For many club owners, pools serve multiple purposes. They serve as retreats from the heat of summer, or as great sources of cardio. However, there are seven specific benefits club owners should know about swim programming, they might not have even considered.
Having a well-respected swim program significantly enhances the community opinion of your club. Given the importance of learning swim safety, having the right program will position you as a community health leader. There are over 4,000 drowning deaths per year in the U.S. and parents are encouraged to start swim programs with their children as young as 1.5 years of age. Be their expert.
Having access to up-to-date swim instruction content is essential in program longevity. While the fundamental outcomes of most programs are similar (move your arms, kick your feet, breathe) the process is ever evolving. New ways to teach concepts are developed each year. While anyone can teach the basic outcomes, with appropriate content to refer to, you can stand out from the competition when you teach participants actual learning strategies, which result in life-long success.
Don’t compete to win; compete to be unique and let winning be the by-product. It’s critical to differentiate your program, particularly when the consumer mindset is often something such as, “learning to swim is a commodity.” It’s not a commodity. There are better ways than others to learn swimming, ways that will extend beyond the pool. When there is a story behind the program and a unique approach, the community talks. Word-of-mouth is the biggest source of demand in swim programming.
It goes without saying that a strategic swim program adds revenue, and it’s often high margin revenue. Typically speaking, you are already paying for 90 percent of your costs associated with offering swim programs (pool, lifeguard, chemicals, administration). Adding an instructor that is paid only when they are teaching can keep the margin healthy. A lot of your swim programming could be offered in traditional “dead” times. Many 1.5- to 3 -year-olds can come with a nanny from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Pre-school children can come from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Often times, you can capture new revenue, without interfering with customer service.
Swim programs increase traffic into your club. They make for a great membership lead-generation tool. For example, if you have two hours of swim lessons, which is four 30-minute classes, and each class has six participants, you just brought in a great number of prospects to your club. In many cases, swimming lessons could be another tool in the toolkit of membership sales tactics. Perhaps a free six-week session of lessons would be an enticing incentive to join your club.
Word of Mouth
Moms and dads talk. They are in clubs and groups. They meet at daycare. They talk at school during pick-up. They are always looking for new and different things to do with their children. Having an enjoyable swim program will get them talking and sharing about your club.
With a trained staff that can teach not just swimming, but also learning strategies, the results will create more demand. Parents will search you out, and some local schools may even be looking for partners to teach their students basic swimming skills. By offering a storied swimming program, you’ll stand out from the crowd.
Gary Peeples is the managing director of global business development and marketing for Michael Phelps Swim School. For more information on Michael Phelps Swim School or licensing opportunities, visit www.mpswimschool.com or contact Gary Peeples at firstname.lastname@example.org.