The 27th International ACCT Conference & Exposition drew 1,138 participants to Savannah, Ga., Feb. 2-5. The mood was upbeat, with well-attended seminars and workshops and a lively crowd in the exposition—at least when no educational sessions were underway. Among the few dark clouds was growing concern among operators of all stripes over upcoming developments regarding certification and standards. The significant turnaround of the association’s balance sheet—which now shows a surplus—after its brush with financial ruin only a year ago was a hot topic among leadership.
One recurring theme: the good old days of operating independent of outside oversight, from a builder and operator standpoint, are gone, and both builders and operators must accept the reality of standards and regulation. Complying will lead to higher costs and prices for all—builders, commercial operators, camps and educational programs, and customers. That’s the price to pay for the rapidly expanding popularity of zip lines and aerial adventure parks. Higher visibility is leading to greater regulation and more documentation.
The seminar schedule and the show floor were full of ideas and means for meeting the challenge. Software options seem to grow by the day. Several seminars showed how to take advantage of it, from tracking maintenance and training to identifying the most efficient forms of marketing.
Risk management, always a major concern, saw plenty of attention as well. The several workshops addressing it were well attended.
And, for all those who wish to join the growing ranks of aerial adventure park operators, several sessions addressed how newcomers should plan their entry.
New activity options, including mountain bike rentals, were also presented to operators new and old, along with advice on managing multi-activity operations.
ACCT itself was the subject of some workshops, from a discussion about the mostly-stalled operator accreditation program (a pilot program could roll out this year, but there’s no timetable for the full rollout yet) to an open forum on the organization’s recent past and the near future.
At the closing ceremony, ACCT welcomed three new board members, including new board chair Ben Kopp of Signature Research Inc. Bahman Azarm of Ropes Park Equipment and Outdoor Ventures, and Carson Rivers of Challenge Towers also joined the board.
Check out this slideshow with photos from the 2017 ACCT conference in Savannah.
ACCT also handed out several awards at the closing ceremony. Among them:
Outstanding Marketing Video: High Gravity Adventures, “You Belong Up Here”
Outstanding Special Event: Adventure Park at West Bloomfield, Michigan, “2017 Weekly Events Series”
Outstanding Website: KohalaZipline.com
Outstanding Marketing Collateral (non-video): Ropes Park Equipment, “2016 Equipment Brochure”
Outstanding Fundraising Campaign: High Gravity Adventures, “Mountain Ninja Warrior Competition”
Outstanding Program Impact: True Friends at Camp Courage/Universal Ropes Course Builders
Outstanding Structure Design: Corolla Adventure Park
Research Grant Award: Dr. Mark Zmudy & Eric Sommer
1st: Team Yellow Hat
3rd: Team Monkey Fist
Community Service Award “The Wedgie”
Critical Link: Jennifer and Erik Marter