Park Spy — Winter 2023

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THE QUESTION: MY FAMILY IS HOPING TO VISIT YOUR PARK A BUNCH. DO YOU HAVE ANY OPTIONS FOR US TO COME FREQUENTLY?

It is a universally acknowledged truth that families are still in want of outdoor activities. The data (in this case the annual Outdoor Industry Association “Participation Trends Report”) say that outdoor participation continued to grow in 2022 even as restrictions on indoor entertainment were lifted.

Of course, many of those new participants will be one-time visitors—they come to your aerial adventure while on vacation or in search of something novel. But some outdoor enthusiasts turn into frequent visitors. What options exist at aerial adventure operations to cater to the high frequency guest? The Spy set out to learn more.

Suggest a question for the Spy to ask. Send it to jack@adventureparkinsider.com. Easy peasy.

 

PARK #1, HI

First contact: Male.

API: Stated question.

Staff: We don’t do season passes or anything like that.

API: OK.

Staff: I can work a deal out with you personally, if you want to, if you guys are local?

API: Yes, we are planning on moving there, and I was trying to get my kids on board, so I want to plan as many fun things as possible.

Staff: Great. You can work with me directly, just shoot me an email. If you have been here before or if you’re a regular, we can definitely work something out.

API: OK, great. Thank you.

Staff: Yeah, just let me know the next time you guys are going to be here and what you are looking for and I can see what I can do for you.

API: Very cool. I appreciate it.

Staff: Awesome. Bye!

Score: 7

Comment:  He was a very nice guy, and it was very nice of him to offer to work out a special deal for frequent visits to a place that sees mostly tourists and likely few locals.

 

PARK #2, AZ

First contact: Female.

API: Stated question.

Staff: No, well, we don’t.

API: OK, so your only options are to purchase day passes?

Staff: (bored) Yes, we don’t have any other options.

API: OK.

Staff: (snippy) Yeah, there is no way to get like a two-for-whatever or anything.

API: And no season passes or anything?

Staff: No.

API: OK, well, thank you.

Staff: Yep, goodbye.

Score: 1

Comment: Just speculating here, but judging by her attitude and responses to my questions, this staffer sincerely doesn’t want the park to offer multi-visit discount products—and she didn’t appreciate me asking.

 

PARK #3, ON

First contact: Female.

API: Stated question.

Staff: Yes, we do. Would you be visiting [lists location options]?

API: [Picks a park.]

Staff: OK. You can buy a season pass for that park on our website. That season pass is available for any of our parks across North America.

API: OK. Is there a child season pass? I have a seven- and twelve-year-old.

Staff: Yes, there is. It would be [pass price].

API: OK, great. Thank you.

Staff: And if you go to our website, you can see all the perks that come with the season pass.

API: OK, I will do that, thank you.

Staff: Yep, is there anything else?

API: No, that’s all.

Staff: Goodbye.

Score: 6

Comment: Tone is important, and hers was a bit flat. And while she provided the basics, it would have been great if she’d detailed some of the season pass perks instead of sloughing me off to the website.

 

PARK #4, FL

First contact: No answer, but a staff person calls me back five minutes later. (Caller ID?)

Second contact: Female.

API: Stated question.

Staff: We do. We have an annual pass. We have two different types of annual passes. One is our regular annual pass, and that does have blackout dates on it. The other one is called a [name]pass, and that has no blackout dates and [other benefits].

API: Are the blackout dates just weekends?

Staff: No, weekends are usually not on the blackout dates. It is only around the busiest times of year for us. We do list them on our website, but it is basically the day after Thanksgiving, like Black Friday, and then that Saturday. And then the Christmas holidays, between Christmas and New Year’s, and there are a few other days in there. And then spring break week. So, at most like 14 or 15 days that are blocked out through the year.

API: OK, that wouldn’t be too bad.

Staff: No, not at all.

API: I have a seven- and twelve-year-old, would their passes be different than adults?

Staff: It would be the same price as the other passes because it’s unlimited access, but they would get a [name]pass and do that course. When it comes to the twelve-year-old and the adults, they would be on the adult course.

API: Great, thank you for all the info.

Staff: You are welcome. Is there anything else I can help you with?

API: No, I think that’s it. Thank you.

Score: 8

Comment: I appreciate the quick call back, even though it was surprising. She was upbeat and full of information. Best of all, she didn’t just point me to the website and say goodbye—she told me what I needed to know.

 

PARK #5, LA

First contact: Female

API: Stated question.

Staff: Nope.

API: OK. Do you offer any discounts if we come a lot? Or any punch passes?

Staff: (short) No, the only option is to buy the day passes.

API: OK, thank you.

Staff: Yep, goodbye.

Score: 0.5

Comment: Wow. She either had the Monday blues or is someone who probably shouldn’t be answering the phone. Even if it was the Mondays, her attitude lost the business of what may have been a multi-visit family—and that family’s friends, too (because people tend to talk about their bad experiences more than good experiences). Every customer interaction counts.

 

PARK #6, TX

First contact: Male.

API: Stated question.

Staff: We do have our season passes, and I am gonna throw something new to you, too. We usually partner up with [neighboring adventure park], and they have a special going on for a season pass. Per child would be [price]. And that allows them to do your days at both parks. Granted the other park is seasonal, as compared to here, where we are open every day.

API: So that would be the same as a season pass? We would have unlimited days?

Staff: Yes. We have different ranges of passes from $X to $Y. The $Y is more for them to do the [lists two activities], but of course that is closed for the season, as it is seasonal.

API: OK. I have a seven- and twelve-year-old, so I was just trying to figure out what the best option would be.

Staff: So, your twelve-year-old can pretty much do everything in the park. He’s probably the right size and height that he can do everything at both parks and not have a limitation. Whereas your seven-year-old might be still in an area where he might be able to be a passenger on a couple of attractions as compared to being the driver. Have you been to the park?

API: No, not yet. We recently just found out about it. We thought this would be a great family thing to do.

Staff: So, I would really love you to come visit the park. If you want Monday through Thursday, you can do a family pass to come and visit the park. One of our managers can take you on a tour through the park so you can see the height requirements and other things. We are still doing some renovations and stuff to the neighboring park, but if you are interested in that season pass it should be coming out soon.

API: OK, great.

Staff: I know the promotion that they are doing is great. Because our regular season pass here is $X and for a little bit extra you get another park. But by coming to the park, you can make a good judgment call on what season pass to get, especially with the different levels we have.

API: Yes, that is a great idea. Let me look at some dates and see when we can visit.

Staff: OK. And when you do, just give us a holler, and say you are interested in the park and thinking about getting season passes. Then we can look at our schedule for one of the managers here and give you a quick tour.

API: Great, thank you so much.

Staff: Not a problem, thank you. Goodbye.

Score: 10

Comment: He provided a ton of information with a great attitude. And I really appreciated the invite to have a manager take my “family” on a tour to see the park and its activities as a way to help us decide which season pass to get.

Identity Revealed: Adventure Park (Lubock)

 

Debrief:

Here’s a caller who wants to visit your park multiple times (with multiple people). Do you want to help them do that, or are you happy to let the business slip away if you don’t have quite the right product?

The gulf in approach between the best calls and worst calls was dramatic. Of course, convincing a caller to do business with you is easier if you offer the product they’re looking for. But ultimately, the experience is the main product, so even if a multi-visit pass isn’t on the menu, the experience always is—and that should be an easy sell.

A few of these staffers forgot that, even though their park doesn’t offer multi-visit products, they can still have a positive attitude, ask follow up questions, or invite me to visit anyway.

Who’s to say whether a different approach would have led me to buy day tickets when I was searching for a season pass, but no call (even a “no” call) should leave a potential customer with a sour taste. Remember: Every interaction counts. 

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