When I first began attending the World Waterpark Association show in 2012, I was told by my supervisor that it wouldn’t be very applicable to me because I came from a small, municipal waterpark. Boy, were they wrong! I have attended every show since then and have come away each year with new ideas to implement, most of which have nothing to do with subject matter specific to waterparks. Each year, I encourage aquatics facilities, regardless of whether they consist of several attractions, one slide or even just a flatwater pool, to attend the show. Even while operating a single flatwater pool with a seasonal water feature, I know that I will gain valuable information during the educational sessions. If you are considering attending the show for the first time this year and are hesitant, let’s discuss the types of sessions that you will likely find the most benefit from:
Personnel/Leadership – Aren’t we all struggling with finding enough qualified applicants, figuring out a way to evaluate them and the best way to manage them on a consistent basis? There are always numerous recruiting and leadership sessions offered throughout the week with a variety of perspectives and approaches.
Safety/Training – The Model Aquatic Health Code is something that will have an impact on anyone with a drop of water under their supervision. How aware are you in the latest training updates for your lifeguards and certification agency? Spending a few days delving into the industry standards and how others are addressing evolving challenges in the aquatics world is well worth the cost of attendance.
Marketing – Whether you are in the private sector or the municipal world, marketing is a reality of all our positions. The types of programs or products you are marketing may be different, but the concepts introduced during educational sessions on social media, sponsorship and enticing advertising are the same. Last year, I was able to take several concepts from a sponsorship session I attended and implement them not only in my aquatics program, but across my entire recreation division, with exemplary results.
If you are still unsure whether there will be value for you, feel free to reach out and ask other past attendees about the types of sessions they attended and the successful implementation of concepts they learned at the WWA Show. Volunteering to minimize expenses is another way to prove value to those who you may need approval from to attend. If this is your first show, come find me at the conference socials. I would love to hear about your experience and share how to maximize your first show!
Nicole Van Winkle
City of Colton