As corporate director of group sales for Great Wolf Lodge, the world’s largest chain of indoor waterparks, Rhonda Khabir is passionate about her job for the obvious reasons. After all, who wouldn’t feel like a kid again barreling down a water thrill ride like Howlin’ Tornado?
Business with a side of fun is a model that’s proved successful, given the brand opened its 14th property in Garden Grove, California—just south of Anaheim—this spring, and is planning a 15th in Colorado Springs in early 2017. We talked with Khabir about the new location.
Tell us about event space at your new SoCal location.
We have a 30,000-sq.-ft. conference center that takes up the entire third floor of the property. One ballroom is about 10,000 square feet, and we have a total of 12 separate meeting rooms. There’s a parking ramp entrance for easy load-in, and we have built-in technologies such as wall panel controls for lighting and heating, as well as screens and LCD projectors.
What kinds of groups are you targeting?
We predict SoCal will perform like our other 13 locations in the SMERF market—that’s about half of our conference and group business. We’re excited to be in such close proximity to Anaheim Convention Center. We’re partnering with it on several events already.
Is the waterpark a draw for groups?
It does occasionally, but mostly it’s just another amenity. Some groups don’t even know it’s there; other groups will extend their stay through the weekend to allow family to come. It depends on the time of year. If families can come, that improves attendance—and that’s fairly true across all meeting segments.