Park Spy — Fall 2022

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The Question: I’m right at the top of your weight limit, and my weight fluctuates day-to-day. Will I still be able to go on your tour if I’m slightly over?

Weight limits are important to ensure the safe use of many at-height attractions, but they can be a source of frustration for customers who are just under or over the limit. Even if we, as operators, understand that restrictions must be enforced, to a guest, the difference between 230 lbs. and 231 lbs. may feel arbitrary. Overall, the Spy felt most of the people answering the phone did a great job handling this tricky question with sensitivity. What some operations lacked was the follow-up to make the Spy a customer, regardless of the initial question.

Have a tricky question you’d like the Spy to pose? Send it to jack@adventureparkinsider.com. We won’t tell anyone the question came from you. Plus, if we use it, your park will be immune for that issue.

 

PARK #1, HI

First Contact: Female.

API: Stated question.

Staff: OK, umm… Well, the weight limit is pretty strict, so I would say you do have to be under the weight limit.

API: Gotcha, okay. And I assume you just have a scale to check?

Staff: Yup! We try to keep it discrete for everyone because we know that it can be a sensitive thing for some people.

API: (laughs) Totally. I’m not too worried about it. If I can’t go, is there anything else for me to do?

Staff: Umm, not really. We just have the zip line tour here. Also, just a heads up, if you book online and don’t make the weight limit, we do not offer refunds.

API: Oh, OK. I’ll have to think about it then. Anything else I should know before showing up?

Staff: Yeah, if you go to our website, you’ll see there are some clothing requirements and other restrictions you might want to check out before coming.

API: OK, will do. Thanks for the info.

Staff: You’re welcome. Hopefully we’ll see you soon.

Score: 8
Comment: Factual, sensitive to the topic, and helpful. She never made me feel bad about asking the question, and she didn’t beat around the bush.

 

PARK #2, LA

First Contact: Male.

API: Stated question.

Staff: No, it’s a safety issue. We have an FAQ online that lists all of our rider requirements and stuff like that.

API: Gotcha… I guess I’ll check that out.

Staff: Cool, yeah.

API: Can you tell me if there are other things I can do if I happen to be over the weight limit that day?

Staff: Umm, yeah. The property is pretty cool ’cause we’re on a swamp. There is an observation deck with cool views, and there are swamp animals and stuff. It’s kind of a zoo vibe.

API: Hmm, OK. Anything else I should know?

Staff: I don’t think so. I would just look at our website and look at that FAQ I mentioned.

API: Will do. Thanks.

Staff: No problem, bye.

Score: 4
Comment: He sounded a bit distracted while I was on the phone with him, and his information was vague. Sending folks to the website for more info is fine, but give me something and don’t make me feel like I’m wasting your time.

 

PARK #3, MT

First Contact: Female.

API: Stated question.

Staff: Yeah, for safety reasons you have to be under 260 pounds. Unfortunately, there isn’t any leniency on that.

API: OK. Umm, what would my backup options be? Like if my group goes on the zip line but I can’t.

Staff: We have a couple other activities to choose from, but I don’t know how fun they would be alone.

API: I can figure that part out…

Staff: Well, we’ve got rafting, kayak lessons, horseback riding, fly fishing…

API: OK. I guess I’ll do some research before I book.

Staff: Sounds good. You can book online or call back to book on the phone.

API: Cool, thanks.

Staff: No problem, see you soon.

API: K, bye!

Score: 3
Comment: While she wasn’t unpleasant, she did little to maintain the conversation or make me into a customer. The assumption that I’d be participating in an alternate activity alone stung a little bit, too.

 

 

Park #4, TN

First Contact: Male.

API: Stated question.

Staff: So, our weight limit is 250 pounds, and we have a discrete scale at our reservation desk.

API: Gotcha. Discrete, how so?

Staff: Well, your weight is only displayed behind the counter to the booking employee.

API: Okay. And if I’m over by a pound or two?

Staff: That’s a tough one, only because it’s a liability thing. It wouldn’t be safe for you, either. So unfortunately, no.

API: Understood. Thanks.

Staff: Yeah, yeah! No worries.

API: So, if I can’t go…

[Staff interrupts]

Staff: Oh yeah, if you can’t go, there isn’t much else to do here. There are a couple spots you can watch whoever else you’re with.

API: Ah, OK. I’ll wait and see before I show up.

Staff: OK, sounds good. Have a nice day!

API: You too, buh-bye.

Score: 5
Comment: Not the worst interaction this Spy has had. I do appreciate the positive attitude, and if they don’t have other activities, I can’t hold that against them. 

 

PARK #5, UT

First Contact: Female.

API: Stated question.

Staff: No. So we weigh everyone before they go. And if you are anywhere over 260 pounds, we cannot let you ride the zip tour.

API: OK, is there anything else to do there if I can’t go on the tour?

Staff: Yes, there is a scenic lift tour that you can do.

API: And there is no weight limit on that?

Staff: No there is no weight limit.

API: OK, is there anything else I should know?

Staff: You can go on our website for an FAQ page and more information on our tours.

API: OK, thank you.

Staff: Yep, have a good one.

Score: 4
Comment: Very little information came from this conversation. It would have been nice if she named the many activities that the resort offers instead of just the one.

 

PARK #6, WA

First Contact: Male.

API: Stated question.

Staff: I guess, when is your tour?

API: We have not booked it yet, I was calling to see if I could go first.

Staff: I can’t promise anything. Because being right on the higher end there, there is some like problems on the platform.

API: Oh, OK.

Staff: Not like a safety thing or anything, but you bump—I am also very close to the top of the weight limit as well—but you can bump into the platform and stuff like that.

API: OK.

Staff: We typically weigh people and if someone’s over, they can’t go.

API: Oh, OK.

Staff: I know I am not giving you the best answer (laughs), and yeah, when you’re right at the edge and fluctuating day to day, it can be tough.

API: Yes, it is hard not knowing if I can go or not. Are there other activities to do if I cannot go?

Staff: Yes, you could go up the gondola, and we have a restaurant and a bar up at the top.

SAM: OK, great.

Staff: Yeah, so everyone would go up the gondola and you can hang up there or something.

SAM: OK, thank you for your help.

Staff: You bet.

Score: 4
Comment: He was a very nice guy and you could tell he was trying, but having a clear answer would inspire more faith on my end.

 

PARK #7, OR

First Contact: Female.

API: Stated question.

Staff: Umm, unfortunately we are strict about the weight limit, so you wouldn’t be able to go on the tour, but they would give you a full refund.

API: OK, so we would need to book online and then get weighed when we arrive.

Staff: Yes, that is correct.

API: OK. Are there any other activities to do if I cannot go on the tour?

Staff: Yes, there is a scenic lift ride that is $26 and it takes you to the top of the mountain. You can hang out at the lodge up there and enjoy drinks and food. At the bottom in the base area there are also nice places to sit outside and enjoy the area. There is lots of seating outside and stuff.

API: OK, great. Is there anything else I should know to prepare?

Staff: We just want to make sure everyone’s wearing the proper clothes. Close toed shoes the whole time, everyone has either shorts or pants, not skirts or anything like that. But that is about it.

API: OK thank you for your help.

Staff: Yep have a good day..

Score: 6
Comment: She was to the point, upbeat and wasn’t rude about my question. She could have mentioned the other activities the resort offers, or at least directed me to the website.

 

PARK #8, CO

First Contact: Female.

API: Stated question.

Staff: No, the weight limit exists for a reason. (oh, really? and the reason is … ? Thanks for the snark.)

API: Oh. OK, sorry. So, I presume you weigh everyone at check-in?

Staff: (condescendingly) Yeah, we have to. It’s a pretty quick and easy process.

API: Alright. Well thanks, I guess. Is there anything I can do if I don’t meet the weight requirement?

Staff: (annoyed and a bit combative) Like, other activities?

API: Yes.

Staff: Yeah, we have axe throwing, whitewater rafting, off-roading … Have you been to the website?

API: No, not yet. I will check it out, though.

Staff: For sure a good idea. It’s [states website].

API: OK. Thanks.

(Awkwardly long pause.)

Staff: Do you have another question?

API: I guess not! Have a good day.

Staff: Buh-bye.

Score: 2
Comment: Ouch. There’s straight to the point, and then there is downright rude. So sorry for bothering you with my potential business.

 

PARK #9, AK

First Contact: Female.

API: Stated question.

Staff: Yes, both of our zip line options have a weight limit of 250 pounds. We do have to be strict on that because first and foremost, it’s a safety thing.

API: What can happen if I’m a few pounds over?

Staff: Umm, well, it mostly has to do with speed. If you come into a platform too fast, it can be dangerous for you and the guide on the platform. And some of our lines have some slack in them toward the end and if you’re too heavy or too light, you could get stuck.

API: Oh! That doesn’t sound like fun.

Staff: (laughs) No, definitely not. We have ways of getting you to the platform, but yeah… those are the two big reasons.

API: OK, thanks. What else could I do if I can’t zip line?

Staff: Lots! Have you been to our website? We have a ton of crazy-fun adventures, like off-road karts, and a whole bunch of sightseeing tours. Just depends on how much time you want to spend here and how adventurous you are feeling. We have a few airplane sightseeing tours!

API: Oh, wow … I did go to your website, but I went straight for the zip line information. I’ll check out those options.

Staff: Cool! Yeah, check that out, and feel free to call me back if you have any questions. I would suggest booking as early as possible, though, since space fills up pretty quickly, especially on the weekends.

API: Alright, will do. Thanks for your help!

Score: 10
Comment: THAT is how it is done! She anticipated where the conversation was going and was full of helpful knowledge. “Call me back” is a great way to keep the door open after sending a customer away to do some more research, too.
Identity Revealed: Kawanti Adventures, AK.

 

Debrief:

There is a difference between a direct response and a dismissive one. In every case, the answer to my questions was, rightfully, no—restrictions in place for safety must be strictly observed. The most successful calls, though, offered some explanation for that no, and some empathy for my situation. Being direct doesn’t have to mean being short with a customer, and explanations and details can add sensitivity to a response.

Almost every rep directed me to their website for more information. Some did this to better effect than others. Reps that provided a website in addition to other information, rather than in lieu of other information, made me feel like they were engaged in solving my problem. And the invitation to call back after reviewing the site really went a step further in making me feel helped on the call.

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