water feature indoor at gaylord opryland resort
5 Keys to Developing Recreational Resort Water Settings By Aquatic Group | July 16, 2019

Discover how the most creative minds in the industry are designing to the brand experience and bottom-line to make the most out of your investment.

Many resorts have come to the realization they need to incorporate creative water into their list of amenities, but as with any setting the type of water depends on the type of guest experience that the property is looking to deliver. There is a big difference between a “waterpark” and a “luxury resort” and as creative water planning & design continues to evolve, we are finding that with the right design elements and attraction mix, a resort can achieve a perfect balance by blending the best of both.

Before you begin developing a recreational water setting for your property, consider incorporating these 5 key factors into your planning to not only help save time and money during development, but for a better pay off in key revenue generating opportunities once the park is open.


Factor #1: Design for the Overall Guest Experience

jadewaters at the hilton anatole

As with any resort setting, it all begins with the guest experience you are trying to create. Incorporating the right amount of space for fun and relaxation, as well as retail, food & beverage, exit & entry points, service accessibility, and guest flow, are all key factors that affect the overall guest experience and should be considered a fundamental component in design from the onset. It has to do with correctly analyzing the combination of key factors: size and intimacy of the space you are creating, the capacity during any given time period, and your target demographic.


Factor #2: Achieving (and exceeding) Brand Expectations

water park at gaylord texan

Resorts need to carefully consider three things when designing recreational water settings to fit your brand: physical appearance, attractions and amenities, and operational logistics. So much more than just adding a pool or waterslide, it’s designing and building specifically to meet your guest’s expectations and creating an environment that effectively communicates your brand experience.


Factor #3: Optimizing Operations      

          food and beverage service cabanas at resort water
“Thinking beyond the edge of the pool” when it comes to creating resort waterfront settings means considering how the guest experiences will be carried out from an operational stand point.

  1.  Capacity. A need for more entertainment or buy-out venues can be incorporated into the initial design by getting creative with additional deck or outdoor F&B areas and through multi-level structures to maximize limited available space.
  2. Accessibility. Take an incorporate design approach when developing your area.  Access to everything from kitchens, to showers, to parking, should be considered in order to ensure an efficient and pleasing experience for both guests and staff.
  3. Guest Flow. Design factors, when done effectively create circulation paths that direct the flow of guests through your property, taking into consideration changing landscapes, decking areas and attractions, making it easier for people to move around and be “directed” past key revenue generating venues.

Factor #4: The Appeal of Attractionsgaylord palms overview of water attractions and water park

Water is a key driver of sales and revenue, and although children have a great deal of influence in selecting family vacation destinations, parents are looking for a fun-relaxing experience tailored to their needs as well. Whether it be for the child who wants to splash around in pool, the teen who wants to spend their day on surfing the FlowRider®, or the adult who wants to float around in a lazy river or sit at the swim-up bar, creative water done right will appeal to guests of every age, leading to an increase in length of stay and more time spent on your property.


Factor #5: Implementing a Successful Process

outdoor opryland water area

When you begin to think beyond the edge of the pool about a creative water solution for your property, you can see how all of the elements – feel and capacity of the space, operational flow, revenue generating amenities, architecture and landscaping – come together to build the value and appeal of your property. From your attraction mix to your leisure amenities, your resort’s creative water setting is all about providing the ultimate vacation destination, bringing your guests back time and time again, to stay, play and spend!


Source: Written by Ray Lauenstein, Business Development Manager, ADG, featured in Lodging Magazine July 2019
Aquatic Development Group