According to the World Waterpark Association (WWA), the Summer 2012 estimated attendance at North American waterparks was about 85 million, and average attendance growth per year over the last five years at these same parks in the United States, Canada and Mexico was 2.2 percent. The numbers illuminate how capitalizing on the simple appeal of cooling off with water coupled with thoughtful business practices can create a model for attraction success. In this issue, we look at pieces of the waterpark operations puzzle – from rides and splash pads to arcades and food service – and offer tips and advice from the experts that can be applied to all types of leisure entertainment facilities.
An outstanding guest visit starts with top-quality vendors who supply the attraction with everything from software and rides to theming services and food service products. Finding these companies can be a challenge, but your task is made easier each fall with our Profiles in Excellence feature. Attractions of all sizes can benefit from the Profiles, which offer snapshots of some of the businesses that keep the industry profitable.
With big-number budgets, large parks are in the forefront of providing guests with the latest technological advances. In this issue, and in our November 2013 edition, we offer in a two-part article a look at how technology is changing the visitor experience. The stories also provide an excellent resource for small and medium-sized parks on the next wave of advances in improving the fun picture for customers.
Stadiums and arenas are offering increasingly sophisticated menus, and the companies that feed the masses at these venues are attracting chefs that are the behind-the-scenes masters of the dining experience. In this issue we interviewed a selection of these food professionals to shed light on the trends that are shaping this important guest amenity.
TAP offers highly comprehensive coverage of the family entertainment center (FEC) industry. In a business climate that can favor the stability of affordable and local family fun, examining the practices that keep these operations in business is a valuable endeavor. In this issue’s FEC Report, we discuss how to increase profits at bowling centers, trends in go-kart racing, when it is time to remodel your mini-golf course, strategies to sell more roller rink special events and how to cater to younger customers at laser tag facilities.
We also offer a look at how haunted houses stay ahead of trends with the most popular characters and the profit outlook for coin-op capsule toy machines. I hope you enjoy the issue. Please contact me with questions, comments and suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Scott C. Borowsky
President and Executive Editor
Tourist Attractions and Parks magazine