With over twenty years of experience in the industry, Bonsai Design has a thorough understanding of the variety, range, and type of costs associated with developing an aerial adventure program as well as the potential of strong, continued returns. The summary provided herein represents Bonsai Design’s understanding of these costs as well as our experience with serious return on investment – ROI. This ROI Analysis has been separated into Initial Start-Up Costs and Ongoing Operational Costs. While each project will have a multitude of contingent expenses and unique factors to consider, the following information represents a thorough, if simplified, summary of both costs and returns.
Initial Start-Up Costs
The primary component of the Initial Start-Up Cost is the installation itself, which includes the design, labor, materials, travel, and associated permits. Costs will range dramatically at this point, depending primarily upon the type of product being installed, efficiencies of economy and scale, and the availability of existing infrastructure. Two further components of the Initial Start-Up Costs exist: Installation Related Costs and Non-Installation Related Costs. The installation of a successful aerial adventure program involves a large amount of work that is not immediately reflected in the final product, though its importance is fundamentally critical and evident in eventual return on investment. Typically, Bonsai’s products are built using trees as structural support systems. In order to gain a professional analysis of the health and viability of each tree used throughout the program, Bonsai will have a survey done of the property and tree assessments performed for each tree recognized as a potential option in the program design. This process enables Bonsai to generate critical property maps and tree reports used throughout both the design and installation process and on into ultimate operations.
Additional Installation Related Costs involve potential soil studies and engineering. Whether it’s the installation of a ground anchor in an Arbor-Flight™ Canopy Tour or a structural tower being installed in a Terra-Flight™ Zip Line Tour, the associated soils must be professionally understood in order to properly design and install various components of Bonsai’s products. Engineering, depending upon the type of product being installed, can also be a notable component of Initial Start-Up Costs. During the Design phase of many of our products, most notably the Sky-Rider™ Big Zip Rides, engineering is vital in the design of launch and landing platforms, anchors, and other critical aspects of installation. On a case by case basis, or depending upon the arrangements of the contract, clients may choose to provide food and lodging for the Bonsai Installation staff for the duration of the project as well as, at times, additional ground labor support.
Non-Installation Costs relate primarily to the infrastructure of the ultimate operation. Welcome centers, storage facilities, roadways and vehicles, communications, staff equipment and uniforms, as well as marketing all come into play. The expectant cost range of each of these components will vary depending upon the ability to capitalize on existing infrastructure and the overall scope of the project. For example, if an existing camp were to build an additional Challenge Course on their property, many of these costs would be greatly reduced, if not unnecessary, due to the fact that the infrastructure already exists. However, if an owner of a thousand acres of mountainous woodland wanted to build an Arbor-Flight™ Canopy Tour, all of the infrastructure would need to be constructed, substantially increasing the overall cost of the project.
Ongoing Operational Costs
The primary components of Ongoing Operational Costs involve the training of the guide staff to safely and professionally operate the programs, as well as perform inspections and routine maintenance when required. Additional inspections (performed by 3rd Party inspectors) and advanced maintenance will be considerable aspects of ongoing costs as well. Bonsai is well equipped to provide operational independence through our ACCT-certified training program, which can provide an early advantage in realizing strong returns.
Additional Ongoing Operational Costs will involve improvements to the infrastructure system, such as roadways, vehicles, etc. as well as managing all life-support systems and associated equipment and gear. Furthermore, in programs that use trees as structural elements, tree management plans must be implemented throughout the life of the program in order to ensure consistent, long-term returns.
Maximizing Your ROI
Bonsai Design is committed to providing the highest quality product, enabling the smoothest operations, and allowing our clients to maximize their return on investment. Several general factors exist that will have an immediate effect on returns. Principally, the total initial investment and the price point of the program will have the most impact on eventual returns. In finalizing an effective price point that will maximize returns, several factors should be taken into consideration by the Operator. Is the program directed at a tourist population (which will generally participate only once), or a recreationalist population (which will create a continuing return of local customers)? Is the program designed to suit families (generating a lower price point) or empty-nesters (generating a higher price point)? What is the economic stability of the surrounding target population? What is the size of the target population? What kinds of potential target populations exist within a two-hour drive of the program?
In addition to these considerations, seasonal factors should be recognized. What is the dependability of the tourism season, and what sort of tourist typically visits? Is it more likely for the “shop-till-you-drop” type of tourist to visit the area or recreationalists and outdoor enthusiasts? Furthermore, the region’s climate should be taken into consideration when evaluating potential return on investment. What is the duration of the peak season? How will seasonal temperatures impact visitor numbers? Will inclement weather create problems? Specifically, will the potential prevalence of high winds and lightning, which can force course closures, have a significant impact on daily operations through peak seasons? Finally, will the weather be so beautiful that people won’t be able to resist visiting your program to enjoy the outdoors?
The staff to visitor ratio is another key component in evaluating returns. What sort of program throughput can be anticipated, and what would an appropriate staff look like in order to safely manage expected visitors? The quality of the staff is also pivotal, and assessing the level of quality of the local community sources for exceptional staff should be considered.
Each of these operational factors and associated decisions can play a significant role in realizing maximum returns. With Bonsai’s committed experience in the industry, and our commitment to long-term client relationships, we can help you create successful, operational independence that will enable maximum return on investment. You tell us what fits your needs: We can guide you through the business development process, serve as an operating partner, or even run the business for you.