With a focus on family fun, this resort company runs 10 lodges that cater to families with kids two to 12 years old. Each property has an indoor water park, attractions, entertainment experiences and much more.

Safety is paramount when hosting hundreds of families at each resort – and the company incorporates it into every part of its operation. So, when the world recognized the risks of COVID-19, the company temporarily shut down its properties across the U.S.

With guest and employee safety its top priority, the company obtained opening approvals from multiple state and local authorities. This was possible because, while collaborating with NTT DATA, tracking analytics revealed the company could increase occupancy while still adhering to social distancing standards.

Business Needs

As the risk factors for COVID-19 transmission became clearer, the company had to develop a strategy and establish guiding principles for reopening with a plan that facilitated a safe guest and employee experience.

The company engaged NTT DATA’s Supply Chain Operations team to focus on two essential areas of the reopening plan: determining the maximum safe occupancy of the resort and ensuring social distancing while minimizing surface contacts.


  • Improves day-to-day operations planning
  • Ensures social distancing while minimizing surface contacts
  • Determines maximum safe occupancy rates
  • Creates a scalable, repeatable reopening process


Building and implementing the playbook

Since the waterpark is the largest guest attraction, the first task was to calculate new capacities for every ride and activity in the waterpark that reflected practical physical distancing for guests and employees. The teams created a simulation model that incorporated social distancing rules, ride dwell times, popularity and usage, guest family sizes, age restrictions and hours of operation. The model considered the square footage of pools, decks, play areas and walkways and helped determine maximum capacities.

NTT DATA ran scenarios to identify bottlenecks and arrive at recommended capacity limits. By repeating the process for all other attractions, food and beverage outlets, conference rooms and common areas, capacity limits created the confidence to operate and maintain physical distancing among guests and employees. Detailed modeling also enabled the resort operations teams to enforce and educate guests on social distancing.

Mapping the steps of the guest journey

With the resorts shut down, resort management teams collaborated with NTT DATA and employed industrial engineering techniques, including time and motion studies, to simulate the guest journey. Detailed mapping was essential to understand which processes required a redesign to manage socially distanced guest traffic patterns while maintaining a positive experience. Process mapping also identified the right number and placement of sanitizers, wipes, masks, gloves, plexiglass dividers, signage and decals throughout the resort. With access to existing resort layouts, the teams designed the appropriate journey for guests without visiting all the lodges.

Redesigning employee operations

Optimizing employee operations is not only a health and safety issue; it’s vital for keeping the staff morale high. As in guest process mapping, a back of the house operations review enabled recommend changes. Detailed activity mapping identified surface contacts for sanitization focus (for example, biometric logins, key kiosks) and areas for employee and guest gatherings. The operations team carefully addressed each of these risks before reopening. The teams then designed and implemented a pre-shift temperature screening and tracking process.

Formulating a scalable reopening process

After determining all process modifications layout changes and capacity limits, the teams created a reopening playbook. Given ongoing uncertainty about reopening dates, it was vital to develop flexible, easy to implement scalable processes. These included a day-to-day reopening activity plan, a detailed checklist and modular training schedules. After the successful reopening of the first resort, the path for reopening other lodges was clear and repeatable.

Tracking and predicting occupancy after reopening

It’s one thing to establish capacity and another to monitor it. This called for constant monitoring and quick implementation of changes to ensure a continuously safe environment. The company had already equipped resorts with real-time cameras to count people in different areas. The teams created a monitoring dashboard to compare the guest count with capacity limits at various times of the day for every resort. With enough days of data, the model also predicted crowd sizes from the occupancy of previous nights. This capability helped the resort teams better plan day-to-day operations.

With detailed procedures and lowered occupancy limits, the company successfully got reopening approvals from multiple state, provincial and local authorities. Nearly 70% of its lodges reopened by June 30.

Real-time occupancy tracking showed the company maintained its attractions within capacity limits, helping plan activities to maintain consistent social distancing. Occupancy tracking analytics also show that most of the reopened resorts can increase occupancy while still adhering to social distancing standards. These new tools helped the company decide whether to increase or decrease occupancy at any given lodge. As the company deliberates every decision, there’s one overriding consideration — the safety of guests and staff.

About the case study

The largest family of indoor water park resorts engages NTT DATA to develop a reopening strategy that keeps guests and employees safe.




United States

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