By: Wes King
I remember when I could go to my local neighborhood pool and just swim and play with my friends. There was a chain-linked fence, a folding table with a person checking people in, and a lifeguard or 2. In certain neighborhoods there was a slide and diving board, maybe even a small metal kiddie pool. Well, those days are long gone. Each community, park district and even recreation center is being held to a higher standard. There are now indoor play lands, spray fountains, and bouncing inflatables popping up in hundreds of communities across the country.
The question I have is what does this mean for the aquatic industry overall? How does the average, local, regular community center pool keep up? It was just 20 years ago all I thought about was a few swim lessons and some birthday parties to make money in a pool. But today there are dozens and dozens of swim lesson companies trying take over, or even building their own local pools. The ones that build their own pools have national marketing dollars promoting their business and programs, while the recreation center, YMCA, and JCCs are left with wondering how to literally “stay afloat”.
Well, while I don’t have all the answers I do have over some direct thought, proven results, and unique strategies that could help keep the tradition of community and family while creating new revenue streams (yes, another water pun) for many aquatic facilities. The overarching concept to thinking differently about your pool is just that! We need think of our pools like a true business. Like we think about our fitness centers and our boutique services (like massage or Pilates companies). We have to remember that a pool is literally a blank canvas with endless possibilities of ways to tell your story about your aquatic facility.
In the coming weeks I’ll be sharing unique, real-life, and entertaining stories that are designed to showcase how aquatic facilities are changing and how to stay ahead of the wave of change (yep, one more water pun!))
THE focus off this blog series will be to showcase different areas of the aquatic industry such as; parks and recs, corporate fitness, water parks (large and small), hospitality/hotels, and more…and how pools are becoming more like a business than a recreational water activity. As the “business of pools’ of changes there is an equal need to change how we manage and operate this industry and start treating it like a real business.
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!
Contact Wes: Email
Ph: (224) 698-0828