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Ice Rink Shut down for the season – What should ice rink operators do?

Ice Rink Shut Down for the Season - What Should Ice Rink Operators Do?

As the winter season comes to a close, so does the operation of ice rinks. Ice rinks are a popular attraction during the winter months, but with the end of winter comes the end of their season. As an ice rink operator, it's important to have a plan in place for shutting down your rink. By taking the suggested steps below, you can ensure that your rink remains in good condition and that you're fully prepared to provide an even better experience for your customers in upcoming seasons.

Curling Competition; curling rink
Curling Competition

1. Equipment maintenance and storage

When shutting down the ice rinks for the season, ice rink operators must ensure that the equipment is properly maintained and stored to prevent damage and remain in good condition for the next skating season. This involves several key steps, including properly draining and cleaning the ice, inspecting and repairing equipment that will be put into storage, and storing the equipment in a secure, dry location.

To prepare for the next season, operators should drain and store the refrigeration system and properly maintain the ice resurfacer and other equipment. This can include changing fluids, lubricating moving parts, and conducting routine inspections to identify any potential issues before they become major problems.

By taking the necessary steps to maintain and store equipment, ice rink operators can extend its lifespan. minimize downtime and expenses. Proper storage and maintenance of equipment can also ensure a smooth start to the next skating season as operators can simply perform a few checks and maintenance to welcome skaters back for another season of fun on the ice.

2. Evaluate Your Staff

Shutting down the rink doesn’t end with storing the equipment only. Ice rink operators should also take the time to evaluate their staff and determine who will be returning for the next season. This includes assessing their performance and reliability, as well as identifying areas for improvement.

Moreover, operators should decide whether they need to hire additional staff members for the next season. When evaluating the staffing needs, factors such as the previous season's staffing needs, changes in the facility, and any potential changes in demand for services should be included in the consideration. Early planning and recruitment can help ensure that they have a full team in place before the start of the next season.

By taking proactive steps to evaluate and hire staff members, operators can ensure strong team in place to deliver excellent service and smooth operation for their customers the best experience. In addition, it shows that the operator values their staff and is committed to providing a safe and enjoyable environment for everyone involved.

3. Review Safety Procedures

Regularly reviewing and updating safety procedures is crucial to ensure that ice rinks are as safe as possible for both staff and customers. Ice rink operators should conduct regular equipment inspections, train staff on proper safety procedures, and ensure that all necessary safety equipment is available and in good working order. Safety equipment may include helmets, gloves, and other protective gear.

In addition to this, operators should also conduct risk assessments and identify any potential hazards in the rink area. This could include identifying areas of the rink that may be prone to slipping, tripping, or falling, and taking measures to minimize these risks.

Ice rink operators should also have a clear and comprehensive emergency response plan in place to deal with any incidents that may occur, and ensure that staff are trained and familiar with these procedures. This plan should be regularly reviewed and updated to reflect any changes in regulations or best practices.

Safety should be a top priority for ice rink operators when preparing for the next skating season. By taking these measures, operators can provide a safe environment for staff and customers and minimize the risk of accidents or injuries. A safe and secure rink environment is key to ensuring that customers feel confident and comfortable skating, which ultimately contributes to a positive skating experience

4. Encourage customers to provide feedback

To improve the customer experience and prepare for the next season, it's important for ice rink operators to seek feedback from their customers. Asking for feedback can provide valuable insights into the skating experience and help identify areas for improvement. Operators can consider gathering feedback on events, promotions, facilities, and customer service.

One way to solicit feedback is by sending out surveys to customers via email or posting them on social media. Online forums and comment sections can also provide a platform for customers to share their thoughts and suggestions. In addition, operators can simply engage in conversation with visitors to the rink and ask for their input on the skating experience.

By showing that they value customer input, operators can build trust and loyalty among customers. Moreover, acting on customer feedback can lead to improvements in the overall skating experience and help attract new visitors to the rink by offering what they want . Therefore, seeking feedback from customers is a vital step in preparing for a successful next season.

Rink Chiller for a gallery; ice rink refrigeration
Ice rink chiller

5. Consider Upgrades and Improvements

The off-season is a great time for ice rink operators to consider upgrades or improvements that could enhance the overall skating experience for their customers. Operators should evaluate their facility and equipment and consider any updates or changes that could be made.

This might include updating rental equipment to ensure it is in good condition and meets the needs of customers, improving the sound system to enhance the atmosphere of the rink, or investing in new lighting to create a more welcoming environment.

In addition to these specific improvements, operators should also consider broader updates that could improve the efficiency and overall experience of the facility. For example, operators could explore energy-efficient lighting options to save on operating costs, or redesign the layout of the rink to improve flow and accessibility.

By making these improvements during the off-season, operators can ensure that their facility is even better prepared to provide an excellent experience for customers when the next season rolls around. These improvements can also help attract new customers and retain existing ones, ultimately benefiting the business in the long run. Check out the Berg's Ice Rink Chiller Systems that can help to improve ice quality and energy efficiency as well as enhance the skating experience while reducing operational costs..

6. Plan for the Next Season

As the off-season comes to a close, it's crucial for ice rink operators to plan for the upcoming season. This includes evaluating the previous season's performance and identifying areas for improvement, as well as planning new events, promotions, and programs.

To plan effectively, operators should stay up-to-date on market trends and industry best practices, and develop a comprehensive plan for the next season. This may involve revising pricing strategies, updating rental equipment, or expanding skating programs to include new age groups or skill levels. This plan should include specific goals, strategies for achieving those goals, and a timeline for implementation.

By carefully planning and executing these initiatives, ice rink operators can create a successful and engaging experience for customers in the upcoming season.

7. Stay Engaged with Customers

When shutting down the ice rinks for the season, effective communication with customers is crucial. In addition to informing customers about the rink's closing date and any end-of-season events or promotions, operators should also share their plans for off-season maintenance or upgrades. This may include activities such as resurfacing the ice, repairing equipment, or renovating the facility.

By keeping customers informed about upcoming changes, operators can help build anticipation for the next skating season and maintain customer loyalty. A proactive approach to communication through email blasts, social media posts, or in-person announcements can also help manage customer expectations and prevent confusion when the rink reopens. An effective and continuous communication with customers can help ice rink operators to maintain visibility in the market and prepare for a successful next skating season.

8. Encourage early sign-ups

Ice rink operators can encourage customers to sign up for the next skating season early by offering various incentives. For instance, operators can offer early bird discounts or access to exclusive events for customers who sign up before a certain date. This can help generate excitement for the upcoming season and help secure revenue in advance.

In addition to discounts and events, operators can consider offering other incentives such as loyalty programs, free skate rentals, or priority access to popular skating times. These incentives can help attract customers and build loyalty among existing customers.

Moreover, early sign-ups can help operators better plan for the next season and anticipate customer demand. By knowing how many customers to expect, operators can have better budgeting and planning of staffing levels and equipment inventory accordingly. This can help ensure a smoother and more enjoyable skating experience for all customers.

Closing an ice rink for the season can be a complex process which may require careful planning and execution. Yet, with the proper approach, it can be a seamless and rewarding experience. By following the suggestions outlined above, you can ensure that you can have a smooth and successful transition while your rink is properly maintained, your customers are well-informed, and your staff is ready for the next season. So, take the necessary steps to prepare your rink for the off-season and look forward to welcoming back your customers for another great skating season.

About Berg Chilling Systems 

Berg custom designs, manufactures, installs, and services cost-effective chilling solutions for various applications and industries including water TCUs and thermal control units. Berg’s refrigeration experts know chilling down to the core. Putting the customer’s challenges at the heart of every design, Berg sales engineers apply unmatched energy management experience to create built up or skid mounted systems using both ammonia and synthetic refrigerants.  

Wherever unique cooling needs exist, in multiple industries and in varying environments around the globe, clients trust Berg expertise. Contact us today to find out more.