Park Spy — Summer 2022

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THE QUESTION: CAN I BRING MY OWN (BICYCLE) HELMET?

Helmets are hardly mandatory everywhere in the industry (see “The Great Helmet Debate,” Adventure Park Insider, Spring 2022), but they are a ubiquitous piece of PPE in many consumers’ lives. There are various reasons someone might want to bring their own helmet to your aerial attraction, namely safety concerns and germaphobia. Of course, the point—as always—isn’t whether you require helmets or allow guests to bring their own; it’s about how you address the concerns and questions of a potential visitor. Everyone could answer the question (good), but not everyone did it with care (bad).

Send question ideas for the Park Spy to pose 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, TX

First contact: Female.

API: Stated question.

Staff: No, um, we have helmets over here that have been checked by our insurance already and then by our managers, so we will provide the helmets.

API: Are the helmets only provided for the zip line course?

Staff: Yes, just for the zip lining. We provide the helmets and the harnesses for you for zip lining.

API: I see that you have other courses on the ground like (describes an activity) and was just worried about bringing my kids and if we could bring helmets for those activities.

Staff: You can bring your helmets for that if you would like. We also have a rock climbing wall that is $10 per person, and they are more than welcome to bring their own helmets for that. But the helmets for the zip lining, we provide those.

API: Great, thank you for your help.

Staff: Yeah, no problem.

Score: 7

Comment: She had a solid explanation for why we couldn’t use our own helmets on the zip line. And she answered my questions about other activities without being dismissive about my safety concerns. Nice job.

 

PARK #2, CT

First contact: Male.

API: Stated question.

Staff: (very muffled) You don’t need any helmet. The choice is yours if you want to do a helmet. 

API: I’m sorry, could you repeat that?

Staff: You don’t need any helmet. The choice is yours at your discretion.

API: I could bring my own helmet?

Staff: Yes, you can.

API: Do many people bring their own helmets?

Staff: It varies, but many families bring their own.

API: OK, thank you for your help.

Staff: You’re welcome. You have a great day and thank you for calling.

Score: 4

Comment: He was very hard to hear and  seemed in a rush to get off the phone. At least his information was good.

 

PARK #3, MT

First contact: Female.

API: Stated question.

Staff: Um, unfortunately, no. It has to be certified by the ACCT. When were you thinking about coming?

API: We have just started planning but thinking sometime in June.

Staff: Yeah, unfortunately, just for liability purposes, we need you to use our equipment up there.

API: Is that just for the zip line? I see that you have a rock climbing wall. Do you provide helmets for that too?

Staff: Our rock climbing wall is in our [other]facility in [town], and we do not have nor are they required on our climbing wall.

API: Can we bring our own for that? 

Staff: Yes, absolutely.

API: I wanted to make sure, as we are bringing some small kids and wanted to keep them safe.

Staff: Yes, yep, that is no problem.

API: Great, thank you for your help.

Staff: You are welcome. Bye.

Score: 6

Comment: She could have said more about keeping the kids safe to make me feel comfortable about bringing them along, but she was friendly and helpful.

 

PARK #4, NM

First contact: Female.

API: Stated question.

Staff: Yeah, you can do that.

API: For the zip line too?

Staff: Um, well, with the zip line, I know they provide helmets, but I don’t think it would be the end of the world if you decide to bring your own.

API: OK, great. I just wanted to double check. Some places do require their own helmets.

Staff: I mean, I don’t see anything that you absolutely must use our helmets. You can bring them, and if the guide says you must use our helmets because of whatever specific policy or whatever nonsense, then I guess you can do that. You could bring your own helmets just in case. That isn’t the end of the world. 

API: OK. Do you require helmets for [other activity]? 

Staff: Yes, they are required.

API: And those can be our own, too?

Staff: Yes.

API: OK, great.

Staff: Did you have any other questions? 

API: No, I think that was it for today. Thank you.

Staff: Alright, you take care.

Score: 3

Comment: She wasn’t rushed and was very friendly. But don’t tell me what you think—find the answer. And don’t call your park’s policies nonsense.

 

PARK #5, FL

First contact: Female.

API: Stated question.

Staff: Was that going to be for the zip line or [activity]?

API: We were thinking about doing both of them and didn’t know if we could bring our own.

Staff: Um, I am going to say don’t bring your own because our insurance is really strict, and the helmets have to hit certain regulations. 

API: And that is for both the zip line and [activity]?

Staff: Yes.

API: OK. And you provide them for [activity], too?

Staff: Yes.

API: OK, thank you for your help.

Staff: You’re welcome.

Score: 5

Comment: Well, she had a reason, albeit speculative, why I shouldn’t bring my own helmet, but she could have been clearer about which activity she was discussing.

 

 PARK #6, WA

First contact: Male.

API: Stated question.

Staff: No, you cannot. Unfortunately, our insurance does not allow that. I need to know that all of my stuff is tracked since it’s brand new, itemized, inventoried, all of that stuff, so unfortunately I cannot let you use outside equipment.

API: Is that for both the zip line course and ropes course?

Staff: Yes, for all activities it has to be my equipment and my equipment only.

API: Do you clean your equipment?

Staff: Yeah, after every use they are sprayed out quite extensively with isopropyl alcohol.

API: OK, thank you for your help.

Staff: Yeah, no problem. You have a good one.

Score: 4

Comment: Excellent information, but he seemed annoyed with the questions. It felt like he wanted to get off the phone as quickly as possible. 

 

 PARK #7, CO

First contact: Female.

API: Stated question.

Staff: Um, unfortunately we cannot because that helmet has not been inspected by the state.

API: OK, I guess I am just a little worried, as I am kind of a germaphobe, and it does make me nervous.

Staff: Mhmm.

API: Do you clean your equipment?

Staff: (long pause) We do, yes.

API: OK, thank you.

Staff: Yeah, absolutely.

Score: 2

Comment: The long pause made me think twice about how clean their equipment is. She could have done more to assuage my concerns, but it seemed like she just wanted to get off the phone—a common theme.

 

 PARK #8, SC

First contact: Male.

API: Stated question.

Staff: No, unfortunately, our insurance company does not allow that. We provide the helmets.

API:  Do you clean your helmets regularly? 

Staff: Probably once every three months or so. (laughs) I am joking. Anytime someone wears one. I am very diligent about that.

API: We are also bringing our kids along—do you have helmets for all sizes?

Staff: I do. I have them for the smallest heads and for the biggest melons you’ve ever seen.

API: OK, great. Thank you for your help.

Staff: You’re welcome. Have a nice day.

Score: 8

Comment: He started off short with me, but lightened things up with a bit of humor. It made me feel comfortable that he oversees the cleaning process, and his jokes made it sound like it could be a fun place to visit.

Identity Revealed: Wild Blue Ropes

Debrief: 

When dealing with questions that might seem like they have a simple “yes” or “no” response, it’s important to properly address your caller’s actual concerns. Providing a more thorough answer makes your prospective guest feel more comfortable. In that vein, why not also describe the advantages of your helmets—designed for zip lining (or climbing), light weight, etc.

A guest who wants to bring his or her own helmet because of sanitization concerns needs a slightly different answer than a guest who is worried about safety. The latter might be satisfied to understand the rules of your insurer and that you do (or don’t) provide helmets. The former will want to know how and how often your helmets (if you offer them) get cleaned. 

Another thing: There was very little follow up from staff on these calls. While everyone answered direct questions, very few asked any questions of me about my family and trip, and many sounded rushed to get off the phone. Show an interest in helping the person you’re speaking to. It can be the difference between earning a guest’s business and turning someone off from visiting.   

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