Source: Resort Trades Magazine, written by Julie St. Louis, Marketing & Communications, Aquatic Development Group
Many resorts have come to the realization that they need to incorporate 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 may be a big difference between a “waterpark” setting and a “luxury resort” setting, but as successful resorts have come to realize it is all about how you blend together the right mix of “fun water,” “flat water,” and out-of-water relaxation that ensures optimal guest satisfaction and bottom-line results – no matter what brand you are designing for.
Combining Leisure & Fun!
Today’s multi-generational families are demanding more from their vacation experience. While a standard 20’ by 40’ rectangle or kidney-shaped pool may have fit the bill in the past, guests are asking more of their timeshare resort. To keep up with these increased needs, aquatic designers are utilizing advances in technology and their advanced industry knowledge of what works for waterparks, to incorporate water in more imaginative ways, tailoring designs and attractions specifically to resorts’ needs.
You may ask, “How do I incorporate waterpark attractions while still preserving an upscale experience for my guests?” This is where Creative Water comes into play. Experienced aquatic designers who are up to date on all the latest developments in water features, technology and architectural design elements are able to blend water play and leisure together seamlessly – creating a branded vacation ownership resort destination draw that is a revenue-driving amenity when it comes to increasing ADR and RevPOR by keeping guests on property longer.
Creative Water Applications
The concept of creative water is popping up across the U.S. and can be seen at popular resorts such as the Gaylord Opryland in Nashville, TN. In 2019, the resort added an indoor/outdoor water experience called ‘SoundWaves’ where they combined state-of-the-art attractions with modern design elements, marking a leap forward in architectural design for resort waterparks.
This property blended recreational family fun with attractions such as water slides, a multi-level play structure, a FlowRider® surf ride, and an activity pool with adult leisure where guests can relax and sip a cocktail in a tile-lined infinity pool. This blend was accomplished by incorporating design elements such as live vegetation, water curtains, a soaring atrium roof, varying level dimensions, and a clean-white interior to reflect the upscale-feel of the Gaylord brand.
Another example of creative resort water can be found at the Kartrite Resort & Indoor Waterpark in Monticello, NY which opened this Spring, 2019. The Kartrite utilizes differentiating design elements inspired by the architecture of indoor waterparks in Europe.
The unobstructed 60,000 sqft column-free construction features a barrel-shaped transparent Texlon® roofing system that provides natural sunlight and lush landscaping year-round. This indoor waterpark is home to family-friendly attractions that cater to guests of all ages and features multiple waterslides, a FlowRider®, an action river, and a kid’s activity pool.
Guests can choose to engage in water play or relax on the waterpark’s mezzanine alongside cabanas, a bar and grill, and lounge options overlooking the resort, providing families with the perfect space to spend some downtime and watch their children enjoy the expansive array of waterpark attractions.
These two examples challenge the perception of how we define what a resort waterpark is, and showcase how all types of resorts can work successfully with aquatic designers to push the limits and differentiate their property with creative water designs that fit their brand.
Delivering the Right Mix of Attractions:
Action Rivers, Surf Rides, Activity Pools- Oh my!
Water is a key driver of sales and revenue, and although children have a great deal of influence when it comes to selecting family vacation destinations, parents are looking for a fun, yet relaxing experience tailored to their needs as well.
Whether it be for the child who wants to splash around in an activity pool, the teen who wants to spend their day on the FlowRider® surf ride, or the adult who wants to float in a lazy river or sit at the swim-up bar, the right mix will appeal to all of your guests.
Whether bright, kid-friendly colorful indoor and outdoor attractions or a more sophisticated adult setting or perhaps a hybrid of both, the goal is to provide the right mix of attractions while properly theming to your resort’s brand.
Consider how each attraction, amenity, and design element supports and enhances your brand’s goal of creating market differentiation and how these images will convey the brand through marketing and advertising initiatives.
Creating an environment that will allow for effective communication of the water experience is of primary importance when it comes to attracting and retaining guests. By providing your guests with an experience that caters to the entire family, you can keep your patrons on-property longer – staying, playing and spending.
Designing for Overall Guest Experience
Determining how to showcase and blend your resort water area into one cohesive “story” needs to be based on a combination of brand image, operational functionality and guest experience. It’s so much more than just adding a pool or waterslide, it’s designing and building specifically to meet your guest’s brand expectations in each of these areas.
From the placement of every lounge chair, towel station, and umbrella to the location of food and beverage stations, control portals, and access paths, the entire design, and function of your new area needs to be carefully considered and planned in order to deliver upon the promised expectations.
A key component of delivering that expectation has to do with the operational facets. The design, placement, and operation of these activities directly affect your guests’ experience and the overall success of your investment.
Budget considerations, site selection, utilities, trash collection and removal, parking, guest access, and flow, and a host of other items must be properly planned in and around the water elements to ensure that your investment accomplishes its goal. Placement of food and beverage outlets, towel pick-up and return, lockers, restrooms, and changing areas are critical components to maximizing the guest experience and, ultimately, boosting overall revenue.
Creating the Ultimate Vacation Destination
In today’s increasingly competitive market, today’s timeshare resort guests are demanding more and more from their vacation dollars. When you start to think beyond the edge of the pool about a creative water solution for your property, you will begin to see how all of the elements work together to define the setting – the feel and capacity of the space, the operational flow, revenue-generating opportunities, and how architecture and landscaping enhance the water attractions – come together to build the value and appeal of your property. Done correctly from the start, the blending of these many disciplines should merge into a single conversation about creative water settings, and the form and function of the individual pool shapes, decking areas, and other specific attractions will emerge.
From your attraction mix to your leisure amenities, your resort creative water is all about providing the ultimate vacation destination, bringing your guests back time and time again.