By Samantha Joseph
STUART - To keep up the strong performance that outpaced predictions and brought $1 million in revenue during the first season, administrators of Sailfish Splash Waterpark are looking to area hoteliers to push ticket sales.
The move is part of an aggressive pricing and promotion campaign executed as part of a $20,000 marketing budget.
It's also part of a broader goal to have the area's newest attraction deliver county-wide economic benefits, officials from Martin County's parks and recreation department said.
The hotel consignment pass program targets properties from North Palm Beach to Vero Beach, giving them deeply discounted tickets to use with their promotional materials.
"The long and short of it is we give them a tool for an attraction that has a lot of appeal in Martin County right now," said Craig Jon Anderson, marketing coordinator for Sailfish Splash Waterpark and Martin County's parks and recreation department.
"We will put passes into their hands and these hotels and motels can use them as they see fit."
Hoteliers can obtain the passes for $7.42 each, instead of the $11.25 retail price. They pay nothing upfront, but complete a consignment agreement. On Oct. 1, property managers return unused tickets and pay for those they've used.
"It's good because they don't have to come up with the cash up front," Mr. Anderson said.
The campaign developed as hoteliers requested park passes to bundle into promotional packages and specials, Sailfish Splash Waterpark officials said.
"Early in 2012, the Martin County Hotel Motel Association, as well as the Martin County Convention Visitor's Bureau, recognized the appeal of Sailfish Splash Waterpark to vacationers and visitors," Martin County spokeswoman Gabriella Ferraro said in a press release.
"As a result, the two organizations, as well as individual members, asked the waterpark's marketing operation for a program or mechanism whereby businesses catering to out-of-town guests could use Sailfish Splash Waterpark passes to promote their respective enterprises."
In its first weeks, the idea is gaining support among local tourism promoters who say they like to offer clients a deal on the park, located at 931 S.E. Ruhnke St., Stuart.
Jacque Lewis, general manager of Courtyard by Marriott in Stuart and president of Martin County's Hotel Motel Association, said her organizations looked "forward to delighting our guests with Sailfish Splash Waterpark passes."
"We like the program," she said. "It gives each establishment flexibility and control, while helping support and promote our area and local attractions."
Park officials plan to extend the campaign in coming months to offer similar deals to nonprofits and other business sectors.
"There's no reason in the world, charitable organizations, if they wanted to raise some money, can't go out and sell waterpark passes," Mr. Anderson said.
He dismissed concerns that widely offering tickets at deep discounts would hurt the park's financial performance.
"We've seen just the opposite. These sorts of promotions are driving business. You have to get feet across the threshold for the first time. Once you do that, the probability is very high that they're going to come back," Mr. Anderson said.
"And there really isn't any additional cost to us. All this does is it just keeps adding incremental revenue."