Expand Your Season!
How to Extend Your Season and Stay in the Spotlight
In today’s year-round entertainment world, operating a seasonal attraction can be exceedingly difficult. To survive and be competitive, seasonal attractions are finding that they must be more and more creative and innovative with their hiring actions, marketing strategy, and expansion plan. Many seasonal attractions are discovering that the key to being competitive in the market is to expand the season.
Let’s say that you are a seasonal water park (and yes, I am aware that some of my readers truly are seasonal water park operators). Your season is 3-4 months--which means that for about 8-9 months of each year, you are closed. That means that for at least two-thirds of each year, your guests are unable to visit and to create memories. During the off-season, seasonal parks risk losing next year’s visitor because they have not been kept engaged during the off-season.
Warm-weather attractions have it easy.
Parks like the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World are open all year long. They don’t have to remind their guests at the start of each season that they have reopened. Even the local water parks in Orlando remain open all year round which makes it easier to plan family outings, group events, and birthday parties every month of the year. How can you as a seasonal operator expand your season and stay front and center in your guest’s minds?
Engaging with your guests during the off-season doesn’t mean that a seasonal park continues to operate normally. It isn’t feasible for your water park to remain open for the winter season or for your Halloween event to continue to operate through December. However, there are many other potential opportunities that seasonal operators can explore that may help to establish a year-round presence for their visitors. We need only look as far as the ski industry for the perfect case study.
During their peak season, ski resorts accommodate thousands of visitors a day from families to professionals to ascend their mountains and speed down the slopes. Then, when the snow melts away, ski resorts transform into a summertime destination complete with mountain biking, chairlift rides to the summit, mountaintop dining, and even thrilling alpine slides. Ski resorts have found a way to expand their season using many of the same resources they use during their primary season.
Along those lines, here are just a few suggestions for how you as a seasonal operator might be able to expand your season:
- Transform a pond into a playground
- Hold concerts in your parking lot
- Transform a grassy area into a holiday village
- Add indoor party rooms, event space, and even an indoor FEC (arcade, mini golf, go kart track) to your water park
- Turn a concrete patio into a splash pad
"Every once in a while, a new technology, an old problem, and a big idea turn into an innovation."