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Though pools have long been a summer staple for many private clubs, their importance to membership value has been steadily increasing over the past decade. Pool facilities not only bolster private clubs aesthetically, but also provide a desirable setting that can meet the wants and needs of many different kinds of members.
Here we will explore some of the reasons why pool facilities are becoming an essential part of the private club experience and how to create a facility that with the highest return value. Investing in quality private club pool facilities is not necessarily about turning a direct profit, but more about creating a much-beloved space that generates a memorable and desirable experience for members.
An interesting and dynamic pool facility is one of the most vital tools in a private club’s arsenal for member recruitment and retention. It satisfies a number of qualities that modern members search for in an ideal private club, creating a more satisfying and appealing environment for both current and potential members.
Recognizing that Family Matters
The most straightforward and essential need that pools fulfill in terms of membership value is the growing desire for a family friendly environment. It is no secret that many Americans consider quality family time a top priority. Yet according to a survey conducted by Virgin Holidays and Universal Orlando Resort, families actually spend less than an hour of time together each weekday on average — and only a little over two hours on weekends. As a consequence of this disparity, families are attempting to spend much of their limited free time not only participating in leisure activities, but also enjoying quality time with their children. With such limited time to spend with one another, it comes as little surprise that families have a greater interest in joining clubs that offer family-friendly facilities and activities. A dynamic pool area can create the perfect place for parents to relax while their kids enjoy some fun in the sun.
Focusing on Health and Wellness
While it is obvious that pool facilities improve the family experience, it is also important to highlight the benefits pool facilities have for older members and single adults. Society is becoming increasingly more preoccupied what it means to live healthy – particularly among younger generations who are attempting to transform fitness into a way of life. However, the National Club Association’s 2016 Trend Report found that baby boomers are also becoming increasingly preoccupied with wellness, opting for more vigorous outdoor activities than older generations before them.
Overall, members are searching for fitness options that expand outside of the gym and into more unique areas, including pickleball courts, spas, and, of course, pools. In fact, body weight and resistance training has remained a top fitness trend among private clubs for the last several years, indicating that many club members would likely enjoy water-cased classes like Aqua Zumba or Water Aerobics. Having a dynamic pool facility shows members that your club is dedicated to providing opportunities to live an active lifestyle outside of fitness center walls.
Looking Beyond the Golf Course
Current trends suggest that private clubs need to expand their recreational offerings beyond the golf course. While the sport is still popular among baby boomers, many studies found that participation is on the decline – particularly among younger generations. The National Club Association’s 2016 Trend Report shows that even golf-playing millennials place more emphasis on the social aspect of the experience rather than the game itself. This trend reflects a broader shift away from competitive activities across the board. According to Bill Yarger, President of Yarger Design Group, leisurely activities are becoming increasingly preferable to competitive activities overall — a trend is even shaping pool facilities themselves. Pool designs are turning away from traditional Olympic style lap pools transitioning to more resort-like designs that emphasize relaxation and a sense of community.
While pool facilities can infuse club memberships with additional value, it is no longer enough to simply put a concrete hole in the ground and fill it with water. A standard 50-meter Olympic pool is exactly that — just the standard. Having a normal pool facility does little to distinguish it from the similar offerings in the area. Selecting the standard pool is also not a particularly wise investment. According to Randy Mendioroz, president of Aquatic Design Group, a pool’s typical cost recovery is only 60-70%. To truly create value, pool facilities need to entertain and enchant with unique features that are difficult to find elsewhere.
Take a Cue from Water Parks
To distinguish their pool facilities from others in the region, many private clubs are beginning to cite water parks as inspiration for their pool designs. Recreational elements not only give your pool facilities more entertainment value, but also increase perceived value among the membership and the “return on experience,” which is increasingly important in private clubs today. Slides, lazy rivers, splash pads, and other elements that create a “jungle-gym-in-the-water” feel can offer a distinct sense of novelty and fun for families. Splash pads have become popular among private club pool facilities because they have less standing water, which lowers sanitation issues and risk of drowning that is expected with standard kiddy pools. Known as one of the safer recreational options, splash pads not only decrease maintenance costs, but also put parents at ease – a quality that is truly priceless in today’s market!
Zero entry pools are also increasing in popularity. This feature not only gives pools a natural beach-like look, but also helps facilities meet Americans with Disability Act requirements. It is also a highly inclusionary feature, providing easy access for both young and elderly members who might have difficulty climbing stairs or ladders.
Simply designing a pool in an unusual shape or with odd dimensions can differentiate it from others, giving it a unique aesthetic element and possibly even decrease maintenance costs. For example, Mendioroz points out that many 25-meter pools can perfectly suit the needs of some facilities without being cumbersome or accruing unnecessary maintenance costs.
Offer Poolside Dining Options
Poolside dining has become one of the most lucrative aspects of the aquatics experience at many private clubs. These “ultra-casual” dining spaces typically attract a great deal of foot traffic during the warmer months for numerous reasons. Not only do they provide shelter from the sun on hot summer days, making them popular refuges during swim breaks, but their relaxed dress codes also make the transition from pool to dining area simple for families – eliminating the need to deal with cumbersome dressing and undressing in the locker room. Smartly designed pool decks can also offer lovely outdoor dining spaces – yet another desirable trend among private clubs – all while providing a convenient place for parents to observe their children. Numerous studies have also shown that swimming actually makes people hungrier than many other forms of physical activity, providing swimmers with even more incentive to visit the nearby dining facilities. With all of these factors at play, it is little wonder that these ultra-casual poolside dining facilities are known to boost Food & Beverage revenue overall.
Design With Inclusion in Mind
Though family-oriented pool facilities are incredibly important in today’s market, cross-generational spaces are still highly desirable and valued by members. Multipurpose pools allow clubs to please and attract families, without ignoring or deterring adult members. Other clubs opt to provide smaller but separate pools that suit their target demographic, establishing separate atmospheres for families to enjoy while adults can relax and exercise without encountering the chaos of small children. Other features, including the zero entry pool designs mentioned above, can benefit multiple generations to create a universally appealing setting for members. After all, the more members you can please at once, the better the investment.
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