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Health Club Management

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Pool management: Pools of profit

Swimming pools can be a valuable asset to a health club, but they can be costly to run. How can operators generate income from their pools? We ask our industry experts for their top tips

Published in Health Club Management 2018 issue 8

Martin Symcox,

Royal Life Saving Society

Martin Symcox
Martin Symcox

The Rookie Lifeguard programme from RLSS UK is a great retention tool and can also create an income stream for operators. The programme is a fun and exciting lifesaving awards scheme for kids.

Rookie Lifeguard helps children to learn self-rescue, plus survival and how to perform rescue skills.

As well as teaching children lifesaving skills, the awards are a great tool to retain swimmers in the higher levels of learn-to-swim programmes and helps to keep those children attending venues for up to three more years as they progress through the programme, enabling operators to considerably increase pool-based income.

The recent new trend of monofin swimming also presents excellent additional revenue generation potential for leisure providers. RLSS UK’s approved water safety partner Fin2Fit offers a range of monofin and mermaid classes. Level 2 Swimming Teachers can attend a one-day course to qualify as Fin2Fit Instructors. Successful completion of the course enables candidates to deliver the Fin2Fit Mermaid and Sharks awards programme.

RLSS’s Rookie Lifeguard programme helps retain young swimmers
RLSS’s Rookie Lifeguard programme helps retain young swimmers

Steve Nelson,

Certikin

Steve Nelson
Steve Nelson

From my perspective, it’s not about how operators can make money from pools, but how they can save on running costs.

Using an OC-1 filter media can result in savings in energy use. A typical installation will see the pump’s speed reduced by 20 per cent, resulting in a nearly 50 per cent saving in energy useage across the board.

Adding a thermal cover to the pool when it’s not in use also allows operators to save energy. Less heating will be required to keep the water at temperature, evaporation will be reduced and the air handling system will not need to work as hard. Usually the payback period after adding a thermal cover to an indoor pool is between one and two years, and after that, it’s profit.

Another way to save is by changing underwater lights from 300w bulbs to LED. This is a simple and quick task that has a rapid payback. Compared to the classic 300w bulbs, LEDs run at about a tenth of the cost, which results in a 90 per cent saving on electrics.

In most cases the payback is less than nine months. This means that if they’re changed at the start of the financial year, you’ll recover this cost and start to make savings within that year, making it a cost neutral investment in your infrastructure.

Duncan Jefford,

Everyone Active

Duncan Jefford
Duncan Jefford

At Everyone Active we generate over £40m a year from swimming and 70 per cent of that is from swimming lessons.

To realise the potential from lessons it’s crucial that you programme priority lesson times – such as after school and at the weekends – into the club’s pool timetable.

The quality of delivery is also very important, to ensure parents are confident that they’re doing the best for their children in developing such a vital life skill. At Everyone Active, all our instructors have a minimum of ASA Level 2.

Instances of casual swimming have declined across the industry in recent years, but we’ve found there’s been increased interest in training for swimming-based events, such as triathlons. In response to this, we offer coached and structured performance-based pool sessions to encourage more swimming participation.

We’ve also found that once children reach the age of eight they’re less interested in swimming, unless it includes a fun element. We try to timetable sessions that include games and inflatables to encourage more children and families to use our pools.

There’s revenue to be made from swimming lessons, provided the quality of delivery is high
There’s revenue to be made from swimming lessons, provided the quality of delivery is high

Ben Wilkins,

Good Boost

Ben Wilkins
Ben Wilkins

The number of regular swimmers in the UK has been falling despite an increase in the number of available pools. This isn’t new information, but how long could this trend continue? Swimming is regarded as one of the most popular activities by the British public, but the stats don’t support that.

People want to be in the water, but they also want to do more than just swim lengths.

Swim England’s 2017 report Health and Wellbeing Benefits of Swimming highlighted that pools offer an environment with huge potential to support people with long-term health conditions; from cancer to heart disease and musculoskeletal pains.

Creating a pool offering for individuals living with these kinds of conditions is an opportune way to increase pool use while also providing a beneficial wellbeing service to members.

The offer needs to be more than swimming; it needs to be adaptable to individual abilities, be suitable for non-swimmers and be social.

At GoodBoost, we give each participant in our classes a waterproof Android tablet, and these assist a qualified swim teaching practitioner in delivering individually tailored and progressive aquatic exercise sessions for people living with a range of different health conditions.

Initiatives that utilise the therapeutic properties of water, while making the offering available to the non-traditional swimming population, have the greatest likelihood of increasing pool numbers. This is one of the best chances the industry has to splash the cash back on to the balance sheet.

Good Boost offers aquatic exercise for people living 
with health issues
Good Boost offers aquatic exercise for people living with health issues
http://www.leisureopportunities.com/images/HCH2018_8pool.jpg
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