In Europe and in the other countries of the northern hemisphere, the expectation of the summer season 2021 is growing, but with great concern for the pandemic emergency.
Downunder in Australia, summer 2021 has already been and gone.
From the Enchanted Adventure Park, located near Melbourne, the balance of the Post Covid summer season is excellent. The numbers recorded in regards to the turnout for the Neveplast TUBES Slides bodes very well for a restart of tourism in our northern hemisphere.
Caitlin Archibald Marketing Coordinator Enchanted Adventure Park said,
“We couldn’t have hoped for a better summer restart. In the 5 peak weeks of the 2021 summer period, we recorded an increase of 45% compared to the previous summer. This happened even though we had to respect the social distancing & limit the number because of the Covid protocols, we still had maximum turnout “.
1) When did you open the Enchanted Adventure Garden and when did you make the TUBE SLIDES? Did you already know Neveplast before starting to collaborate with us?
Enchanted Adventure Garden opened in 1997 and we added the Tube Slides to the park in 2011.
2) In the Enchanted Adventure Garden there are 6 downhill TUBE SLIDES and tubbing is a very popular attraction.
Why do you think tubing is so popular? What is the greatest advantage of tubing for you? Considering the costs of management, maintenance, hourly capacity and final income?
Our Tube Slides are a fantastic addition to our park and are one of the most popular activities for our guests. This can be attributed to many things, however, we believe it to be because it is an activity that requires effort. Parents love that their kids are being active and having fun whilst being outdoors in the fresh air. Children usually go home tired after their visit and parents love that as well!
We describe our Tube Slides as ‘dry water slides’ and therefore, they can be use all year round. We have a specially designed Nippers Tube Slide, specifically to cater to smaller children and we have our larger slides to cater for bigger kids and adults as well. As it can be expensive to visit the snowfields here in Australia, the slides are accessible and attractive without the higher costs involved for a snow holiday.
3) What is tubing target audience? Would you recommend to include the TUBING in the attractions package of an adventure park? And if so why?
Our target market is predominantly families. This activity is suitable for 3 years and up and we have different slides for guests as they gain their confidence. Our Nippers Tube Slide can also be used for those who are 2 years and above. We would recommend this activity to any park looking create a diverse activity suitable for the whole family.
4) Would you give me a brief description of the TUBE SLIDES (dimensions, characteristics, etc.) Do you like straights or twisting TUBE SLIDES more?
Most of our slides are approximately 80 meters in length. Our specially designed Nippers Tube Slide is 50 metres long. The straight slides are the busiest and most popular compared to our parabolic or ‘twisting’ slides. We believe this to be because guests love racing their friends or family down the hill to see who wins!
5) In Europe we have noticed that our customers prefer the TUBE SLIDES twisting with movements and parabolic. while in America straights are preferred.
The straights ensure greater hourly capacity. Those with parabolic dishes are more adrenaline-pumping. What is your thinking in relation to your reality?
Our straight slides tend to be more popular than the parabolic slides. This is because of the enhanced capacity and also, as mentioned above, our guests enjoy racing each other down the hill. The straight slides also can be a great introduction to someone’s first time experiencing the slides. They try the straight slides first and as they gain confidence, they either move onto a parabolic slide or continue to enjoy the straight ones.
6)Have you introduced any new features over the years to make the TUBE SLIDES more attractive?
In 2018/2019, we added brand new pneumatic lifts to all of our Tube Slides. This creates even more fun for the guests and creates a bit more adrenaline for both our straight and parabolic slides.
Over the years, we also added in our specially designed Nippers Tube Slide for smaller children. This slide is specifically for children under 135cm and is designed to be a gentler yet still fun experience for younger and smaller adventurers.
7) How is the situation currently in Australia in relation to Covid-19? Are you starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel?
Since our re-opening in November 2020, the park has experienced its busiest period on record. The COVID-19 restrictions put an additional layer of complication to our operation such as a limited capacity. Luckily, the Tube Slide activity naturally supports social distancing as the Tubes act as a barrier ensuring queuing customers keep their distance from one another.
There is strong support for local attractions with the uncertainty in the travel industry and the requirement to quarantine when traveling interstate. Therefore, more and more people are discovering their own backyard and supporting local businesses.
8) Let’s talk now about the last summer post-Covid-19. You reopened in November 2020 at the beginning of the summer . Now Summer is over. How is the balance of the post covid summer opening? Both revenue level and customer approach? Can you give me some numbers in relation to the turnout during the summer. What about TUBE SLIDES?
Upon our re-opening, we were uncertain if the business would bounce back quickly and if customers would be hesitant to attend a venue with a large capacity. We spent many weeks preparing our COVID re-opening plan and put a strong focus on guest communications to ensure visitors of their safety by way of social distancing and cleaning practises.
The feeling was that we were well placed due to our wide open spaces and being an outdoor venue. We need not have been worried as once the doors opened, the guest bookings flooded in. 62,000 guests were welcomed into our park during our 5 week peak summer period. This was a 45% increase on the previous summer. Due to the capacity restrictions imposed on our business to uphold our COVID Safety plan, we turned customers away on many occasions.
9) The Enchanted Adventure Garden is located at Arthurs Seat, just an hour and a half from Melbourne. I think is the ideal destination especially for those seeking relaxation from the metropolis in the midst of nature. The Covid-19 and the lockdown caused the desire for freedom, open air and nature to explode, radically changing the tourism and leisure sector priorities. Do you think it will go back or will this be a point of no return?
Australians can be naturally outdoor enthusiasts. Our mild winters support patronage all year round, however, there is no doubt that instead of visiting an indoor venue such as a climbing centre or cinema, guests are anecdotally preferring to partake in outdoor experiences. The strong desire for our patrons to become Enchanted Adventure members and enjoy the facilities under our membership program for the next 12 months point to a strong desire to return. This doesn’t seem to be slowing down with the reducing COVID risk and is only gaining momentum.
10) The pandemic has highlighted a desire to leave the cities after the months of lockdown and to live the summer outdoors, also to better manage social distance from a safety perspective. Did the same happen to you in Australia too?
Absolutely! In fact, as we are technically a regional / holiday area, we are seeing growth in the local population as Melbournians relocate to what were once their holiday houses in an effort to escape the city. This trend has been seen all around the country. Homes in regional areas are in very high demand.
11) The world of tourism and leisure has proved to be among the most vulnerable due to the health emergency. What strategy did you use to mitigate losses and ensure safety and enjoyment for your customers?
We were extremely lucky that our national government supported tourism business with the Job Keeper scheme. This allowed us to maintain staff levels throughout the lockdown. The business also benefited with state government targeted support payments and loan freeze. This combination of support ensured we could re-open our doors with limited impact. During the lockdown, we took the opportunity to plan and deliver projects that increased business efficiency. The management structure was adjusted and many key accounts such as phones, internet, IT and ticketing software were re-negotiated to ensure cost savings.
Upon re-opening, we created a timed arrival ticket. Previously, guests were able to enter for General Admission at any time. By doing so, we reduced congregation of large queues at peak arrival times. Some customers avoided queues and actively pick the quieter times of the day to arrive such as the afternoon. By only allowing visitors to pre-book, we were able to move patrons into the park quicker.
The additional administration required for contact tracing record keeping put an additional strain on our ticketing teams. Pre-bookings allow for us to capture that data prior to guest arrival.
Booking conditions also needed to be relaxed. Our product would normally be non-refundable. In the event of COVID-related non-attendance, we felt it was best to refund customers and give confidence to guests that they should pre-book and we would refund if non-attendance was out of their control.
Many Australian tourism businesses are finding themselves in bad shape after last year as their target audience is reliant on overseas visitors. We are very fortunate and grateful that we have a strong audience of local visitors (statewide and country wide) and we focus on targeting local audiences.
12) In an unprecedented situation, tourism and leisure have had to reinvent themselves, starting from scratch as a start-up. The importance of a marketing communication linked to social media has grown and virtual proposals have increased in many sectors. What was your marketing strategy?
During our state’s two major lockdowns, we felt that it was important to stay connected with our social media followers & networks as best we could. This allowed us to maintain a presence whislst we were closed.
As we preprared for our re-opening and throughout the course of our re-opening, we constantly maintained Government messaging and our COVID Safe measures in compliance with the Government instructions & restrictions. Having a continual prescence with our networks during the course of lockdown, we were able to stay connected with them and this allowed us to consistently re-assure our guests to stay safe as well as all messaging for how to visit once we re-opened.
We were also able promote our gift vouchers for the park via this network during lockdown. There was, and still is, a strong desire for outdoor activities so our park vouchers were desirable and gave people the perfect gift to give so they can enjoy a day out.
13) What is your opinion of Neveplast?
Neveplast are a fantastic company offering unique product lines with superior quality & customer service. We are grateful to have a long-standing relationship with Niccolo and the Neveplast team.
Paolo De Chiesa, italian former ski racer is skiing on Neveplast-Skistar ski slope in Stockholm