Economics, Experience Design

3 Reasons Why Hotels & Resorts Should Build a Surf Lagoon

Surf Park announcements are making headlines all around the world with many projects including resort-like accommodations on-site. These types of projects often showcase 200-500 room hotels projected to be at or near capacity year-round. For surf park developers, adding a hotel brings numerous benefits to their business. But what about the other way around? The same is true for hotels & resorts looking to differentiate while driving new and repeat visitation. Adding a surf lagoon could be a secret weapon that brings serious benefits to your bottom line.

Why should hotels and resorts consider adding surf into their plans? Here’s three reasons…

1. The Broad Appeal of Surf

Surf is taking the world by storm and the surf park development boom is both a driver and a response to this massive growth. Along with the recent inclusion of surfing in the Olympics, the influence of social media, and newfound aspirations during the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s countless factors that are driving rapid growth in surfing participation.

  • During COVID, surfing saw unprecedented growth, 27% in the US, 43% in Australia, and 66% in England. (Surf Park Central)
  • More women and girls are taking part in the sport, increasing by nearly half a million in just a decade. (STAB)
  • The Sports and Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) states that 1 out of every 100 people take part in the sport.

It’s clear that surf is exploding and reaching a broader demographic than it ever has before. From gender, age, and ethnicity to things like skill level and surfboard preference, there’s huge potential to capitalize on within the multiple consumer groups that currently exist and will continue to grow. Not only will a surf lagoon draw new guests to your property, but it can even extend nightly stays when business guests, families, or other travelers want to stay a few extra nights to experience surfing for the first time.

2. Surf Tourism

Surf trips are typically fixed lines in most surfers’ annual budget. For those living in areas without access to reliable waves, the only option is to travel. But, even for those that live near some of the most consistent coastlines, surf travel is still popular by people of all skills and abilities. Besides the obvious reason of traveling to experience new breaks in exotic locations, another reason can be attributed to overcrowding. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, STAB mag estimates that local lineups are 35% more crowded, which means there are less waves to go around.

When it comes to surf travel, Surf Park Central’s 2023 Consumer Trends Report found that:

  • About 75% of surfers would take a surf vacation for 8-14 days and spend $2,500 (with no guarantee of perfect waves in the ocean)
  • Average stay at a surf park (when not hourly) is 3 to 3.5 days
  • Daily spend (excluding accommodation) in a surf park ranges between $220-380, and people actually spend more than what they thought they would
  • 1 surfer comes with 2.9 additional people on average

Perhaps the most important finding from this study for hotels and resorts is that a majority surfers would prefer to stay on site if they can, making a really convincing argument for hotels and resorts to consider adding a surf park. Plus, the right wave tech can satisfy the whole family or group from world-class waves to an authentic beach environment. This can easily elevate those statistics above, as people bring more people and stay longer.

Visual of Wisemans Surf lodge featuring Endless Surf. A perfect resort setting for world-class surf.
With perfect waves like this, surfers will travel from near and far. (Rendering of Wisemans Surf Lodge by The Chamber Creative)

3. Master planning and Venue Design Benefits

Whether your development is in planning phases, or your operating property is sitting on some extra acreage, a surf lagoon like Endless Surf can bring so much value to your site plan. These benefits promote both the guest experience and revenue generation.

  • High-action views so even those not surfing can enjoy the action
  • Blue spaces are not only an aesthetic contrast to the property, but are proven to increase well-being and relaxation
  • 360 degrees of waterfront development potential with Endless Surf for anchoring additional amenities
  • Waterfront properties are worth 116% more than others (Zillow), meaning you can charge a premium for room views or real estate.

Surf lagoons are nothing short of iconic anchors that promote a variety of additional business opportunities. Luke Altschwager, Managing Director at Palm Valley has plans to add an ES56 wave pool to his existing golf resort on the Gold Coast. He recognizes the business potential that comes along with a surf lagoon in saying:

Beyond offering an authentic vibe in an attractive setting, while providing perfect waves for all types of surfers, a world-class surf pool anchors a whole new level of economic investment in the surrounding area.

graphic showing the three tiers of ROI for hotels and resorts with a surf park
The “Three Tiers of ROI” that hotels & resorts can capitalize on

BONUS REASON: Surf has no off-season

(We couldn’t resist offering you one more important reason…)

Off-seasons play a major role in a dictating how a hotel / resort operates. Typically related to weather, traditional guests are less inclined to travel to your destination if the trip falls during the freezing winter months, or even a scorching desert summer. But, with an amenity that attracts eager surfers year-round, a surf lagoon could be the answer to combatting that seasonal slow-down.

To illustrate, let’s look at California. As one of the most quintessential summer vacation’s out there, this season is a busy time on the state’s coastline. Ironically, fall, winter, and spring typically bring more powerful swells and much better surf. Even when the water is cold and the beaches are empty, the lineups are still packed. For more stark examples, look at mainland Mexico during hurricane season, the devoted cold water surfers of Tofino, British Columbia or even the Great Lakes (yes, freshwater lake surfing is a thing).

When the surf is good, weather is never a deterrent.

Hotels and Resorts: Built it and they will come…

With aspirations for surfing higher than ever before and an untapped demand for perfect waves on-command, hotels and resorts can become early movers in the global surf park development boom. As you can see by the reasons above, a surf lagoon might just be the secret weapon that your property is looking for to differentiate revenue streams, stand out from competition, anchor your masterplan, or even combat downward seasonality trends.

If you’ve never been on a surf trip, we can attest that it’s the type of vacation that you never want to end. That’s in part why surfing is such a lifestyle that transcends into daily life. Surfers are always in search for the next perfect wave and will travel far and wide to experience it.

Ready to create the world’s next greatest surf destination? Curious to learn more reasons why? We’re can help you with either. Drop us a line below…
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