A Thrilling Payoff

Of course, before anyone takes to the zipline, each passenger must complete a release and waiver-of-liability form. To make it easy, the form is available online so riders can review and sign it prior to arriving.

Training

“We work at making sure the site is safe and our operators are well-trained,” says Fairchild.

Employees responsible for day-to-day operations receive 14 or 15 days of training on everything from how to properly rig, launch, and receive the riders to how to deal with patrons in a respectable way. Receivers learn how to stop riders and how to retrieve stranded riders. All operators are required to stay current on training.

Repeat Riders

To encourage repeat guests, Fairchild recommends giving people value for their time and money. For example, a zipline ride costs $39 the first time; the rider is then issued a card for discounts for follow-up visits. For added incentives, occasional free passes are given to frequent zippers.

Fairchild explains that a large number of people simply come out and watch the zippers from under the zipline. Sales to these spectators also generate income. To make sure these people are safe, the zippers racing down the lines are not allowed to have any items that can fall out of their pockets–everything must be secured.

Building A Business Model

Marketing a site means developing good relationships with television, newspapers and magazines.

“We have television crews in frequently, as well as newspapers and magazines,” says Fairchild. “We also put out brochures and distribute them ourselves. We do anything we can that works.”

Surveying people on how they heard about an outfit also is helpful.

Pairing ziplines with another activity can spur interest as well. Additional activities at Moaning Cavern include a walking tour, 165-foot-rope rappelling, caving adventure trips, and a 32-foot climbing tower. Other nearby attractions, such as Gold Cliff Mining, Black Chasm Cavern, Boyden Caverns and Sutter Gold Mine, offer everything from panning for gold and geode-cracking to walking tours and canyoneering.

A visitors’ center sells tickets to the ride as well as standard souvenir fare, such as property-branded sweatshirts, T-shirts and hats as well as gemstones, books and even gold. Concessions are also sold.

In considering the longevity of your park, is it time to challenge the status quo and start thinking like an entrepreneur? Look around the facilities for various possibilities. It could mean the adrenaline rush of a lifetime!

Tammy York is the owner of LandShark Communications LLC which specializes in media and public relations for outdoor recreation businesses. Her book, 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Cincinnati, is available online and in bookstores. You can reach her at tammy@landsharkcommunications.com.

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