December 2016: Industry Growth
Fostering Growth & Preventing Contraction For the Aquatics Industry
As we reminisce on our successes of 2016 and look forward to 2017, the aquatic industry is perfectly positioned to have a major impact on the lives of people, both young and old. Health and family is at the core of what we all do, with everything we do helping people live healthier lives.
To achieve growth, we must prevent the bad things from happening at swimming pools, such as injuries, illnesses, and drownings, while at the same time getting more people involved in aquatics to take advantage of the health benefits. It is important to remember that as a productive member of the industry, it is our responsibility to address these two factors and to contribute to the growth of swimming pool, spa, and aquatic sport, participation. If we are not actively pushing to accelerate the expansion of the field, we inadvertently contract the industry, which is the opposite of what we want to have happen.
There are many ways to prevent contraction, one only has to look for the right outlets and learn how you and your organization can promote growth. The equations are simple:
Fewer Swimmers + Less Frequent Swimmers = Contraction
On the flip side: More Swimmers + More Frequent Swimmers = Growth
Swimmer here is defined as those that just get in the water, not those that are simply swimming laps.
Today, let’s focus on a few that we at NSPF think you could accomplish right now.
Promote the Benefits of Swimming
In a previous blog post, Michael Popke spoke about why swimming is amazing for the individual. It improves health and fitness, contributes to weight loss, can improve social life, isn’t age discriminatory, and allows people to achieve greater happiness.
If you begin to promote the benefits of swimming to your public, you will encourage them to better themselves, which in turn will lead to industry growth. When we encourage more people to swim, we create more fans of the activity which can lead to more memberships, hot tubs, and backyard swimming pools being sold. This is why NSPF has partnered with the SwimToday initiative of USA Swimming, who goal is to get people who already swim a little to swim more.
In 2012, NSPF launched it’s Step Into Swim campaign with the goal of creating one million more swimmers in ten years. Donations from individuals and companies, along with matching donations from NSPF, go towards teaching underprivileged children and adults the life-saving skill of swimming. Some of whom would have never stepped foot into a pool, ocean, or river. If it wasn’t for the organizations across the country that have stepped up and supported the cause, the life-improving benefits of swimming would never be realized by hundreds of thousands of children.
There is still time this year to give a tax-free donation to the cause of teaching more swimmers. Visit stepintoswim.org to learn about more opportunities or to hear the kids tell you themselves on why the love swimming.
Preventing the bad things from happening
Another way to promote growth within the aquatics industry is to prevent “bad things” from happening. Bad things would include recreational water illnesses (RWIs), drownings, fear of water, pool side injuries, entrapment, and chemical exposure incidences. There are many ways to prevent these things from happening while operating or owning a facility. Investing in having competent people maintaining and managing the aquatic facility is a great place to start.
In order to prevent RWIs and spreading illness between patrons and pools, the pool operator must keep the appropriate disinfection and pH levels in the water. Having a minimum disinfection level as required by local codes, usually 1.0 PPM, will prevent most RWIs from occurring. Drownings can be prevented with proper lifeguard trainings and by providing swimming classes. While knowing how to swim doesn’t eliminate the risk of drowning, it is greatly reduced, especially if learned at an early age. Another preventable bad experience at aquatic facilities are poolside injuries. Injuries can occur on the pool deck as well as in the water. People having bad experiences at the facility become lost customers. Educating of parents and children can go a long way to reducing the incidence of injuries. Having proper safety signs around the facility in strategic locations may also help.
Looking to the future
The simplest way to create demand for our industry is by creating more swimmers. This can be achieved by investing for dollars in local swim programs. Non-swimmers need to be converted to swimmers and those that swim a little need to be encouraged to swim more.