In an exclusive interview, Tim Mow, General Manager of Yas Waterworld, Abu Dhabi, highlights the waterpark’s customer-centric approach in providing the ultimate customer experience for its visitors across various touch points. He tells us about the park’s latest thrills, exciting promotions and rewards programs, onsite medical / safety measures and customer feedback processes.
Q: Within just 5 months of its opening, Yas Waterworld was awarded Middle East’s leading tourist attraction of the year by World Travel Awards in 2013. What factors have enabled you to achieve this in such a short period of time?
Tim Mow: When we opened our doors in January 2013, we brought something new and unique to the Middle East, as well as to the global theme park market. Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi is the world’s only Emirati-themed waterpark, set across 15 hectares of the exciting entertainment district that is Yas Island. The park’s design and concept pays homage to UAE’s rich heritage and the tradition of pearl diving, with all the 45 rides, slides and attractions at the park following the adventures of ‘Dana’ – a young Emirati girl in search of a legendary pearl that brought prosperity to the people of her village.
Yas Waterworld rivals the best international waterparks with its varied offering including five world-first rides that promises a fun experience for the entire family. Whether its enjoying an adrenaline rush on rides like Dawwama and Jebel Drop, relaxing on the lazy Al Raha river or diving for pearls with the Yas Pearl Diving Experience – visitors can experience a truly Legendary Emirati Adventure.
Q: What are your processes for crowd management and minimizing long queues at rides and ticket counters?
Tim Mow: All of our staff undergo professional training in order to manage queues efficiently and safely. To reduce the queuing time at the ticketing counters, we encourage our guests to purchase their tickets online ahead of visiting us. We also have three different ticket options, which offer guests the option of having fast-track access to their favourite rides.
Q: Do you have facilities and services available for visitors with special needs?
Tim Mow: We have special rates for guests with special needs, which is AED 100 per person that is also extended up to three immediate family members. The tickets include complimentary fast pass access for the four guests.
Q: What first aid measures and medical personnel do you have onsite to deal with unexpected medical emergencies and injuries?
Tim Mow: The health, safety and wellbeing of our visitors is our main priority at Yas Waterworld. All of our lifeguards are fully trained with first-aid skills and we also have a qualified medical aid team available at all times for any unexpected emergencies.
Q: For a new customer visiting Yas Waterworld for the first time, what would you describe as the chief attractions of the park in terms of a memorable customer experience?
Tim Mow: At Yas Waterworld we have five world-first rides, which we would definitely recommend to our visitors to try out, including Dawamma – the world’s longest and fastest Tornado waterslide, and Bandit Bomber – the globe’s first interactive water and laser rollercoaster. For those looking for the ultimate adrenaline rush, Jebel Drop and Liwa Loop are definitely a must!
We would also encourage our guests to try out our unique Pearl Diving experience where they can learn how to dive for their own pearls using traditional methods. At the end of the experience they can take home a memorable keepsake of their experience.
Q: In what ways do you gather and measure customer satisfaction and feedback from their visit to Yas Waterworld?
Tim Mow: We have various methods of collecting guest feedback both physically at the park through contact forms and surveys, and digitally through email, social media platforms and TripAdvisor. We constantly monitor our TripAdvisor account, which allows us to interact and gain feedback from local and international visitors.
This is very helpful as we can identify areas of improvement for us and constantly work behind the scenes to improve the overall guest experience that we offer.
Q: In what order of priority do you handle customer complaints?
Tim Mow: All of the feedback we receive from our guests is valuable to us therefore we treat them all as a priority. We want to ensure that our guests have an amazing experience during their visit, and therefore always forward feedback to the relevant teams for reference or action when needed.
Q: What rewards and loyalty programs do you have in place for regular and returning visitors?
Tim Mow: Our Annual Pass is the perfect option for our regular visitors to take advantage of the year-round sunshine in Abu Dhabi and enjoy everything that Yas Waterworld has to offer. There is also a Family Annual Pass which offers even bigger savings for families of four or more. Our UAE Resident Offer is also currently running where UAE residents can enter the park for 185 AED by showing their Emirates ID at the ticketing counter.
Q: What kind of online customer service and support do you have available for visitors who have queries and want to buy tickets online?
Tim Mow: We have a strong digital presence across most social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram where our followers are able to reach us throughout the week. We receive many enquiries about our services, attractions, offers and ticket prices, and we do our best to ensure that all enquiries are responded to within the shortest time possible.
Q: What new rides and services are you planning in the near future to deliver a better customer experience?
Tim Mow: We have an exciting year planned for our guests filled with events, activities and offers, in addition to our existing thrilling rides, slides and attractions. Ladies Night, which gives our conservative female guests the opportunity to enjoy our offerings in a safe and private setting, is set to be back by popular demand in March 2016. We are also planning activities around Ramadan and Eid al-Adha, as well as specific days such as UAE National Day, Halloween, and the festive season in December.
Furthermore, we are increasing our efforts to reach UAE residents; our resident offer has seen great success, bringing in people from Abu Dhabi as well as the other Emirates, which is why we are bringing it back in 2016, along with offers for corporate & school groups, birthday parties and other promotional opportunities. We have also witnessed the effectiveness of targeted campaigns in 2015, and therefore would like to explore this further in 2016.
The theme park industry is expanding in the UAE, so we will continue to highlight our unique proposition in order to stand out from the rest, while also contributing to the wider entertainment offering both on Yas Island and in the UAE.
About Tim Mow:
Tim Mow entered the amusement industry in 1986 as a lifeguard at Oasis Water Resort in Palm Springs, California, and has since worked through the operation ranks to take on roles in park operations, maintenance and development in facilities such as: Raging Waters, San Dimas, Wild Rivers, Irvine, and Knott’s Soak City USA, San Diego, all in California.
Also the Director of Engineering at Wild Wadi Waterpark in Dubai for the five years prior to joining Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi in 2009 as Assistant Park Manager, Tim has extensive insight into the leisure and tourism offering within the UAE region.
His background in commercial swimming pool and leisure facility development and construction has also meant that Tim has overseen the waterpark’s construction from the ground-up, including working on renovations, ride design and installation, as well as innovative technology upgrades.
An Aquatic Facility Operator Instructor with an extensive background in water quality and filtration systems, Tim brings 30 years of vast and varied waterpark experience to Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi that has and will continue to be utilized to its fullest potential to benefit the waterpark.