Park Spy—Spring 2021

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The question: Do you have Wi-Fi so I can work while my family plays?

PARK #1, WI

First contact: Female.
API: Stated question.
Staff: Yeah! So, first question I have is how old your kids are. We don’t allow kids under the age of 14 to climb alone.
API: No worries! They’re 15 and 16.
Staff: OK, cool. In that case, you could definitely hang out and do some work. We don’t have a specific place, like no tables or anything, but if you bring a camp chair or something you could watch them on the course and work.
API: Cool! Do you have Wi-Fi that reaches to the course?
Staff: Oh shoot, no, but I guess you could use your cell phone? We do get good service here.
API: That would be fine.
Staff: Cool! Any other questions I can answer for you?
API: Nope, thanks!

Score: 9
Comment: Super friendly and provided options to make it work.

 

PARK #2, KY

First contact: Female.
API: Stated question.
Staff: Ummm, I’m not really sure. We weren’t letting people hang out in our visitors center because of Covid, but I think that’s changing soon.
API: OK, do you know when you might have updated information? Or do you have picnic tables or something outside?
Staff: I don’t, unfortunately. I know we’re hoping we can change up some of the rules come summer. Do you know when you were planning to come?
API: Probably in the next couple of weeks while the kids are off for spring break.
Staff: Yeah, unfortunately, until we change up the Covid rules, I don’t think we really have what you’re looking for. But once we do, we hope to see you!
API: OK, thanks!

Score: 7
Comment: The rules and regulations around Covid are changing and it was clear that she honestly felt bad that she couldn’t accommodate me right now, which is OK. Bonus points for the invitation to come back another time.

 

PARK #3, NY

First contact: Male.
API: Stated question.
Staff: Ummm, you mean you don’t want to participate?
API: Well, as much as I would love to, I’m really looking for something my family can do even though I still have to work.
Staff: (shocked tone) But, it’s really fun!
API: Totally, that’s why I want to bring my family.
Staff: Right. Ummm, we do have Wi-Fi but it’s not a super strong signal. I mean, you could work from your car, I guess?
API: OK, you don’t have picnic tables or somewhere I could post up?
Staff: Not really.
API: OK, thank you.

Score: 3
Comment: Yes, I understand that it’s fun, but maybe don’t be so offended that not everyone can/wants to participate.

 

PARK #4, TN

First contact: Male.
API: Stated question.
Staff: Good question! I totally understand the desire to do that. Unfortunately, with the Covid protocols we have in place, we aren’t letting people just hang out if they aren’t here to participate. I mean, you’re welcome to hang in your car and wait, but that’s a lot less fun.
API: Completely understand.
Staff: There are some places close by, though (describes options), but if you’re bringing kids we really ask that you climb with them.
API: Got it. Maybe I’ll have to do that!
Staff: It’s super fun!
API: I bet. Thanks so much.

Score: 9
Comment: Not every park is set up to have places for non-climbers to wait. If that’s you, take a note from this guy—because when you say “no,” this is how to say it.

 

PARK #5, CA

First contact: Female.
API: Stated question.
Staff: Ummm, the only place would be up at the gas station, on top of the hill. There is very slim and limited-service down here at the base. We don’t have any Wi-Fi at this time.
API: OK. Is there cell service? I could work off my phone.
Staff: Not really, like I said, it’s spotty at best.
API: Gotcha, I misunderstood.
Staff: Anything else?
API: Nope, have a good one.

Score: 5
Comment: Nice gal, but lacked empathy for my fairly common plight. I can’t be too disappointed though—it’s an adventure park, not a co-working space.

 

PARK #6, OR

First contact: Female.
API: Stated question.
Staff: Yes, we do have a spot. However, we are not currently open today, we are still in winter hours until this Friday. When were you planning on coming up?
API: No worries. It would be in a couple weeks.
Staff: OK, cool. We do have Wi-Fi, and we have picnic tables and a deck where you can watch the climbers up top. Everything is outside. We don’t have much inside—that is just for getting climbers checked in—so you’d have to be outside. (describes area in more detail)
API: OK, great. That will work well for me.
Staff: Awesome. We would ask you to wear a mask while you are on the deck, though. Just so you know.
API: Not a problem at all.
Staff: Great. Anything else I can help with?
API: Nope, that will do it. Thank you!

Score: 9
Comment: Super friendly and explained the limitations of being outside only, the rules about mask wearing, and overall provided me with clear expectations. Nicely done.

 

PARK #7, TX

First contact: Male.
API: Stated question.
Staff: Ummmm, not really, no.
API: No picnic tables or places I can hang out and be out of the way?
Staff: Nope.
API: OK, then. Bye.

Score: 1
Comment: He gets a point for answering the phone, but that’s generous. It’s OK to say no—just don’t do it like this guy.

 

PARK #8, NC

First contact: Male.
API: Stated question.
Staff: Yeah, so we have the back porch area, where you don’t have to pay. This back porch area has rocking chairs, free Wi-Fi, music going. That’s the spot to be able to chill. If you want, when your group goes out on the 65-acre canopy tour, on the back half of the course they are very close to our walking trail and you can watch them go over the swamp. That walking trail and the gator sanctuary is just $10, plus you have to sign a waiver. So that’s also an option. So, if you want to come and chill, and then when they make their way coming back you can go out on the trail. Lots of options for you.
API: Great, that is awesome.
Staff: (provides more information about the park)
API: Thank you.
Staff: You’re welcome!

Score: 10
Comment: Awesome. Not only was he super friendly, but I appreciated the upsell for the additional activity we could all do together after I finish “adulting.”  The upsell edged this call into the winning spot.
Identity revealed: The Swamp Park

 

Debrief:

This question is a tough one—not every park is equipped with an outdoor space for people to hang out, and with Covid rules and regulations, not every park is set up to allow people to hang out on site right now if they aren’t participating.

While schools will hopefully return to in-
person sometime this year, work-from-home is a trend that will continue in some capacity indefinitely. So, there will still be a population of adventure seekers that only needs Wi-Fi and a place to sit to perform their jobs. Parks that can provide both will be in a good position to capitalize on nine-to-fivers who are no longer tethered to an office.

Providing an outdoor space for guests to work has multiple benefits, including attracting midweek business and boosting ancillary revenue in F&B sales.

For parks that can’t offer a place for folks to work remotely, this is a good chance to practice that tricky “No, but” upsell. “No, we don’t have Wi-Fi/picnic tables/etc., because of XYZ reason. However, we do offer a special deal for afternoon climbs after 3 p.m., so you could bring the family to climb for less if you can sneak out of work early. There’s more info on our website www.xyzpark.com.”

With this kind of approach, saying “no” might just convert a whole family into paying guests.

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