Waco Surf uses customer feedback to evolve, expand the facility

To stay in the game surf parks need to keep on top of consumer demands. Most industries have a decade or more of trial and error to fall back on. Not surf parks. So what to do? Sometimes it’s as simple as asking your customers what they want.

Recently, Waco Surf announced upgrades to their accommodations, including new hotel rooms and cabins as well as expanded beginner surfing sessions throughout the week. The company said that the changes come on the heels of a recent survey.

“It’s probably no secret that when we get to peak season, we send a post-visit email survey to every guest on-site – lodging, waterpark, cable park, surfing, or just a beach pass, they all get a survey asking for honest feedback,” said Amy Hunt of Waco Surf. “It can be brutal at times, and other times it’s made me literally cry with joy – but all in all, it’s necessary to learn our weaknesses and strengths.”

When Mike Schwaab and David Taylor rebranded Waco Surf, they transformed the former Wild West outpost of surfing into a curated experience. The main components that have evolved to shape the new customer experience are lodging and family access.

The challenge the new owners at Waco Surf have faced is how to maximize their periphery attractions. Those attractions in turn attract more first-time surfers.

“Lodging has been at the forefront of our minds since we first moved in here,” added Amy. “The small improvements we’ve made to lodging before this year’s larger project helped us to change our place from a dude’s trip, where you need to bring in your own drinking water and head torch, to somewhere where those same dudes are now bringing their partners and kids.”

Waco Surf realized that the family trips were increasing, and the park needed to act to accommodate this updated demographic. That meant varying the surf sessions on offer.

“With more families and first-timers coming here, the demand for beginner sessions increased dramatically last year,” said Amy. “We tried running beginner sessions on weekends in March this year and they were an enormous success, and the demand to learn how to surf in a controlled environment was made pretty clear to us.”

After customer feedback, Waco Surf realized they needed to expand their beginner surf program.

The wave pool has also added a “What’s Happening” page to list live music events and more.

“Going hand in hand with the push for our lodging programs, and the ability to bring your family with you – came along the need for “down time” activities, which is where our “what’s happening” page came from,” said Amy. “It’s a small start on something we’ve talked about ever since we took over – how do we fill the time between sessions to keep people so stoked they leave and say ‘man that was fun, when are we going back?'” 

Waco Surf said that the transformation pursues the creation of an environment where the owners would want to bring our own friends and family to hang out.

“We all have our own families, and there’s a good chance you’ll see all of our families hanging out around here at one time or another – because it’s fun here. And we all want to work somewhere fun!”

More Updates at Waco

Waco Surf is also gearing up for the 2024 summer season with a lineup of events and attractions, including live music starting May 5 and the Water Park opening on May 11.

The Sunday Sessions at Waco Surf, sponsored by Rockstar Energy Drink®, will feature live music every Sunday from 2-3pm starting May 5. Guests with beach access can enjoy performances by various artists throughout the summer, with acts like The Inkcaps, The Lindsley Brothers, Vanna Black, Strawberry Blonde, Short Jake, and Sitting on Stacey. Food and beverages will be available at the Dive Bar, Surfside Shack, Wedge Grill, and Saloon.

The Water Park, opening on May 11, offers attractions like Wedge Water Slides and a long lazy river, with the option to rent cooler-specific tubes for a lazy river float. The Cable Park will have new ramps, jumps, and rails for 2024. Waco Surf also offers the Summer Stay & Surf package, providing exclusive surf session access for up to four guests with a booked stay at Waco Surf Hotel.

Amy Hunt, marketing manager at Waco Surf
Amy Hunt is the Director of Sales and Marketing at Waco Surf. It’s her job to improve the customer experience.