News Flashes from Tourist Attractions & Parks Magazine

July 10, 2013 No Comments

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Veracity Hospitality Named New Management Company for KeyLime Cove Indoor Waterpark Resort

Veracity Hospitality, a newly formed hotel and resort management company, today announced it has assumed management of the 414-suite KeyLime Cove Waterpark Resort in Gurnee, Ill.

Founded by 25-year hospitality and waterpark resort veteran, and former KeyLime Cove General Manager Dale McFarland, Veracity Hospitality was established to deliver a unique, customized management approach through strategic asset management and hands-on senior leadership and operations.

“Veracity Hospitality is positioned to focus on the day-to-day operations, with a strategic, long-term management mindset,” said Dale McFarland, Veracity Hospitality president and CEO. “I plan to deliver a unique and flexible operations platform which will lead to optimal results for the owners, the hardworking staff, and ultimately the thousands of families who choose KeyLime Cove each year.”

Veracity Hospitality was awarded the management contract by an appointed Advisory Board representing the interest of the 65 banks that make up the ownership group. They oversee asset performance, bridging the gap between the ownership, management and operation groups.

During Dale’s five-year tenure as general manager for KeyLime Cove, he successfully led the property to become the number one waterpark resort in the Chicago and Milwaukee marketplace. He has received numerous awards and recognitions, most notably: Best Indoor Water Park, by Aquatics international in 2011 and 2012; Number One Large Hotel for Families in the United  States and Number Two Large Hotel for Families in the World by Trip Advisor’s 2012 Travelers Choice Awards. In April, Dale was honored with the esteemed 2012 State Leadership Award from the Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association at the American Hotel and Lodging Association convention in Washington D.C.

“Dale truly exemplifies leadership and is a very worthy recipient of our State Leadership Award,” said Marc Gordon president, IHLA. “His employees have won more regional and state Stars of the Industry awards from IHLA than any other property.”

Dale’s extensive experience in waterpark resort and hotel management includes Great Wolf Lodge in Pocono Mountains, Pa., where he managed one of the highest-grossing indoor waterparks in the industry. Prior to that, he was the district manager of ARAMARK Corporation’s (Philadelphia, Pa.) largest account, Lake Powell Resorts & Marinas in Page, Ariz., and is also the former vice president of ARAMARK Parks West. Dale has also held various management level positions at several national branded franchise properties, including Double Tree Hotels.

“KeyLime Cove is a remarkable property for many different reasons,” added Dale. “It should be no surprise that it requires a unique and progressive management approach.”

Living Planet Aquarium Introduces Lancer Hospitality as New Food Service and Catering Partner

The Living Planet Aquarium is pleased to announce a partnership with Lancer Hospitality to provide exclusive food service and catering at the new Loveland Living Planet Aquarium, which is currently under construction in Draper and scheduled to open December 2013.  The Aquarium and Lancer are in the design and construction phase for the new space that will include a café and banquet facilities as well as gallery space for formal and informal catered events, including weddings and corporate events.

Lancer Hospitality will begin limited food service operations in the current 43,000 square foot Aquarium in Sandy, Utah, through September 8, 2013. When the Sandy aquarium closes, operations will transition into the new Aquarium upon completion of construction.

The new café in the Aquarium in Draper will feature an expanded menu created in the new state-of-the art culinary facilities. The menu will include visitors’ favorites and new additions such as salads, soups, pizza, sandwiches and signature dishes. A new beverage kiosk will offer a variety of hot and cold specialty coffee and tea drinks, fruit smoothies and fresh baked pastries.  The kiosk will also include ice cream novelties, healthy snacks and juice options.  “I’m very excited to be a part of The Living Planet Aquarium both here in Sandy for the summer, and then the new location in Draper at the end of the year,” said General Manager Kent Wilcox. He added, “It will definitely be a premiere attraction and event venue for the intermountain west to enjoy.”

Calypso’s Café at the Aquarium in Sandy will introduce a new grill menu featuring the Calypso Burger, fresh ground beef topped with BBQ sauce, shredded cheddar and Monterey jack cheese, and roasted garlic aioli; Memphis Nachos with slow roasted pork, BBQ sauce and topped with house made cheese sauce; and a Hot Italian pressed sandwich with provolone, pepperoni, Italian sausage, peppers and tomatoes, to name a few. Calypso’s Café will also feature pizza and a kids’ menu including cheeseburgers, chicken tenders, macaroni and cheese and grilled cheese, served with choice of carrots, mandarin oranges or chips.

Tourist Attractions & Parks Magazine Special Newsletter Feature

Business Strategies: Top Tips for Best Insurance Coverage

Obtaining and maintaining the best insurance coverage has always been an imperative for leisure entertainment facilities of all types. But given the increasing litigiousness of society and the rising cost of rebuilding and/or replacing damaged assets, it is more important now than ever before.

All leisure entertainment facilities need several kinds of insurance, including general liability and worker’s compensation. The former indemnifies businesses for third-party liability claims resulting from negligence. This type of coverage can also include premises and operations liability for on-site accidents and products liability claims for products that injure third parties.  Securing an umbrella liability policy, which acts as an extension of any other liability insurance, is optional, but usually proves to be a good idea.  For example, if an operator purchases a general liability policy with a limit of $2,000,000 and an umbrella policy with a limit of $3,000,000, the umbrella extends the general liability coverage by an additional $3,000,000, for a total of $5,000,000 in coverage. Choosing such a policy comprises an especially smart move for facilities with high traffic risk and high potential for catastrophic loss caused by drowning, dismemberment, or even death.

The old adage that saving money often necessitates spending money almost always applies to procuring insurance. Bill Velin, senior vice president, Wells Fargo Insurance Services, said operators must not allow misconceptions about the cost of premiums for various policy limits to compel them to purchase a less than optimal amount of coverage. “I have seen many cases where an owner or operator thinks there is a huge difference between a $100,000 policy limit and a $1 million policy limit,” he explained. “They’ll decide that the premium for the higher policy limit is 1,000 percent higher than for the lower policy limit, when it’s really closer to 25 percent.” Should they subsequently suffer a loss, he added, they rebuke themselves for having failed to invest what seems like a small sum relative to the out-of-pocket payout imposed on them because they opted for cheaper coverage.

Moreover, insurance companies and operators alike deemed it critical to being forthright with carriers, when and whether it comes to procedures, changes to a facility, special events, or the like. “These are all factors that can have a bearing on coverage,” Velin pointed out.  At Ozzy’s Family Fun Center in Leesport, Pa., Owner Gary Seibert insists on putting all procedures in writing, conducting regular inspections, and training and supervising all staff.  He also lets his insurer know of any intended additions or alterations well in advance, so as to give the company time to make the necessary arrangements. Another operator was not as forward-thinking—and nearly paid the price—when it augmented its cadre of “tame” rides with thrill attractions without thinking to let the insurer know. Coverage was arranged at the last minute, but the carrier threatened to raise the premiums on future policies if it happened again.

On the flip side, shopping around for coverage, either through a broker for those operators who work with one or in direct contact with insurance companies, makes sense, particularly in light of the fact that insurance prices fluctuate carrier by carrier as well as year by year.  Sources advocated reviewing claim ratios to double-check whether a deal is really “good,” as well as re-bidding insurance each year to be certain of procuring the best rate possible for the same coverage.  The latter is especially important because whereas a venue’s existing carrier may change the manner in which it rates a particular attraction, another may rate that attraction differently and, accordingly, be able to provide identical coverage at the premium already being paid.  “It’s important to shop insurance companies every year to make sure we are getting the best rate possible,” said Andy Weiner, owner of Splash Zone in Wildwood, N.J. Weiner noted that he has reaped considerable savings on insurance, without compromising the caliber of his coverage, by establishing a relationship with a broker that handles the shopping around for him and knows which questions to ask carriers—such as whether safety features or measures will have a positive effect on prices.

Similarly, the Ontario Ministry of Culture, which administers Ontario’s museums, instructs its museums’ insurance committees to regularly review their insurance policies and contact other institutions (especially museums) to compare services. Committees are also counseled to inquire of several insurance companies about their experience with museum coverage, and to subsequently solicit bids for the lowest premiums and broadest coverage in tandem with the facilities’ needs.

Securing the “best” insurance also means ensuring that policies chosen do not encompass unnecessary protection. According to Velin, some carriers may try to persuade operators to invest in a policy that covers equipment damage or loss due to vandalism or theft. However, general liability policies usually incorporate coverage for such incidents. In a related vein, a leisure entertainment facility with a full-service snack bar requires insurance to cover foodservice equipment breakdown, but one that only serves packaged fare need not invest in coverage of this kind.

Finally, before signing on the dotted policy line, it behooves operators to bear in mind that what may constitute the best insurance coverage varies even among leisure entertainment facilities in the same category. For instance, a small amusement park with a small number of rides and/or only “kiddie” rides probably needs less liability coverage than one with more rides and/or the latest roller coasters geared towards older guests. Similarly, a bowling alley with a laser tag component will almost certainly require more and different coverage than one that only has bowling lanes.

Many carriers now tout customized coverage. Fun Pro has introduced customized coverage that focuses on (but is not limited to), haunted houses, dark attractions, corn mazes, forest trails, pumpkin patches (including u-pick) and Christmas tree farms. Comprehensive coverage includes general liability limits of up to $1,000,000/$2,000,000 per occurrence/aggregate. Coverage for personal injury, medical payments and fire legal liability, in addition to premises operations, is available as well.

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