By: Wes King
On a recent visit to a nice, but not too fancy franchised hotel in a major city in the US my wife and I got an overnight away from the kids and sure enough this hotel had a pool. This hotel was not overly fancy but not generic either. Not only did it have a pool, but the pool was jam packed with people. I mention this specifically because most hotel pools do not typically generate high volume of usage, however this was no ordinary pool. This pool had a mini slide, a kiddie water fall, and L-shape play areas and little spray features around the edges. There was no smell of chlorine, there was no oily film on top of the water, and we could see all of the safety drains. In my personal and professional experience those positive qualities are not common in a general hotel pool. My wife and I actually almost felt guilty for not bringing the kids, but over that quickly when we saw how crowded it was.
I had 2 major epiphanies watching all of the children playing. The first was that this is a trend, more and more hotels are attempting to enhance their standard pool to create an “experience” in their pools to draw the families/younger crowds. As new hotels are being built there is a strategic thought about how to draw local business and families for overnight events. The second light bulb that went off in my head was – there was no increased attempt to keep the kids and parents safe. While there was extensive thought process in this new and fun hotel pool, there was not an equal thought to increased safety. The standard “no lifeguard on duty” sign was there. The standard “warning” and depth markers signs were there, but nothing else. No extra staff. No extra eyes. I even asked the staff at the hotel desk about usage of the pool and was told it was usually busy at night, especially on the weekends. This weekend happened to have multiple gymnastics teams in town for a tournament. You could only imagine what gymnastics routines were being practiced on the pool deck and in the water by 6-10-year boys and girls. I was very quickly reminded of how important it is to have a collaborative effort in the hospitality industry when it comes to water!
This hotel was creating a wonderful guest experience but equally setting themselves up at any given moment!
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!
Email Wes / Ph: (224) 698-0828