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Yes, pools can be used for aquatic exercise. However, they can also offer your members something equally enticing: fun. Water-based workouts are great, but so is enjoying family time at the pool. Ideally you can offer both options to your members.
Newtown Athletic Club in Newtown, Pennsylvania, offers members a variety of ways to enjoy swimming. Inside, members have access to both lap and therapy pools for exercise. Outdoors, families can relax at the new aquatic resort complex, which opened in July 2013.
It’s at the outdoor aquatic complex that members have all the fun. “On a four-acre outdoor lot we built essentially a resort for our members to enjoy along with their regular fitness club membership, “ said Brandi Perkovich, the youth programs and aquatic director at Newtown Athletic Club. “We went from just being a multi-sport facility to actually being a lifestyle for people.”
When contemplating the creation of this aquatic facility, owner Jim Worthington was clear he did not want just another lap pool. Instead he wanted it to look and feel like a resort. “There were a few of us who would visit other facilities and see what kind of amenities they had,” recalled Perkovich. “We actually went to a few water parks together to so see what kinds of things we liked to do and we thought kids liked to do, so that we could bring those to our facility here.”
Today the resort complex offers a little something for everyone. Kids can enjoy the 25-foot water slide, splash pad and lazy river, while parents can savor lunch at the full-service restaurant and bar. According to Perkovich, the new aquatic facility has lead to an increase in membership, as well as many other benefits.
“In addition to an increase in memberships and usage, we have boosted our ancillary revenues by about 50 percent between the food and beverage that we sell and the events that we have hosted out there,” said Perkovich. “It was definitely a plot of land that was just sitting back there, not being used. [Jim Worthington] has amazing vision in everything that he does here.”
When trying to decide what type of aquatic amenities are right for your club, Perkovich encouraged operators to think outside of the box. “We definitely feel like our outdoor complex gets more use now because of its resort-like features than if it had just been a rectangle in the ground,” said Perkovich. “Do things that a typical swim club wouldn’t do, so members don’t feel the need to go other places to get the same kind of fun and enjoyment that we can provide for them as a club.”
Unique aquatic amenities can be used to leverage your marketing and sales efforts. After all, the club down the street may have a pool, but does that pool come with a resort-like experience?