Feasibility Analysis
Design Masterplanning
Operations Planning

“At ITPS…Fun is a SERIOUS Business! 

6 Reasons Your Facility Needs an External Operations Audit

By:  Pam Westerman

If you are in a leadership role in a theme park, water park, or other leisure operation, you want to assure that all staff members are doing their jobs correctly, efficiently, and safely. After all, if this is not the case, then you and your facility face several risks. You have a greater risk of an accident or incident occurring. You have a greater risk of employee turnover because employees are not happy or do not feel valued. You have a greater risk of negatively impacting your attendance because your guests did not receive positive interaction or a memorable experience.

How can these risks be lessened? One way is to have an outside company conduct an audit of your facility. Simply put, an outside operational audit assures that your facility’s activities comply with your overall policies, and also explores the effectiveness, safety, and efficiency of the
operation. Regardless of how well you believe your staff is performing, an outside audit from an experienced firm can provide you with the confidence in knowing that your pre-determined policies and procedures are indeed being implemented. Outside auditors can truly be your “eyes and ears” so you will know whether or not your staff is being compliant.

1. Compliance to Operating Policies.

An external audit can help identify areas where your company’s practices and policies are no longer being
implemented, or are not being consistently followed. An external audit has no reason to be anything but honest about the status of how policies are being followed, so you can rely on the independence of the observation and the recommendations being made.

2. Credibility.

Internally and externally, your
observations.” facility’s brand and overall marketing strategy will carry more weight if your operation can say it is regularly audited by an outside company for safety, efficiency, and guest service.

3. Accident Prevention.

A park should take every measure to help ensure that accidents do not happen, both involving employees and guests. An outside audit that offers recommendations for safety improvements or that calls attention to non-implementation or non-consistency of policies, and that does so after an impartial review, could help keep your business from risking major loss due to an accident.

4. Enhanced Guest Experience.

In our industry, a lack of positive guest service can eventually lead to negative results. Our business thrives on the ability to create a memorable guest experience, which is achieved through employees on the “front lines” who interact daily with our guests. Our audits offer critical observation of how these employees interact, and to what level. You need to know how friendly your employees are with your guests, how approachable they are, how helpful they are, and whether or not they do everything possible to create a memorable guest experience as they fulfill their basic job duties.

5. Increased Efficiencies.

How well your operators group, service, and assist guests according to pre-determined policies can have a huge impact on your overall efficiency. If your facility is inefficient, not only will your guest service suffer, but also your revenues can be negatively impacted.

6. Process Improvement.

In the end, the ultimate purpose of an outside audit is to make sure that your facility’s programs, policies, procedures, and processes are properly in place and being followed by all staff. An outside audit can make sure of this, and can also provide you with recommendations for improvements, leading to a more positive operation.

An operational audit by ITPS is not a one-size-fits-all. We can help you customize the audit to best serve your facility and meet your internal needs, as well as your long-term objectives.

We recently completed a series of ride operational audits for a large theme park in the
U.S. These audits focused specifically on the ride operations department program, which included 50+ amusement rides and 20+ water rides. Three audits were conducted for 2016, one in the spring, one in the summer, and one in the fall. These audits allowed for each auditor to observe and note a checklist of important items. These included safety, proper ride operation, efficiency, courtesy, show, and cleanliness. These audits were “blind” audits, where the ITPS staff blended into the crowd and observed without the ride operators being aware of the audit taking place. Utilizing a mobile inspection app, ITPS created a customized checklist for this facility that offered its own unique scoring system to allow comparisons of improvement or decline from audit to audit.

Now is the time of year when budgets are being prepared and approved. It is incumbent on you as a theme park or water park leader to properly plan your budgeting needs to include the all-important outside operational audit from a reputable company. It will be money well spent for your peace of mind.

“At Hersheypark, our systems, procedures, and teams are audited on a regular basis as the safety and security of our guests and employees is paramount. In our long-standing experience, International Theme Park Services conducts effective and comprehensive audits. Their organization takes its time to thoroughly understand our operation on multiple levels to performing the audit. With years of industry experience, we have found International Theme Park Services to be easy with which to work in coordinating efforts, and the staff is friendly and helpful.”

Laura Woodburn - Hersheypark Director of Operations

International Theme Park Services, Inc.

Ride Operations Audits

Third-Party Audits Improve Operations and Guest Satisfaction

A Rides Operational Audit includes a full appraisal of the facility’s rides department operation through visual observation. ITPS will audit the facility’s rides and attractions in an attempt to assess the level of guest safety, service, efficiency, and entertainment value that the park offers. Through an analysis of each ride, attraction, operator position, and guest services offered, ITPS will make recommendations towards the improvement of the overall rides and attractions program.

ITPS utilizes a mobile inspection app to create a customized checklist and perform the operations audit for your facility. This software allows itps to ensure the facility’s policies and procedures are adhered to consistently. Audits also utilize a scoring system to allow comparisions to past audits. Any major findings can be e-mailed from the field at the time of the audit

Ride operations audits conducted by the ITPS team follows a format that allows for each auditor to observe and note a checklist of important items including:

Safety. This series of checks examines each ride’s presence of a fire extinguisher, placement and functionality of entrance and exit gates / fencing / restricted areas, ride signage, proximity of the operator to control panel and emergency buttons, and the employee’s level of distraction.

Ride Operation. In these observations, we watch for operators to properly check heights of riders, make sure entrance and exit gates are properly secure, that restraints are properly checked, and that operators are in their designated safety zones, as well as check for use of hand signals, visual scans, and verbal cues, safety spiels, and overall attentiveness.

Efficiency. Here, we watch operators for proper grouping of guests, efficiency in loading and unloading, ride balancing, handling wait times, and ability to fill a ride to capacity.

Show. In this category, we observe the operators’ grooming standards, adherence to uniform standards, and non-verbal communications.

Courtesy. This series of audit checks notes how each operator verbally acknowledges guests, their level of helpfulness, their level of friendliness, and their ability to create memorable experiences.

Cleanliness. For this check, we note overall cleanliness of the ride, surrounding ride area, and vehicles as applicable and as much as possible.

ITPS has conducted audits for all aspects of the operation including:  Ride Operations, Maintenance and Safety, Food & Beverage, Merchandise, Games, Guest Services, Group Sales.  A sampling of clients are listed below.

La Feria Chapultepec Magico

Mexico City, Mexico


Hershey, Pennsylvania, USA

Enchanted Kingdom

Manila, Philippines



Grupo Magico


Cincinnati Zoo

Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

Fort Worth Zoo

Fort Worth, Texas, USA

Feasibility Analysis - Design / Masterplanning - Pre-Opening Operations Planning - Management

International Theme Park Services, Inc.
International Theme Park Services, Inc.

Contact ITPS

2195 Victory Parkway
Cincinnati, Ohio 45206
United States of America
Phone: 513-381-6131