After a long six months of doing research, price analysing, choosing equipment, locations and balancing figures I have learnt that there is a lot you need to do before you go ahead and add a splash or water park into your property…
Whilst I do believe if you have the money it may very well be the best investment you make in your property and the returns will be the proof of this. Here are a couple of things I have learnt on my journey…
– Find exactly what you want and what you can purchase with your budget –
When choosing a splash park for this particular property we looked at the client market, the age group of the kids we had staying at the park and then the age group of the kids we wanted to attract. After staying at several properties there were a few key features we wanted to ensure this splash park had
- It has to keep all kind of kids happy from infants all the way up to teenagers
- it needed to be able to hold a large number of kids as this was a very large property and there could be hundreds of kids on this equipment at a time.
- We needed the water park to spread over a large space so it could house so many children
- we needed to be able to see from one side of the water park to the other so it was easy for adults supervision
- we needed equipment and access to be disability friendly (this was very important for this property)
- we needed to ensure there was lots of space around the water park so families could setup their own areas and set up to spend a few hours around the water park.
- It was really important that adults enjoyed the water park and surrounding as much as the children because at the end of the day it was the adults that made the call to book the stay, extend the stay and bring the family back.
- The heating was another big thing for this property as it was located in victoria they faced the hottest of summers and the coldest of winters. We wanted to maximise the time the water park could be used so we needed to ensure the water park could be heated in the cooler months and would offer enough shade on those 40 degree days.
- Finally we needed to ensure the running/maintenance cost of this particular properties splash park was minimal as they have minimul staff and can be extremely busy.
With help of an occupational therapist together we went out and found out exactly what we wanted and what we could get for our budget based on prices given to us by three companies. We went right down to the piece by piece price and location, we had infant equipment spaces quite widely on the very outer side of the lagoon pool (we chose a lagoon style pool with small water depth as after much research we found the soft fall far too costly and troublesome to maintain).
We then added more disability friending equipment on the next level in.
We also added interactive play in this middle section that could be interactive with equipment on the actual slide development. This meant bigger brothers and sisters could play with younger siblings whilst stilling have a ball running up and down the slides.
We also understood that all ages love a waterslide so it was very important that we had water slides for all ages that could fit both parents and children alike.
With the budget we had for this property it allowed us to have four separate waterside of all ages and abilities.
Once we narrowed down exactly what we wanted the next decision we had to make was the location.\
– Location Location Location –
Location is a huge consideration for all property owner and there are a number of things that need to be taken into consideration.
What space and I going to loose?
What income do I generate from that space?
What bookings am I going to effect and can I relocate them?
If I am loosing say 10 slabbed powered sites am I going to create another 10 powered slabbed sites in a new location to make up for this income loss?
What do I have to relocate and what is the cost of this?
What are my landscaping costs going to be to get the area surrounding the water park client ready?
This all takes time and a lot of research once you have decided on a location and answered all of the above questions and are happy with the answers it is time to prepare to submit your application to council.
A few things to think when submitting your application to council (your water park contractor should be able to assist with this)
- Is there going to be any cultural heritage significance? Maybe follow the channels to find this out before submitting to council…
- Is there going to be any issues with water drainage etc?
- Do I have the correct site maps for my application ?
- Is there going to be any local objections to my application? If so what may they be ? Have answers ready.
For this particular project for a small fee we used a third party experienced in planning application to submit the application on the properties behalf.
-Feedback is the most Valuable tool-
Now you know your installing a water park, you know where it is going to go, you have a good idea on the equipment you are going to choose it is time to get feedback from those that have done it all before.
We called 10 properties that had installed water parks from three different suppliers and asked them a number of questions including
- who installed the park?
- where you happy with the process from design to now ?
- what would you change if you could do it again ?
- what has the feedback from your guest been?
- have you had any issues at all and if so what have they been?
- what are the running cost ?
- How much has it increased your occupancy and revenue ?
- What was the total cost of installation and were there any hidden cost?
It was through these series of questions and then going to view the parks themselves that we found out quite a bit of information
- the cheaper products fade a lot
- the cheaper products require a lot more maintenance
- soft fall is the most expensive ongoing cost of all splash parks and the most troublesome issue
- get local trusted contractors to do as much work as possible and to work closely with the supplier. This way if there are any issues not related with the water park itself they can come back right away and assist.
- The bigger products designed more for theme parks are very expensive to run
- Be ready for the strong flow of bookings that will come in once the splash park opens.