark indoor water parks you admire and respect. The team at ProSlide is at your service with the facts you need for informed decision-making.

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