Making A Splash
Taking the plunge with a holiday park swimming pool can be as daunting as diving off the highest board. But be bold. Investing in on-site swimming offers many avenues for return on investment from initial visitor appeal to encouraging maximum ‘on park’ spend. But don’t just think swimming pool – rather, think water leisure and entertainment. After all, maximum payback will come from an aquatic feature that does not just offer lane swimming, but entertains all ages and abilities with excitement and splash appeal.
A perfect holiday should provide plentiful opportunities to have fun, and opportunities to de-stress and recharge batteries. A swimming pool is an ideal choice for holiday operators wishing to attract and retain visitors, whilst promoting good health and wellbeing in their guests. “It is our experience that holiday park operators view swimming pools as a very necessary evil,” advises Tim Bareham of leading holiday park pool specialist, Cresta Leisure. “Some small privately owned operators resist the need for a pool, particularly if they are not family oriented,” Tim continues. “Larger operators invest heavily to deliver ‘water leisure’ facilities to customers.” With the trend to offer longer seasons or even all-year round appeal, many parks now have both indoor and outdoor pools.
When holiday park operators first contact potential suppliers, they will generally have carried out some research and could have an initial wish list. the available space to maximise and enhance their guest experiences, how much will it cost to establish, how long it will take to build, and what maintenance will be required,” reveals Michelle Minns-Sykes of water play specialists, Ustigate. “The installation of a pool and a flume alone is a mistake as the overall aim should be to create a wet environment that pleases many people in one space at the same time,” Michelle advises. “Whilst a flume is great and exciting it is an attraction that has to limit rider’s descents for safety reasons. “In a one pool and one flume scenario, the flume would be in great demand and holiday guests would spend more time queuing than playing!” Swimming is
certainly an activity that many of visitors enjoy when on holiday, and therefore a swimming pool will influence bookings.
An outdoor pool will be very popular in the summer while an indoor pool will continue to attract guests all year round. Michelle again: “Holiday operator’s main objectives are to create a destination for guests to take time out of their busy work schedules, to deliver a balance between work and play where guests can enjoy precious time with families and friends. “Access is very important in design. Where there is a depth of water, life-guarding staff will need to be constantly present to guarantee public safety. Every project is unique in its location and its product mix and the cost is dependent upon size, features and the water management system. Says Michelle: “The favourites have got to be tipping buckets and cannons, because we have witnessed the shrills of excitement that come from everyone on the receiving end of a large tipping bucket and the laughter that comes from the one at the firing end of a cannon!” Thinking outside the pool box, a splashpad is a safe and economic way to provide aquatic play; safe because of it being a zero standing water concept and economic because a splashpad generally uses less water than a pool and requires no life-guarding staff. A small installation with a couple of above ground products and some ground sprays is feasible to operate directly from the mains under a flow through water management system.
When designing a splashpad, Ustigate designers start by separating the area into three zones; incorporating a toddler, family and teen bay. The toddler bay would feature above-grade devices scaled down to a level that’s not intimidating for little ones, with products such as a low level Water Journey™ complete with a water pump, water channels and weirs or a PlayNuk™ two-deck exploration hub with softer spray features, small steps, double handrails, shaded spaces, and age-appropriate games that enable young children to explore exciting new frontiers on their own safely.
The family bay encourages cross-generational play. An adult, for example, might pick up a small child and walk through a series of tipping buckets or a spraying arch or loop. This isn't a high-energy play area, but instead an area that encourages socialising in a casual walk-through, park-like experience. The teen bay is focused on high-energy, incorporating cannons and where the space allows, a large tipping bucket that gives promise of a jolly good soaking! The majority of the Vortex product range is available with a safe-swap anchor system, enabling products to be exchanged for alternatives in the future without the need to break the ground. This system enables an aquatic play area to stay as fresh and as unique as the day it was installed, whilst keeping visitors intrigued and entertained with the essence of new. Holiday operators that have several sites can benefit from the safe-swap system by rotating aquatic play features between parks. It is important to allocate some forward thinking in the design to ensure any changes or add-ons have been allowed for in the initial design and build of the water management system. Ustigate Waterplay has launched a new user-friendly controller this year that features access to all of the controls and data on one screen, also available with remote access if an internet connection can be made available in the plant room. The controller enables you to set hours of operation, a sequence, to monitor the pumps, filters, water usage, and water treatment. With the remote access package, Ustigate Waterplay will email alarms to clients by text or by email, should anything require immediate attention. Taking expert advice on essentials such as water treatment is a no-brainer.
Bather load is critical to all, when the sun is shining the outdoor pools become very busy and when the weather is inclement customers all want to be indoors. Investing in indoor, weather-proof water leisure appeal upon the type and size of the park and whether it has potential to operate for 12 months of the year. Cresta Leisure’s Tim Bareham again: “Many larger operators who have appropriate planning permission, open indoor pools to local residents during the winter months but this is dependent upon the potential revenue and the cost to open.” Tim says there are many challenges to water leisure investment but probably the most significant is safety, life guarding and plant operation. “An outdoor pool needs to be warm and inviting and correctly sized to anticipated bather load. “A large freeform pool looks appealing but is impossible to cover and expensive to heat. An indoor pool without adequate dehumidification will cause serious problems to the fabric of the building.” The good news is that pools do not have to be built out of reinforced concrete and finished with mosaic tiles, there are more cost effective solutions. However there is no cutting corners when it comes to safe operation. “Commercial pools require high capacity pumps to meet turnover periods required but the inclusion of inverters and variable speed drives will improve efficiency,” advises Tim. The ability to cover the pool, when it is not in use, will reduce energy costs as well as insulating the pool tank when building the pool. Heat pump technology must be considered for both outdoor and indoor pools to minimise pool water heating dehumidification costs. Ultra-Violet disinfection units and PAC dosing improves filtration and water quality thus saving on pool chemicals and can reduce backwashing to make significant savings on water and reheating costs. If you are already feeling daunted then make sure you make a good start by seeking expert advice from experienced suppliers like Cresta Leisure and Ustigate. A pool investment does require capital payment but when you choose an aquatic partner wisely, you will get a great return for your investment because your guests will keep coming back.
Ustigate's 31-station Dippy the Dinosaur inspired splashpad has met its original goal in making Roarr! Dinosaur Adventure in Norfolk, even more popular than before.
Dippy’s Splash Zone has been successful at extending the length of a visit and has increased park revenues through locker availability, the sale of towels, shirts, diapers, and refreshments at Dippy’s Snack Shack. The facility provided the park with an extra influx of visitors, growing visitors by 18% in its first full year.
Rather than spend money on renovating the outdated outdoor pool, Freshwater Beach Holiday Park on the Jurassic Coast, decided to undertake a temporary upgrade to the filtration plant and line the pool with a commercial pool liner. They also decided to undertake a feasibility study, to develop a brand-new indoor pool facility. Cresta Leisure was invited to join the project design team, to develop and deliver a wet-leisure facility that would appeal to all ages. This co-operation has resulted in a very popular, purpose built pool complex that incorporates a splash zone, a paddling pool, a play pool, interactive tower with tippers, sprays and slides, a stand-alone four-lane slide with integral catch, a 20m deck level swimming pool and a spa. Following the success of the new indoor pool complex, Freshwater asked Cresta Leisure to come up with a scheme to improve the outdoor pool facilities. Because the filtration and circulation on the existing outdoor pool was below current standards, it was decided to break out the old pool and start afresh. All the groundworks were undertaken by Freshwater’s own team. In just five months, Cresta has built a brand new 25m x 12m outdoor pool with 12m2 paddling pool packed full of interactive water play features from Hippo Leisure. This new pool facility is fully compliant with European standards and is proving to be a smash hit with everyone.
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