An interview with ProSlide Chief Commercial Officer Ray Smegal
Why do you choose to brand your slides with specific names (TORNADO®, etc…)? Does that provide value to the park owner or the park guest?
In the amusement industry it’s important that a ride has a brand because the name is really the personality of the ride and gives riders a sense of what the ride experience is. Rides like TORNADO®, that are synonymous with iconic funnel slides, have an incredibly strong brand that communicates quality, safety, authenticity, and technical innovation. When someone is seeking out the authentic funnel, they know that they can trust the name TORNADO®.
How important (or why is it important) for the industry to know that a slide is a ProSlide attraction?
Our reputation is a big part of what a park gets when they buy a ProSlide water ride. We’ve been in business for over 34 years, innovating, tooling, and perfecting our water ride designs and experiences. We are fortunate to have earned the trust of our clients who own ProSlide water rides all over the world.
ProSlide is synonymous with quality, technology, and innovation and that lends to our brand’s integrity and reputation. We have worked relentlessly over the years to build a strong, trusted brand that we’re proud of. When you have a ProSlide ride in your park, you also have the strong brand that comes with it.
How does a park ensure that its attractions will remain relevant and not be outdated?
Parks need to focus on rides that are purposefully designed for their demographic and include the latest technology. Those are the rides that will stay relevant for years and decades to come. We like to call this “future-proofing” your park.
ProSlide has been relentless in developing innovations for the water park industry. Every year we develop something new; purposeful technology that makes a difference for guest entertainment value, marketability, ride performance, safety, and capacity. By buying an attraction that includes the latest technology, you’re protecting your investment and your parks’ business success in the future. We have great examples of this like Disney’s Blizzard Beach, which has been around for 25 years and is still wildly successful because the designs were incredible on day one and remain relevant today.
The ProSlide RallyRACER® at Waldameer & Water World in Erie, Pennsylvania. Photos courtesy ProSlide.
Why should a park view buying an authentic water ride as an investment?
Water rides are an essential part of the water park business model. Each water ride is a major component of the marketing of the park, serving as the main driver for bringing guests in. For a park the rides are most of the guest’s entertainment value; their experience from a day at a water park is derived from the rides. These rides need to deliver capacity, safety, and guest entertainment value. There’s also an opportunity to exceed your guest’s expectations and to take it beyond what they thought they were going to get before they entered the park. As parks hit their stride with these factors, that’s where they drive their profitability. Each time you buy a ride, you have the opportunity to increase the ticket price a bit and increase the capacity, which overall creates a return on investment that’s been proven thousands of times around the world. A park’s water rides are critical to their business and that’s why buying authentic, high-quality attractions are your best tool.
What is the unique value of buying an authentic water ride?
Buying an authentic water ride comes with a pedigree of success by other world-leading parks. The best water rides in the world are sought after by the most experienced operators. Rides like TORNADO®, FlyingSAUCER®, RocketBLAST® have all been mass adopted by brands like Siam Park, Europa-Park, Six Flags, SeaWorld, and others.
We like to look at it like ski racing. If you want to be the best, study what the best skiers in the world are racing on and how they perform on race day. Sports and business both thrive in competition as it brings out the best and leads to innovation. Buying authentic water rides is what the best water park brands do to compete in their markets.
OCT Nanjing in China hosts the iconic ProSlide FlyingSAUCER® 45
Are there certain rides that park owners should invest in if they want to future-proof their park?
The good news is that over the last 5 years there’s been a massive transformation. Everything has changed. ProSlide has led the industry with investments across all water ride categories, resulting in incredible value for water park buyers. All the major water ride categories have been injected with new ride features including FlyingSAUCER® high- speed turns, Dueling PIPEline®, RocketBLAST® Water Coasters, RallyRACER® head-first mat racing, and WaterKINGDOM™ aquatic play. There’s never been a better time to invest in water parks.
What do you think the trend of attractions will be for the next few years?
Water Coasters are becoming the most sought-after ride in water parks. There’s been incredible developments in technology that bring world-leading coaster technology – that you’d see at Universal’s Volcano Bay – being brought down to a cost-effective level that any park can afford. You can trust that an authentic ProSlide Water Coaster will have that amazing design that top brands trust, while still being very accessible and something that any water park can add. Look to RocketBLAST® water propulsion to be featured on over 10 new ProSlide
What importance does theming have for an operator?
Theming is a chance to make an experience at a water park more immersive and create a distinct personality for the park and its attractions. There are different levels of theming that can be done naturally, with trees and landscape or, that can be applied to the rides and park to create an environment that’s never been seen before. With proper theming, it’s a golden opportunity for operators to elevate their park to another level. • • •