Looking to boost participation and improve your aquatics facility or community center? There are many ways to generate new memberships and increase pool usage. Here are four ways you could get started.
1. Keep It Convenient
Convenience is key for any kind of programming - aquatic or otherwise. Before scheduling your programs, do some research and analyze your target audience. Figure out what times and days might be most convenient for your intended audience and be aware of school schedules, local holidays, and other factors that may deter your community from attending.
Have an exceptionally popular aquatic program? You could consider increasing the number of times you offer it. You should also try to find ways to pair programs together. For instance, if your facility offers youth swimming lessons, you could schedule programs for adults at the same time, giving parents the opportunity to get a workout while waiting for their children.
Registration is another factor to keep in mind. How easy is it for community members to register for activities and programs? Can members sign up for classes online or through their phones? By ensuring your registration process is as simple and convenient as possible, you maximize the chance of participation.
2. Develop Offerings for New Audiences
Take stock of your current aquatics programming and try to find gaps. Are there any demographics you are not catering to? Or is there any way to add on to your current offerings? One example could be offering special memberships for high school and college students during the summer break. By making it more cost-effective for this demographic to use the pool during the break, you have a higher chance of boosting participation.
Another program you could offer is beginner swimming lessons for adults who don't know how to swim or want to brush up on their swimming skills. According to a 2014 survey by the American Red Cross, 54% of all Americans either don't have all the basic swimming skills or can't swim at all. Finally, think outside the box and look at new trends that you could adapt to your facility. Look at personal training in the pool, perhaps even special training courses like scuba diving certification or triathlete training.
3. Re-engage Your Regulars
When looking for ways to improve participation for your aquatic program, don't forget about your repeat members. Look for ways to re-engage and retain them, to ensure they continue to register for your programs. It's also important to make sure that they are aware of all the amenities your aquatic center or pool has to offer. Invite them to try a new program by offering free sample classes or a discounted first class.
You might even tie in some sort of reward program to show your appreciation for your regulars. Not only does it re-engage them but they may be more likely to tell their friends and neighbors about your programs. For example, consider offering a free family day pass after someone has completed a session of swim lessons.
4. Increase Marketing & Communications Efforts
Having a marketing and communication plan in place to promote your aquatics center is key. Educate people on the benefits of aquatic exercise and spread the word about your offerings - to both members and the public. Develop a marketing plan to target your audience, both through print and online marketing.
For online marketing, consider advertising on your website, social media channels and through email newsletters. You might even invest in Facebook ads to reach a specified demographic. For print marketing, reach out to local newspapers and magazines. You might even distribute fliers or brochures at nearby local businesses, schools and around your facility. With the right combination of programming, marketing and promotions, your aquatics program can definitely increase new memberships and boost registrations in no time!