There has been a great deal of attention over the past year to standards in the adventure course business. And standards are an important tool for risk management. But which standard, or standards, an operator adopts is less important than implementing a set of procedures, following it rigorously and continually evaluating its effectiveness.
It is a business’ operational performance that determines how well it manages risks. There have been several serious incidents over the past year, and they have been largely due to human error, not to any shortcomings in standards. That puts the focus in risk management squarely on staff training and guest education.
This issue of Adventure Park Insider devotes a good deal of attention to employee training, ground school, and other personnel-related aspects of risk management. We address training both from operations and customer service standpoints. “Employee Training Done Right” addresses the level of commitment risk management requires.“ The Importance of Being Grounded” outlines both the content and presentation of information to guests.
Other articles explore different aspects of the safety and convenience aspects of park operations. “Risk and Kids” describes the several ways in which kids are different than adults, in a very real and legally binding sense. “Braking Glides into the Next Generation” examines the current state of the art in zip line braking systems and reveals some new directions for the future.
Of course, guests come for the fun. And we haven’t ignored that, either. From news of new parks (Park Briefs) and innovations at others (Park 360) to freefall devices and new products, this issue serves up a wide range of steps adventure courses can take to keep the growing audience of adventure seekers engaged and happy.
Perhaps no activity has seen faster evolution than freefall, which our reader surveys show is drawing great interest from both operators and guests. “Free Falling” investigates both the potential—and limits—of the activity as well as the increasingly sophisticated freefall technology.
Customer service is another priority, and our “Park Spy” takes an unfiltered look at how park staff interact with guests—or, in our case, our mystery-shopper park spy. “Spy” reinforces the importance of treating every guest with courtesy, enthusiasm, and respect. Every point of contact presents a sales opportunity, after all.
Whatever your operation offers, it’s essential that you communicate it to your potential customers. “Build It, Sell It” outlines a marketing approach you can tailor to your specific park or tour. “Hits and Misses” takes a closer look at several aspects of online marketing and evaluates programs that hit or miss the mark. Together, these articles will help you focus and direct future marketing efforts.
In fact, we hope you will find every article in this issue enlightening.
—The Staff at Adventure Park Insider