Water centers, water parks and spa centers are doomed to failure if they don’t precisely meet what the public wants. European Waterpark Association Vice-President Jutta Kleiber gave a conference for pool professionals at Piscine Global Europe 2018 to focus on these problems and to present some examples of how some water parks and centers have managed to make the difference.
Focus on kids and teenagers
Fewer and fewer children swim with their parents. We have to target this group right from the design phase and propose a real value-added to parents to encourage them to take their children to a water park.
Here are some ideas for providing an offer adapted to young children:
- Children love animals! This is why the Spreewelten water park in Germany decided that its Unique Selling Proposition (USP) would be the possibility of swimming with… penguins! The penguins’ pool is separated from the public pool by a huge picture window.
- Combine games and education. The Kokpunkten water park in Sweden is in a former thermal power plant. It features attractions explaining the concept of energy, creating a relevant and educational bond with the initial vocation of the building.
- Propose events all year round. Stay open all year long. As children cannot come without their parents, extend opening hours outside school holidays to make the most of the “quality time” parents enjoy so much!
Lastly, as teenagers are often in a conflict with their bodies, it is a great idea to play with shade and lasers and propose multiple slides and games so they can play with their friends.
Go after young adults
This fast-growing target group is on the lookout for wellbeing services and ready to pay the price. The possible axes of development for a water park are:
- Design a “spa in a swimsuit” offer. If older people are used to saunas and Turkish Baths in the nude, 20 to 35 year olds prefer to wear swimming costumes.
- Provide weekend offers. This target group enjoys overnighting in water parks. For example, the Tauern Spa water center in Austria has spa space reserved for hotel guests. Remember that many young couples receive spa weekend gift vouchers when they get married or as end-of-year presents. And there is a strong demand for stag parties in water centers!
- Provide a wide choice of care. Spa innovations and treatment combinations are much appreciated of this target group, as well as massages as a couple.
Designing a water park in this way generates additional income and is already current practice in tourist spots in Austria and Switzerland.
In the 20th century most of the European population were young adults. Now they are seniors. Yet most water centers have still not adapted to this target group. Here are some ways to improve services for this market segment:
- Seniors seek social contacts. The elderly do not only come to a water center to take care of their health or do sports! What they want above all is to socialize through group activities! Many seniors also see these activities as a way of remaining in contact with young families to mitigate geographical distances from their own children and grandchildren.
- The building must be adapted to this target group. For example by making the individual changing rooms bigger, replacing ladders in pools by steps, simplifying signs and installing non-slip floors in showers.
Making these changes to ensure the safety of seniors and providing surroundings which encourage togetherness is profitable as this target group is very loyal: they go to water centers several times a week.All these target groups have very different needs, expectations and interests. To satisfy them, it is essential to survey the water park catchment area before construction and to make sure to segment the water park spaces to avoid conflicts of interests between customers. Then define the events and activities for your pool!
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