By Wes King, RippleAffect Wesley King Consulting, LLC
I have written about several areas in the aquatic industry, but this one would be the most widely accepted failure of any of them. There is a phrase that I am betting that everyone reading this has said at least once in their life, most likely at a hotel or an indoor pool. It is the moment you walk into a space and your nostrils flare up and you say, “Oh, they have a pool.” Everyone recognizes that smell, that odor; it’s like a bon-fire or gasoline. Everyone knows that smell and yet no one realizes the risk or what that smell really means.
This blog isn’t about the chemistry behind the smell or the even the operations of why it exists. This is not a blog about how to remove the smell or if a pool should use salt or chlorine (note I’ve noticed – salt pools don’t have that smell). Nor is this a blog about how unhealthy it is to be in and around a pool that has that “pool smell”.
This is about how we, the traveling and pool-using population, have become so accustomed to the smell we almost are immune to it. When I say immune, I specifically mean that we don’t react or respond. We don’t ask the hotel or facility why it smells, or what that smell is. We know what smell is! It’s “pool smell” and we have been smelling it our entire lives.
Also, if did ask a random employee of the facility what we were smelling, the chances of getting an educated and trustworthy answer are not likely. So… we go about our vacation or swimming activity believing that this is the norm, because it has become the norm.
This not so much a knock on the hotel industry (stereotypically the condo/apt and hospitality industry) as they are unguarded properties with traditionally minimal use, compared to other indoor pools. This is also not a knock on the management companies or even the aquatic industry. This is merely an observation of how 65% (and greater) of hotel users pick their hotels based on “if they have a pool” but that decision isn’t based on if that hotel does or does not SMELL like they have a pool!
A hotel focuses on service, a quality experience and even safety. Ironically, the aquatic/fitness/recreation industry focuses on the exact same experience – yet all of us can smell a bonfire a mile away and be brought back to child hood or family memories of camping; equally we can “smell a pool” and remember a great hotel experience or whether we swam in that pool or not!
All of this to say, like anything else that we “become accustomed to” it is equally important to ask questions and get the responses we need. We are taught to look both ways to cross the street. We are taught not to talk to strangers, and many of “life protecting” skills! However, we not taught how to make sure that when we “smell” something to say something! Well, consider this lesson #1! Next time you’re in and around a pool that has that “pool’ smell ask around – get some answers as to what chemicals are being used, how they’re being used, who is using them? And, even if you’re not swimming, make sure it’s safe for others to get into the water!
About the Author
To say that Wesley King has water running through his veins would be quite an understatement! For the last 25 years Wes King has dedicated himself to not only making pools (and fitness/recreation) safer and more profitable, but also to create a real and positive impact in this industry.
As a professional consultant Wes combines all that he has learned from holding nearly every position in nearly every aquatic/fitness/recreation organization in this country. He started his consulting business to ensure that your pool, your fitness center, your park district, etc. can learn of new ways to becomes safer and ultimately operate at a higher level.
Wes has become a subject matter expert with the Medical Fitness Association, where he has earned Fellowship, is a Lead Examiner, and Chaired the National Education Committee for several years. He has presented at multiple regional and national conferences on aquatic (and non-aquatic) subjects such as; emergency preparedness, organizational structure, and program and revenue growth.
He and his teams have also created award winning aquatic programs and safety standards. Wes has had the pleasure of working with most, if not all, of the leading organizations for aquatics, fitness, and recreation in the country. From those experiences Wes launched his own consulting company, where he has developed his own risk assessment &staff audit programs (just to name a few). He is proud to have won national aquatic program and safety program awards as well authored an all-encompassing Aquatic Management “How to” Operations Manual (available 2020).
Wesley’s unwavering passion to ensure every pool in the country is operating at the safest and most optimal level is tangible. He shares his love for this industry, and his love for his Chicago Cubbies, with his wife lovely Meredith, and their two children Colby (6) and Sadie (2 ½) and their dog, Winnie!
Ph: (224) 698-0828