Improving the Look of Leisure Entertainment Facilities While Improving the Guest Experience

November 15, 2011

With the economy still languishing, owners and operators of leisure entertainment facilities may balk at the idea of investing in renovations or other enhancements.
However, it may be time to re-think such hesitation. For one thing, consumers are more likely to spend their money, and possibly more of it, at an aesthetically pleasing family fun center, bowling alley, amusement park or other destination than they are at one that looks like it hasn’t been “touched” in years. Even the most minor cosmetic change, for example, a new paint job or a few new props, can go far toward enhancing the guest experience, and in turn, cultivating repeat visits.
Allen Marsa, owner of Holiday Bowling Center & Lounge in Hallandale, Fla., believes that replacing paint and/or carpet is a great way to give his facility a different look. Holiday Bowling Center & Lounge is in the midst of a facelift that includes new carpet and new interior and exterior paint. Kicking the guest experience up a few notches, Marsa is also adding new restrooms and an outdoor smoking deck and patio off the facility’s bar.
Similarly, 12,000 square feet of carpet tiles were installed in the lobby of The Children’s Museum in Hartford, Conn., this past summer, said Joan Gurski, director of marketing. The lobby also sports a fresh paint job rendered in purple. Gurski said other portions of the museum are currently being painted, with the objective of creating a coordinated color scheme throughout the building to assist visitors in following self-guided tours and to easily differentiate different sections of the building, such as the United Technologies Wildlife Sanctuary and Travelers Science Dome Digital Planetarium. Meanwhile, Worlds of Fun amusement park in Kansas City, Mo., has restored its all-wood Illions Supreme carousel, complete with 64 bejeweled horses and two chariots, to its original condition. Built in 1926, the carousel until 2007 operated at Geauga Lake in Aurora, Ohio. A permanent outdoor pavilion has also been constructed at the park.
Vendors offer a variety of options on the carpet and paint front. Flagship Industries commercial-grade carpet is manufactured from 28-ounce pile. The products enhance facilities’ look via bright colors, some of them neon, as well as through intricate patterns that yield the added benefit of concealing dirt better than does a solid-color palette, said Vicki Winkler, general manager.
Omega Carpet Works has a similar collection. The company’s line includes “themed” carpets in motifs geared toward specific types of leisure entertainment facilities. Several options depict bowling pins, strikes and similar bowling alley motifs; a design for children’s facilities is decorated with brightly hued crayons. In a somewhat different vein, Art Attack services a broad range of leisure entertainment facilities with two- and three-dimensional airbrushing as well as the creation of custom murals and backdrops.
Refurbishing or upgrading individual attractions and other components of leisure entertainment facilities can have a markedly positive impact on the guest experience. Last winter, management of Castaway Cove Waterpark in Wichita Falls, Texas, initiated a renovation of its waterslides, all of which were repainted. A refurnishing of the water network and pools was also undertaken.
In another twist on this concept, Caribbean-themed props were added to Ocean Breeze Waterpark in Virginia Beach, Va., as part of a multi-million-dollar renovation. Eighty new lighting fixtures now illuminate Freeway Lanes of Wickliffe in Wickliffe, Ohio, and a special service has been engaged to “deep-clean” the restrooms monthly. Elsewhere in Wickliffe, Wickliffe Lanes features new countertop seating behind the lanes as well as new wood flooring.
As is the case with carpeting and painting, vendors provide a variety of services related to refurbishment and theming.
SplashTacular® Inc.’s Keep It New ™ Maintenance Program encompasses the wide range of standard maintenance services for waterslides, including waxing of interior slide surfaces, and surface waxing and buffing. The program also covers the repair of minor scratches, chips and blemishes found on slide parts and the caulking of slide joints. Additional services include re-coating of worn, damaged or faded exterior surfaces, replacement and repair of damaged slide components (such as cracks or large chips), replacement of worn-out decking and steel components and the creation of custom-designed slide canopies.
For its part, Art Attack designs and manufactures three-dimensional polystyrene sculptures and props. COST of Wisconsin has introduced a computer-aided framework system (CAFS) which, according to a spokesperson, “revolutionizes” the manner in which the company constructs its highly detailed thematic finishes. Computer-generated models are used to create feature replications. The process begins with the import of drawings and scanned models into the CAFS, whose software transforms the “data points” into three-dimensional drawings upon which the design of three-dimensional objects can be based.

Industry News

Prime Play Promotes and Appoints Industry Veterans to Senior Roles

Prime Play has announced the promotions and appointments of key personnel within the organization, strengthening its position as a leader in active family attractions for family entertainment centers, amusement parks and other family friendly markets. These new roles solidify the commitment that Prime Play has in serving the global markets for Soft Contained Play, Ballocity, Adventure Trail, Sky Trail® Ropes Course, CTS Zip Line and the entire suite of Prime Play attractions.
Nathan Jones has recently been promoted to the role of Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Americas. His start in the industry, 13 years ago, was with the Prime Play Systems as a Project Supervisor.
Doug Smith has been appointed as the Vice President of Sales, Europe, Middle East, Russia and Africa. Doug’s knowledge and expertise within the industry stems from his start as Vice President of Sales with Prime Play in 1995 as a startup company.
Brian Walker Smith has been named Vice President of Sales, Asia Pacific. Brian is based in Thailand and has over 27 years of experience in the entertainment and attractions industry, including senior positions across the Asia Pacific region.
Teri Ruffley has been appointed Managing Director of Prime Play’s business division. Teri’s experience includes 11 successful years with Intamin as Head of Sales for Europe.
Prime Play is very fortunate to have such a strong leadership team guiding the company into a new and exciting business year.
Track Complete on America’s First Wing Coaster: Dollywood Releases Wild Eagle Virtual Ride Animation
Dollywood marked another construction milestone on its $20 million Wild Eagle wing coaster as installation of the 3,127-foot track was completed recently.
Wild Eagle is the first of its kind in the United States and is set to open March 24, 2012. The new coaster’s innovative floorless design positions riders on the “wings” along either side of the coaster’s track with nothing but air above and below, allowing passenger to experience the freedom of flight.
In anticipation of the opening of Wild Eagle, Dollywood premiered custom animation at that allows fans to take their first virtual ride. The virtual ride takes passengers soaring through the Smoky Mountains from Wild Eagle’s stunning roost 21 stories above the park’s Wilderness Pass area.
Using the latest video animation, riders journey along Wild Eagle’s massive track and maneuver the coaster’s four inversions including a giant loop, a “zero-G” roll, and a giant flat spin. Wild Eagle’s nearly two-and-a-half minute ride includes a plummeting 135-foot first drop.
Next in the construction process is the arrival from Europe of the custom handmade passenger trains. Designed to carry 28 riders each, the Wild Eagle trains feature an imposing bald eagle with piercing eyes and broad wings outstretched for flight.
Wild Eagle is the largest single capital investment in Dollywood’s 26-year history. The park’s development team is collaborating with Switzerland-based Bolliger & Mabillard (B&M), the world’s premier coaster manufacturer. Pioneers in ride technology, B&M has built 11 of the 20 highest-ranking steel coasters in the world.
Based in the picturesque Great Smoky Mountains, Dollywood is a 150-acre family adventure park open late March through December that offers more than 40 rides and attractions, live entertainment and a dozen crafters authentic to the East Tennessee region. The park includes the 35-acre Dollywood’s Splash Country waterpark.

Industry News

City of Miami Beach Unanimously Renews Management Contract with Global Spectrum at the Miami Beach Convention Center

The City of Miami Beach Officials, Finance Committee, and Convention Center Advisory Board voted unanimously to approve a two-year extension with Global Spectrum to continue providing management, sales, marketing and operations of the Miami Beach Convention Center (MBCC) and Colony Theatre.
“We are pleased to have Global Spectrum managing the Miami Beach Convention Center for the next two years,” said City of Miami Beach’s City Manager, Jorge Gonzalez. “Coming into the city, the GS management team is committed to enhancing the visitor’s experience and focusing on the Center’s financial bottom line. In both cases, they have exceeded everyone’s expectations. Congratulations to John Page, Bob Balsam and the entire Global Spectrum team.”
Global Spectrum was awarded the original contract in October 2008 and within the first fiscal year reduced its operating loss by over $600,000, boasted an electrical savings of over $140,000, and decreased overall expenses by over $1,000,000 over previous management. In three years, Global Spectrum successfully hosted more than 300 events with over 1.5 million attendees and played an integral role in the revitalization and enhancement of the MBCC.
“We are very lucky to have Global back for two more years,” said City of Miami Beach Commissioner Jonah Wolfson. “I’ve been pleased with their work and look forward to many more years.”
Most recently, major city-wide events at the MBCC in 2010 and 2011 boasted record-breaking attendance numbers, internationally and nationally.
“Our professional team dedicated themselves to enhancing the MBCC every day. And on top of these successes, increased survey scores across the board, including Sales and Marketing, Operations, and Event and Guest Services, resulting in an overall positive rating increase to over 94 percent,” said Global Spectrum’s General Manager at the Miami Beach Convention Center Bob Balsam. “We are proud to have unanimous support for the City of Miami Beach and look forward to continuing long-lasting partnerships with all of our community partners for years to come.”
Global Spectrum Names Interim General Manager of Cherokee Strip Conference Center
Global Spectrum, operators of the Cherokee Strip Conference Center, recently named Marcy Jarrett as interim general manager of the facility. Jarrett is currently the director of the Enid Convention & Visitors Bureau, which Global Spectrum also presides over in Enid. Jarrett replaces Debbie Campbell, who has left the company to pursue other opportunities.
“While we conduct a search for general manager, we will rely heavily on Marcy who has done a terrific job spearheading the Convention & Visitors Bureau here in Enid,” said Global Spectrum Regional Vice President Barry Strafacci. “With Marcy as our interim GM, the Cherokee Strip Conference Center will continue to provide the ultimate experience for our guests, show organizers and visitors.”
Jarrett will remain as director of the ECVB during this transition. She is a 12-year veteran of the travel and tourism industry and was sales manager of the Cherokee Strip Conference Center before becoming director of the ECVB.

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