Give your meetings a jolt of fun with waterparks and cruises
Is there any doubt that kids — and perhaps grownups, too — love waterparks? Would you like evidence?
In the mid-1970s, waterparks did not exist, but today there are more than 1,000 waterparks in North America.
Nearly 75 million visitors a year go to waterparks.
The small tourist town of Wisconsin Dells, Wis., population 5,000, placed tremendous community resources into becoming the acknowledged World's Capital of Waterparks. The strategy appears to have worked, as Wisconsin Dells is bustling.
In the early 1990s, Wisconsin Dells resort owner Stan Anderson was trying to come up with a way to keep his Polynesian Resort Hotel busy during the long, cold winters. He built a roof to cover a water attraction at his property, and the first indoor waterpark in the country was born.
Do waterparks offer an opportunity to inject energy into your?
The timing is right because a market shift is occurring with resorts that have built their businesses on waterparks: Many of those resorts are adding sophisticated facilities to lure meetings. Those facilities are coming after you, the religious meeting planner.
Betsy Kang is director of sales and catering for the Great Wolf Resort in Mason, Ohio, next door to Paramount Kings Island amusement park.
In a prior job, Kang attended RCMA on multiple occasions, and she was brought to Great Wolf in part because of her understanding of religious meetings and their needs.
Like the other Great Wolf properties, the Mason facility has excellent water facilities. The Mason property is unique because it also has a full-fledged conference center with 40,000 square feet of meeting space, three ballrooms, LCD screens in all meeting rooms, and free wireless Internet throughout. The lobby and parking lot are separate from the rest of the facility.
Imagine the possibilities, if you're a religious meeting planner. You can hold productive meetings during the day and offer safe, convenient fun for the entire family — all at the same location.
“We're filling a niche for meetings that nobody else can touch,” Kang says.
When choosing a waterpark resort for your youth or family event, consider the following:
Does the facility truly cater to families, who usually bring along food? Do they have refrigerators in all guest rooms? Do they allow families to bring in their food, or is it discouraged?
Does the facility have a fleet of rolling carts so families can move their stuff quickly from the minivan to the room?
Does the facility have a range of dining options that are both fun and nutritious?
What is the facility's level of commitment to safety and security?
Does the facility have a large number of suites and varied room configurations?
Are there plenty of sitting areas, where kids and adults can “hang out” in comfort?
What are the games at the video arcade? Are there games with adult themes and/or violence?
How does the staff react to children? Does the staff enjoy being around kids?
What other activities exist in the area, if your group is waterlogged and wants a break from the water?
Number of waterparks in North America: more than 1,000
First “official” waterpark created: Wet 'N Wild, Orlando, Fla., 1977, by George Millay (b. 1929, d. 2006) (creator and founder of Sea World)
Longest indoor leisure river in the U.S.: Zambezi River, Kalahari Resort, Wisconsin Dells, Wis.
Largest wave pool in the U.S.: Typhoon Lagoon, Orlando, Fla.
Largest indoor waterpark in the United States under one roof: Kalahari Resort, Wisconsin Dells, Wis. (125,000 square feet)
Largest outdoor waterpark in the United States: Noah's Ark Waterpark, Wisconsin Dells, Wis. (70 acres)
“The Waterpark Capital of the World” (largest concentration of waterparks in one area): Wisconsin Dells, Wis. (18 indoor waterparks and three outdoor waterparks within 18 square miles)
Source: World Waterpark Association