4 Trends From ACCT 2015 in Palm Springs: What to Expect for 2016

Earlier this month we had the opportunity to attend the ACCT (Association of Challenge Course Technology) 2015 trade show and conference. As in other years, the show was successful and educational. It's a great chance to put peers and experts together to discuss best practices, attend training , and find new ways to make challenge courses, ropes courses, zip lines, canopy tours, and adventure parks more exciting, less risky, and way more profitable.

Head Rush Tech had a strong presence at the show, operating a busy trade show booth and offering two educational presentations. Peter Cochetas, Director of Engineering and Development, presented on Zip Line Safety & Engineering. View Peter's presentation here. Micah Salazar, Senior Sales Manager, presented on Engineering Your Business for Success. View Micah's presentation here.

After the show, our sales, marketing, distribution, and engineering folks came together to discuss what happened at the show, what opportunities are apparent in the industry, and what trends appear to be at the forefront for 2015. Here's an assessment of what we saw and what we expect to continue for the coming year.

Trend 1: Safety

While we think safety should be a top priority every single day, that isn't always the reality when you look at actual day-to-day operations. Running a "safe" operation is multi-faceted, covering staff training and expectations and equipment inspection and upgrades. We were happy to see a definitive effort being undertaken to increase the safety of zip line operations and make the activity more enjoyable. Running a safe operation not only reduces your risk and liability, it helps satisfy customers and both of these have a big impact on your bottom line. Risk is expensive. Unsatisfied customers limit future revenues. It's in your best interest to do everything you can to increase safety this year.

Specific to zip lines, we have noticed a few common risky mistakes, many of which are easily fixable. To help you determine whether your zip line is as safe and effective as possible, read this whitepaper: 9 Mistakes You Don't Know You're Making That Are Keeping Your Zip Line From Success (And How to Fix Them!).

Trend 2: Expanded Offerings

One of the main themes we took away from the show this year was the desire to expand offerings at zip line operations and challenge courses to include jumping and free fall activities. Facility owners and operators are constantly looking for new ways to set themselves apart from the competition and create a fun and unique space for customers. In an effort to keep people coming back, you need to consider ways to keep them engaged and thrilled. Perhaps this means expanding your facility, adding more infrastructure features, and building new elements. Or perhaps it's as simple as adding jumping and free fall options to your existing set-up.

Facility owners and operators at the show really embraced our QUICKjump Free Fall Device and FlightLine offerings and many are ready to add them for their upcoming season. Our devices are modular, cost-effective, and fun, meaning you can add them easily to increase customer satisfaction without much up-front cost.

Trend 3: Multi-Use Towers

This trend is similar to trend 2, but different in that while adding additional thrilling and revenue-generating attractions to your operation, you can maximize ROI by using your existing platforms, towers, and structures. The idea that every activity needs its own infrastructure just isn't cost-effective or true. We are so passionate about the idea of maximizing your existing structures that we wrote a white paper about it: download it now. You Have the Platform Already…Now Use it to Increase Thrills and Drive More Revenue.

On the topic of multi-use spaces, the brand-new Head Rush Adventure Tower received much attention at the show. Show participants really embraced the idea of having many activities on a tower with a small footprint with a low staff requirement. Owners and operators can buy one structure and use it for myriad adventures and activities, including rock climbing, rappelling, jumping, and zip-lining. The days of building separate towers or platforms for every activity will go away, instead opting for multi-use and high-throughput structures like the Adventure Tower.

Trend 4: Zip Line Trolley Innovation

For zip line owners and operators, having the best components is important to the safety and longevity of your line. One factor that often goes overlooked is trolleys. We have been watching the trolley scene for a while and quite frankly, weren't excited about what we were seeing, so we created the Impact Trolley, the only trolley specifically designed for high-speed impact braking.

The Impact Trolley was a big hit at ACCT. Show participants were incredibly excited to see the new Impact Trolley in action and were immediately able to see the benefits of our optional capture system and t-handle. Operators are tired of losing money from rider retrievals and are excited about the ability to easily bring riders to the platform if they fall short. Also, using trolleys that are not designed for impact braking leads to unnecessary wear to the zip line and also leads to an uncomfortable and jolting braking experience for the rider. The Impact Trolley solves these problems and revolutionizes the way zip line components and are engineered and manufactured. Learn more about the Impact Trolley.

We had such a great time at this years' ACCT show, and appreciate everyone who stopped by and said hello. Until next year, contact us anytime!

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