The evolution of an industry
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The Evolution of an Industry. By Frederick J. Inter, PhD. Amusement Parks. First Amusement Park began as beer gardens that transformed to trolley parks. From the 1920s to 1930s over one thousand of these facilities were in existence.

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The evolution of an industry l.jpg

The Evolution of an Industry

By

Frederick J. Inter, PhD.


Amusement parks l.jpg
Amusement Parks

First Amusement Park began as beer gardens that transformed to trolley parks.

From the 1920s to 1930s over one thousand of these facilities were in existence.

After the great depression more than half of these facilities went under.


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Theme Parks

First theme park, 1955 in California.

Amusement parks tried to follow but had a difficult time changing from mechanical jungles to aesthetic places of entertainment.

In 1971, in Orlando the theme park evolved to what is know referred to as theme resorts.


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Outdoor Waterparks

Outdoor waterpark parks evolved from the theme park concept during the early to mid 1970s.

These facilities were stand alone parks that attracted seasonal visitors, that grew into the waterpark resort concept.

Developed through out the United States, but the most successful were located in the South.


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Indoor Waterparks

Edmonton, 1985, focused on combining retail and entertainment.

It was the first time weather did not negatively influence waterpark operation.

This concept did not take off until the mid 1990s in of all places, Wisconsin, who further developed the indoor waterpark resort concept.


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Evolution

Therefore, just like theme parks evolving to theme resorts.

Outdoor waterparks developed waterpark resorts, which transformed into indoor waterpark resorts.


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Indoor Waterpark Resorts

In the year 2000 eighteen Indoor Waterparks existed.

In the year 2006 over one hundred and eighty Indoor Waterparks existed.

The industry is expected to double in five years????


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Problem Statement

Unlike the larger theme resorts and outdoor waterpark resorts, indoor facilities were able to grow much more quickly, which developed a strain on a facilities ability to recruit waterpark professionals.


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Waterpark Professional Shortage

The short comings of this issue have only begun to be realized and normally it is most evident when the facility has been completed and in operation.

However, companies who have developed management teams have discovered that this shortage influences the design phase and the last stages of build, opening of facility, and facility operation.


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Therefore it is crucial that the indoor waterparks take the lead demonstrated by pre-existing parks and address the leadership shortage in a similar way.

Grow from within.


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Growth from Within

Growth from within takes time but benefits a company in so many ways.

Lets look at the design phase of a project.


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For Instance

  • Indoor waterparks are designed by:

    • Owners- obtain funding, identify attractions, and determine square footage.

    • Engineers- take the owners dream and tries to match it to reality.

    • Architects- Designs the Facility.

  • Missing from this, which is commonly, is the operation component.


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Design Phase

Consists of brainstorming

Attraction decision

Several more design approval sessions

Proposed budget

Value engineering occurs.

Final Budget


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Importance of Operation

  • The absence of operation personnel on the team during design phase could unknowingly cost the company millions.

  • How?

    • POOR ATTRACITON PLANNING

    • EXCESSS LABOR

    • IMPROPER EQUIPMENT DECISION

    • AND MORE


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The Opening Process

A waterpark maintenance manger should be hired six months prior to opening, if not at the time of design.

At three months out ownership should have their operation leaders hired, if they have not hired during design.

Ideal time is to hire is at design and develop a leadership team, but it is costly.


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Six Weeks to Open

  • If the management has not set up the team:

    • Train operational managers, still!!!

    • Waterpark Manager hires supervisory staff.

    • Lifeguard training depends on the leadership team and could fall behind.

    • Without all this completed the management is not ready to open, which guarantees that administrative work has not been established.



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Lessons Must be Learned

Consultants need to be hired or appropriately trained managers need to be hired.

The culture of the management team must reflect that of the company.

A management team should be established very early to be prepared for operation.


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What Needs to be understood?

  • Managers need to understand:

    • Revenues versus expenses and how to forecast them properly.

    • How to operate safe facility (It is more than just an aquatic program).

      • Facility cleanliness.

      • Guests satisfaction.

      • Employee service.

      • Standard operation procedures.

      • Litigation.


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  • A strong waterpark management team should include

    • A Waterpark Director

    • A Waterpark Maintenance Manager

    • Three operation Managers

    • Supervisor Team

    • Head guard Team


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Developing the Team

  • Hire a director or consultant who:

    • Has advanced operational knowledge.

    • Understands state codes and regulation.

    • Has historically developed strong leadership team.

    • Can develop true numbers for forecasting.

    • Have experience with the size of facility.

    • Is not afraid to get their hands dirty.


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Ideally, Universities

  • But at this time it is not a reality, however, it will be.

  • Curriculums take time to develop.

  • Educators need time to understand the industry.

  • Colleges need to determine the departmental college that is best fit for the development of professionals.


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In Closing

More than ever, it is the responsibility of every person in this room to assist in waterpark leadership.

Poor waterpark leadership programs influence the future of everyone in this industry.


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Poor Performance Affects

Insurance, which could cost engineers, ride manufactures, and architects, as well as the owner.

By not following or understanding the manufacturer guidelines all who are involved will be pulled into litigation.


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The Company

Will spend excess amounts of money through inexperienced mistakes.

Incidents could also increase thereby spending even more monies through litigation.

Staff is only as good as its weakest link.


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The Waterpark Development Team

Should have an influence on who is operating the facility, it could affect everyone down the line, and everyone has a stake in the project.

Every owner needs to understand that there are not many people who can actually just naturally fit into the leadership position.

It must be understood that training and development is available to prepare a company for their operational endeavors, but they will have to look for it.


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Aquatic Leadership

These are specialized people who can be developed, but it takes time.

There is a shortage and it is going to be costly on the front or somewhere down the line, but the industry will catch up.

Don’t be pennywise and dollar foolish, in the end it will cost everyone.


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