By Jonathan Green - May 2010
It is easy to get lost in all the zipline designs and designers offered online. Most of zipline companies have their own specialties and some offer a wider range of zipline designs and alternative products. In this case, the zipline do not seems to be a straight line but a maze of twists and turns. The key asset of all major zipline design company is the professional zipline designer.
To the inexperienced eye, ziplines might appear to be a relatively simple activity. After all, they are basically just long metal cables, securely fastened and hanging between two trees, or two man-made anchors. Therefore you might assume that designing, building, and operating a zipline course would be relatively simple and straightforward. The truth is, all the aspects in the professional zipline business are surprising complex. Building a zipline is 50% engineering and experience based knowledge, and 50% art. It requires an understanding of many factors.
Economic Feasibility Study
Ziplines are a hot new adventure activity, and so you might think they would be popular and profitable just about anywhere you build them. The truth is, that in order to produce a respectable return on investment, your zipline needs to be located in what we can call a sweet spot. A professional zipline designer can help you to choose and evaluate a zipline site. The zipline site is ideally conveniently located along a major tourist route, or near a major population center where the socioeconomic level and age of the citizens is compatible with adventure sports. If your zipline is located near a port-of-call where cruise ships dock, or you can build it inside a popular ski resort, then you are well on your way to having a profitable business.
Occasionally, a professional zipline designer will be contacted by prospective builders who have found a location they like, in the middle of the woods, hours from any major city. He may tell these potential clients that it is unlikely they will have enough customers to justify the costs involved in building a zipline but on the other hand, tourists are willing to travel quite far if a zipline has developed a reputation as a must-see and must-do activity. In fact there are tourists who traveled half-way around the world to take vacations in Costa Rica just to try out the ziplines!
During a recession, where most tourists have a decreased budget for discretionary entertainment and thrill rides, it is more important than ever to find a professional zipline designer who can design and install your course at a reasonable price. It is often shocking to see the price that some zipline companies charge; especially with the American business scheme where overheads are much higher insurance are heavy on the shoulders and, well let’s face it, the capitalism of the American way.
Some company’s prices are often 50- 75% less than these American companies for the exact and often better end results. This reduction in cost is not due to cutting corners or decreasing quality materials. Rather it comes from the will and ability to manage projects with an economical approach instead of large profit oriented goals. Small and efficiently-run company keeping low overheads can keep prices at very reasonable levels.
Site Evaluation Visits
Finding a site is just the first step in the process! During the initial consultation it is imperative to see photos, topographical maps, or GPS
coordinates of the proposed site. This can help form an initial impression of your desired site. In the end, the zipline designer needs to visit the site in person to evaluate the feasibility of the zipline as well as address any other concerns regarding zipline design. There are many factors to consider based on the characteristics of the zipline site site. Will you build a course in trees, using poles or steel towers? What permits will be necessary? Will road access be difficult? We can provide you with knowledge and information that can help you make some important decisions.
Tour Logistics Data
How long will it take to run a group through my canopy tour? How many people should I hire to staff my zipline tour? How many tours per day should my staff run? Transportation challenges? These are all important questions that a professional can help you answer. A zipline professional will have data from zipline tour operations to draw from, and he can help you with some of the most important planning for the logistics of your operation.
Environmental Impact and Sustainability
One of the main attractions of ziplines is that they provide a thrilling adventure, without having a negative impact on the environment. Keeping this in mind, there are many techniques that will minimize the impact of your zipline tour on the environment, and decrease the carbon footprint created by the zipline participants. Helping protect the environment is more than just a morally sound philosophy; it is a business essential as many clients may reject your business if they feel your commitment to the environment is not sincere.
Successful Marketing Techniques and Strategies
Zipline Tours are the hottest new rage, but how will people find you? What works best in your location? Do you have access to cruise ship visitors or perhaps a year round ski area? How can the online market drive customers to your site? A zipline professional designer will have plenty of experience in these areas, and he can share his knowledge with you so that you make informed decisions. One recent trend is to feature zipline courses as team-building and group bonding experiences. Both corporations and youth groups find that people can interact more efficiently and more healthfully once they have successfully participated in activities that require trust and encouragement as a group.
Insurance & Liability Issues
What are typical insurance rates for Zipline/Canopy Tours? How do I find the appropriate insurance providers? A professional zipline designer can provide you with the criteria and resources that you should consider when making these very important decisions.
Guidance and Assistance for Obtaining Permits
In a first-world country like Canada, the United States, or most of Europe, one of the most important and time-consuming tasks is obtaining the required legal permits to build the zipline. Failing to secure the necessary permission can lead to major headaches. Who do you need to meet with or get approval from before you break ground? A professional zipline designer went through it all, and he can help you identify these needs in advance so you don't have any surprises along the way.
Plus, even if you can obtain permits, there is still the issue of land ownership. Will you buy the land where your zipline will lie? Depending on the cost of land, and the size of your zipline, this may be a logical option. Other times, it is necessary to lease the land or arrive at some other form of agreement with the landowner.
Staffing a successful team
There are a number of personality traits, and physical attributes, that are common in successful zipline managers and guides. A professional zipline designer will advise you on what makes a great employee at a zipline course, and what makes a group of zipline employees into a cohesive and efficient team.
Ongoing Assistance and Tech Support
Your zipline or ziplines have been built, and your team has received their initial training. They still need practice, and you are not feeling ready to run public groups through your zipline or ziplines yet. What do you do? A professional zipline designer can be there for this critical transition to help you iron out all the kinks. He can also advise regarding where you can cut back and improve efficiency on your tours. Perhaps you would like an outside organization to come in and evaluate your operation to provide insight for improvement. Maybe there is a unique marketing strategy that you are missing, or a new concept that could be added to make your tour more unique. A professional zipline designer has seen Zipline and Canopy Tours around the world, and he has plenty of creative ideas to share.
Additional Sources of Revenue
A successful zipline course will be profitable simply from the revenue generated by the daily use of the ziplines. But in order to maximize the profitability of your zipline course, there are many ways to get more incomes. A professional zipline designer will advise you on ways to improve your return of investment and help guarantee you zipline tour will be a successful business for years to come.