Swimming Pool Management Trends Report - 2022
Ever since the pandemic, big and small businesses across the world have faced all sorts of challenges to their survival. With safety a top priority, the situation was no different for the swimming pool industry in 2020. In fact, as per a survey by Community Associations Institute (CAI), only about 7% of community association pools opened on time during the year, while 41% of pools decided against opening for the year altogether.
In 2021, the production and distribution of vaccines made a clear difference in the minds of facility owners and managers across the country. In a similar survey on swimming pool opening statistics last year, CAI found that only 2% of community association pools are planning to keep their pools closed for the season, while only about 9% of owners are planning a delayed opening. This is a significant drop from 2020 when about 30% of owners planned to open their pools at a later date.
What to expect as pools in 2022
With the rapid spread of Omicron affecting the world today, it is safe to say swimming pools will need to maintain the same precautions as last year, if not ramp it up. Public swimming pools, facilities at Homeowners Associations (HOAs), and other aquatic pool facilities with spas and hot tubs and pool businesses will also need to be mindful of financial concerns after a difficult year. Facility managers and staff will need to work consciously to provide clients and members with a better experience.
It is certainly a competitive landscape today and thereby calls for enhanced safety measures, use of tech features, and marketing methods to entice clients and give them a recreational space like no other!
With the pool season a little way ahead of us, here are some of the key pool industry trends and key drivers that will influence aquatic facilities across the country in 2022.
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Swimming Pool Industry Trends 2022
- COVID-19 impact remains
- Safety measures to stay
- Mobile apps come to the fore
- The continued importance of pool booking software
- Tracking MAHC Implementation
- Industry-wide challenges
To understand how swimming pool owners and staff will have to operate this year, let us now examine each of these latest trends in detail.
1. Covid-19 Impact Remains
Practically majority of the pool facilities have been affected by concerns over COVID-19 and the risks of infection. While swimming pools were closed in 2020 until there was a greater understanding of the virus and its spread, some pools opened around June and July with great caution and state-prescribed restrictions firmly in place.
After a concise analysis of the situation, most states recommended restricted capacities to ease the burden on facilities and staff, while also ensuring a greater level of sanitization in their day-to-day operation. The season saw increased use of technology, safety equipment, and smaller staff to minimize the risk of infections.
That said, there is positivity across the swimming pool industry looking forward. In 2021, more swimming pools reopened with the help of pool scheduling software and safety measures were in place to manage their facilities with lower capacities effectively.
The use of booking software and technology made a significant impression on the pool industry and pool businesses as it helped Pool businesses, facility owners, and managers navigate during a period of serious uncertainty. Perhaps most importantly, these solutions helped staff collect COVID-related data on their members to protect pool visitors. Booking solutions like Omnify also helped the facilities protect themselves from liability with online waivers that needed to be signed by members before making any bookings.
These pool industry trends are expected to continue in 2022 as we see newer variants of the virus still spreading through the country this year.
2. Safety measures to stay
In spite of the fears, pool company owners held on liability and the risk of infections, it was found that the risk of getting infected inside a swimming pool was relatively lower. This is because the chlorine in the pool water can neutralize the virus and the risk of infections is mostly limited to spaces and common areas around the pool such as the showers, restrooms, locker rooms, changing areas, and lobbies.
Interestingly, the New Jersey Swim Safety Alliance conducted a study spanning 60 facilities in the state since they reopened around July, 2o20, to trace the spread at swimming pools. It was found that of the 327,316 people who used these facilities since then, 0 were reported to be infected following their visit to the pool.
Their analysis offered some highly beneficial pointers and practical tips for pools opening in 2022:
- The spread was contained mainly due to the implementation of strict safety guidelines, often stricter than the state’s recommended guidelines
- Pools ensured strict wearing of masks by both staff and members outside the water
- Managing capacity along with blocks of swim time to ensure limited numbers per session made it easier to mitigate risks
- Indoor swimming was conducted in warm and humid environments, with chlorinated water
This year, more people will continue to get vaccinated, but those fully vaccinated are still below 50% of the total population. Pool company owners and facility managers would be wise to keep restrictions in place if they are to have a safe season ahead.
3. Mobile apps come to the fore
Over the last couple of years now, we have seen the difference technology can help do a better job in simplifying swimming pool operations and even maintaining safety at the facility. From allowing facility owners of a pool company to operate at lower capacities to ensuring buffer times to sanitize pool equipment, the use of pool scheduling software has helped make life easier for facilities during the most challenging of times.
Today, with additional features, the best way forward for pool management is to enable greater accessibility for their customers. The best way to do this? Go mobile and ensure clients/guests can book pool slots with a quick tap of their phones. Secure their data and allow them to take care of all key functions from one simple interface. As your clients' experience becomes increasingly important today, using mobile-friendly pool scheduling software to book time at the pool will bring your customers closer and make life simpler for you and your staff. Not to mention, technology can incredibly drive your sales and business growth.
4. The continued importance of booking software
As the pandemic brought swimming pool operations to a brief halt last year, states began to work on guidelines that would help them open safely. One of the key recommendations made to facilities was to manage their capacities and operate with time slots that would allow them to maintain social distancing and keep their spaces sanitized at all times. The immediate and obvious solution was to use online booking software that automated and simplified the process for them.
This year, while some pools may choose to return to their old systems, it is clear that you can't 'hit esc' to online booking solutions as they are here to stay. A swimming pool booking and management system is new-age and perfectly suited to handle any business demand and integral to its growth. The automated booking industry has been growing consistently over the last few years and is expected to continue its upward trajectory over the coming decade. By 2024, the market is estimated to be worth $360 million, while the value is expected to grow to $546.31 million in 2026.
Over the last year, pools used booking software to simplify their booking operations, enable safer and faster check-ins, and maintain constant communication with their members. Booking solutions like Omnify also helped pool managers and staff minimize human error, accept secure payments online, optimize team communication, and manage memberships more effectively.
As booking solutions continue to evolve beyond managing reservations, facility owners and managers will find a lot more value-added to their operations, deliver a better experience to their members and contribute to business growth over time.
5.Tracking MAHC Implementation
The Model Aquatic Health Code (MAHC) was introduced in 2014 to help government officials at the state and local levels in framing and updating their pool codes. The Council for the Model Aquatic Health Code (CMAHC), a nonprofit organization, contributes to the development of the MAHC by providing inputs to the CDC as it compiles and updates the latest scientific information and best practices into one uniform code.
The MAHC was first drafted in 2014, but as of last year, awareness of these codes and their implementation remain relatively low. According to the 2021 Aquatic Trends Survey by Recreation Management Magazine, about 42.7% of the respondents were unaware of the code, while only 4.9% of the respondents said their local governing agency had fully implemented them. Since these codes are not binding by law, most agencies tend to implement them partially, factoring in local concerns. This can be seen by the 16.7% of respondents whose local agencies had implemented the MAHC in partial form.
While awareness of the MAHC doesn't directly affect facility managers and staff, the code can keep one up to date with the latest recommendations for safety and quality through scientific data and industry-wide best practices and help pools deliver a better experience to their members. If you’re among those who are unaware of the code, it would be beneficial to update yourself and your staff at the earliest.
6. Industry-wide challenges
The pandemic may have presented the most significant and obvious challenge to pool facilities over the last couple of years, but our coverage would be incomplete without looking at the changing market dynamics and the problems the industry has faced outside of the pandemic. Despite a rise or fall in Covid cases, the Aquatic Trends Survey pointed out that the biggest concern for pool owners and pool companies in 2019 was staffing, followed by budget, marketing, maintenance services, and safety.
In 2020, pool owners were most affected by financial concerns and the inability to make more money. With the decline in visitors, staffing wasn’t the primary concern. A significant number of respondents have also mentioned maintenance and safety as a concern. There is a greater demand for pool facilities this year, but this is accompanied by the same fear of infection as last year. Pools will have to maintain the same safety guidelines while offering services as last year while paying closer attention to their customers' concerns and making changes to the experience accordingly while addressing the surging demand.
If you run a swimming pool facility and would like to deliver a quality member experience that goes beyond bookings at low cost, Omnify has helped over a thousand pools create a safe, simple, and smooth experience for their customers and do a better job during the pandemic, while our team is committed exclusively on improving our solutions for you.
If you would like to know more about what Omnify has to offer, all you have to do is Sign up for a FREE TRIAL today and our team will be there to help you!
As swimming pools open across the country, here’s our in-depth report on the swimming pool industry trends that will influence aquatic facilities in 2022.