Letter to the Editors — Winter 2024


I’m frustrated that there is no option to submit a letter to the editor in your otherwise terrific magazine. 

Typically, letters to the editor are one of the best reads of a magazine, but you don’t have any. I’m not sure if there’s another platform for that, but here are some questions that I’d like to pursue that could also make good stories.

The last “State of the Industry Report” says the demographics of visitors are changing, but there is no data on who these new visitors are. Seems like a pretty strong statement with no content to back it up. Who are these people? (See the brief explanation for this in the Ed. Note. —Ed.)

What platforms provide demographic data to help companies manage these changes? Seems like a great way to differentiate different systems. I don’t think my provider has this. How would you even get it? Are we down to asking for ethnicity in our ticket buying?

Loyalty programs are common with every single business, but when we were shopping for a new reservation system, no one had this or was even thinking about it. We couldn’t even get a report on how many times a guest visits from our system, or from anyone else. This is antiquated to say the least, and we just get a “Huh?” when we ask for this function. 

Providing housing. I keep seeing this as a topic but don’t see stories. We do this in Silver Bay (Minn.) for both our J-1 students and staff who travel to work for us. Not my preference, but essential. I also provide a house for the park manager, who lives elsewhere during the off season. Almost every employer in our area has to do this. I also provide housing for staff who are here in the winter working for other businesses.

The online travel agency topic is interesting. I’d like to know what platforms people are using and what they like or dislike. Our local resorts are bailing on these because they are so rigid and expensive. 

How much do businesses discount for youth groups? I know I lose some business because we are perceived as high-priced, but I am always shocked at how many groups don’t care about price. If I discount this year to one group, how do I keep from leaving money on the table for others who don’t seem to care?


Alice Tibbetts, Owner, 

North Shore Adventure Park, Minn.

Ed. Note:

As a business-to-business publication, we rely on the feedback and insights from operators and suppliers, i.e., our readers, to help inform and populate the content in the magazine. We agree, readers’ letters (like this one) are often great reads. So thank you, Alice, for pointing out that we didn’t have a clear outlet for readers to send us letters to the editor—a major hole in our feedback pipeline. 

We have since patched that hole with a form on adventureparkinsider.com, and we encourage you all to use it to share your story ideas, thoughts, feedback, likes, or gripes with us. You can also send letters via email or, dare we say, by the U.S. mail.

The pipeline Alice informally started via email is already filling. See “‘Tis the Season (for Staffing)” on p. 36, which addresses seasonal staffing, employee housing, and hosting BridgeUSA and H-2B visa workers (with insights from Alice herself). 

We plan to address other topics—including the current state of OTAs, how data from booking software and/or POS systems should enable loyalty programs and better marketing, and to discount or not to discount—in future issues of API.

The demographic changes mentioned in the most recent “State of the Industry Report” were based primarily on the annual “Outdoor Participation Trends Report” conducted by the Outdoor Industry Association, with data provided by 18,000 persons from across the U.S. The 2023 OIA report found that the new-participant base is becoming more diverse in terms of ethnicity, race, age, and sexual and gender identity. The participation rate for Hispanics, for example, increased from 34 percent in 2015 to 56 percent in 2022, the highest participant growth rate for any single group. 

On a micro level, individual operators can opt to collect demographic data from customers, be it through surveys, bookings, or waivers. Aggregating and categorizing it can be a task if the software doesn’t already do that—but consistently collecting this information can be remarkably valuable to inform your marketing, activity mix, products, and more. Not to mention contributing to larger studies of the overall industry. 

We sincerely appreciate the feedback, Alice, and hope it inspires others to speak out.

— The Editors


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