Like a moth to a flame, children out of school are drawn to swimming pools. And if you want to capitalize on a major opportunity to increase club attendance during the summer, especially out of your youth and family demographic, you have to keep your pool prepped.
Due to its focus on aquatics amenities and services, Merritt Clubs is a popular spot during the summer, and regularly sees an uptick in participation for pool-related activities.
“Considering several of our clubs have outdoor aquatic parks with slides, spray pads and much more, we see a tremendous uptake in club usage,” said Mark Miller, the brand’s COO. “We become, for many, the preferred destination in the summer months.”
This increased usage also applies to indoor aquatics, according to Miller. “Our indoor usage also goes up slightly because of facility upgrades, and from kids being back home from school or summer camps,” he said. “Our regulars stay regardless — they come in daily for their laps and water aerobic classes.”
To account for the influx of pool-goers, the regional director of Merritt Clubs first ensures the aquatics staff has all hands on deck.
“Each year we bring back a certain amount of lifeguards and hire new ones as needed,” explained Miller. “We make sure our aquatic directors have full staffs early on and that we have time to ensure every new employee goes through our standard onboarding.”
Beyond simply teaching systems and processes, Miller and his staff also stress the importance of the club’s culture to new hires. “Each new hire learns about how we behave and how we deliver service,” he said.
While there’s much fun to be had at the pool, there are also plenty of hazards associated with aquatics — drowning or slipping on a pool deck, to name a few — so safety is of the utmost importance at Merritt Clubs.
“We run additional AED, CPR and first aid courses, and run pool operations courses to make sure we have good plans in place,” said Miller.
The Merritt Clubs staff aims to deliver great experiences beyond just programming, including regular food and beverage operations, and special events. So they make sure every staff member — across every team related to pool operations — is on the same page.
“We make sure our events are completely flushed out and our supplies are full,” said Miller. “Our teams all have staff meetings, since our outdoor pools have a food and beverage component — we do great with that.”
Most importantly, Miller strives for a full team effort when handling an increased number of members and guests. “We want to ensure our aquatics team, our food and beverage team, our bartenders and our chef are all aligned, and working as team to deliver a great experience,” he said.