The times they are a changin’ everywhere, and trampoline parks are not immune to the new guidelines and experiences businesses are navigating, caused by the pandemic. But joyous bouncing is still sought-after fun in many locations.
At Activate Indoor Activity Park in Westminster, Colo., Erik Hartman, spokesperson and director for the venue’s parent company Priority Brands, offered his take. Along with the trampoline park, Priority Brands also owns a local pizzeria and will be opening a tavern in the next few months. According to Hartman, “The biggest changes at the trampoline park is a lack of parties and group events; increased socially distancing in place; and the fact that people are more hesitant to go out.” He added, “We need to show people what we are doing to assuage their health concerns, and without a vaccine in place, it is going to continue to be that way.” Such concerns aside, he explained, “On the alternative side, the pandemic has been going on so long, that we are starting to see an increase in regular walk-in traffic every week or two. Whether that is due to kids just being tired of staying home or the fact that it’s been very hot here, I don’t know. But we cater to kids 10 and under, and as a recreational exercise we don’t require masks for that age group. It’s a place they can come and have a good time.”
Among Hartman’s tips for doing business at this time is the idea of partnering with local businesses to drive traffic between them. “We hand out coupons to other stores so we can send guests back and forth between the businesses, refer each other. We also have coupons at apartment complexes, and things like that. Additionally, we are doing 30 and 60-day membership passes, and renting out our entire facility during off-hours at the rate of $200 for 2 hours. We had two bookings right away, as soon as we offered that option,” he reported.
To keep both guests and staff safe, the facility focuses on keeping things clean. “We have both standard sanitization and a fogger that goes through the entire park. We clean hourly. Our sessions are a minimum of an hour long, so that helps us do a thorough cleaning between them. We clean the trampolines, Ninja course, air bags, everything. With less people coming in, it gives us a lot more time to clean on a regular schedule,” he laughed. “We wipe down everything, and our check-in spaces are distanced a part.”
All of this cleaning comes at a cost: “The costs do increase, from cleaning supplies to trying to get the word out. At our pizzeria, the single print menus are costing us a lot.” Still, while attendance is down in general, Hartman is optimistic. “We can have 100 people in the building at one time, but I doubt that will occur any time soon, because parties were a big driver for that kind of number. We are a big facility, but I don’t think we will be exceeding the state’s updated requirements of 50 people.”
At Big Air Chandler, in Chandler, Ariz., General Manager Ivan Esparza said, “The biggest change we have noticed, is that we have to staff more people for our cleaning and disinfecting protocols, along with the expenses for the disinfectants themselves. Birthday parties have decreased in general, and the parties that do take place are decreased in size now. We used to see 25-plus kids, now there are more like 10 to 15 when they do come.”
His top tip for drawing in new business is “Show the guests what you are doing to disinfect, show your cleaning procedures so they know what you are doing before they come in.” Additionally, he said that for his facility “Doing a lot of marketing is also important right now. We do coupons and promotions daily, whether it is a two-for-one deal, or a specific offer.
To sanitize, Esparza said, “We are using a certain disinfectant that is CDC approved, with a contact time of less than two minutes; the speed is a big thing. We are also using a fogger before and after we open and close; the fogger also uses a specific CDC approved disinfectant as well. It sprays down everything in our 30,000-square-feet.” He attested that the process takes a full two hours, both before the facility opens and after it closes. “We use an electrostatic sprayer, as well as a fogger.”
Currently Big Air is operating at 50% capacity per state regulations. “Every state and county is different of course. With a park this size, guests are more than able to stay 6-feet apart, and we have closed off certain areas and chairs, and gotten rid of extra chairs so that people are distanced. Additionally, we have made the party rooms private, and opened those to the public. So, if a party room is not booked, the people who come here who are not jumping, can go in there to feel more secure, if they have just brought their child.”
In Santa Ana, Calif., at Rockin’ Jump in Orange County, General Manager Barett Alves said the biggest change at his facility is simply “Less people, less parties. Everything is just down overall. We are doing a lot of enhanced safety and sanitation measures throughout the park as well, such as having hand sanitizers throughout our space, requiring masks for everyone inside the facility, and conducting a temperature check for all guests upon entry.” He has also added a new staff position, for employees responsible for sanitizing high-touch areas. The facility is currently operating at 50% capacity, as state limitations dictate.
To boost attendance, he is offering a Groupon that’s popular, as well as a school year pass that is “just $99 for jumping up to two hours a day, every day until June 1st of next year.” Alves said the facility had closed for three months, due to state regulations, and that he and his staff are just happy to be open again.
The same sentiment is true at Geronimo’s Trampoline Park in Chubbuck, Idaho. Facility supervisor Hayley Austin said the park was closed from mid-March through May. Now, they are focusing on cleaning and sanitizing. “Every month, we do a super deep clean; every night we clean using sanitizer, and we clean between groups of people during the day.” Geronimo’s focuses on social distancing; masks are not required.
Business is on the upswing. “We have been pretty busy, which surprised us at the start,” Austin said. While not required to limit to this extent by the state, the park itself is limiting attendance to a maximum of 100 people. Geronimo’s physical space is designed to handle a capacity as large as 250 in the building.
To drive business to the park, Austin said the park is offering summer passes for $50 until September. “We had to step right in to bring in lots of business and make up for the time we were closed.”
In short, trampoline parks are still jumping, but with smaller attendance numbers, and with the implementation of a variety of rules to keep things safe and clean.