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by Michael Clark, Business Development Director for Swimming Nature

When you’re in the business of fitness, you’ll know there are ebbs and flows when it comes to revenue. Many traditional exercise formats have marched on, changing with the times, trends and technologies. However, there is one revenue stream that is often overlooked – the swimming pool. The way in which water has been used to generate revenue has – until recently – remained largely unchanged. For this reason, many operators are not yet aware of the possibilities.

The average swimming pool offers hundreds of cubic metres of prime real estate, yet with all this space at their disposal, why are so many operators not quite making the best possible use of it?

It’s worth assessing your current swimming lesson provision, for instance if you’re already running your own group swimming school you might want to look to see if you can offer any additional services.

One-to-one (or even one-to-two) swimming tuition is a great option, as – depending on the environment of your pool – these sessions take up minimal space but drive high margins and rentals. The nature of a one-on-one premium service in the water can sit harmoniously alongside more traditional group swimming classes, think of it like running PT sessions alongside your traditional group classes or gym floor sessions. Hiring out your pool – or part of your pool – to a specialist aquatics supplier can also be a smart option and a great revenue generator.

It’s important to break free of the traditional way of thinking – that the pool and the gym are two very separate entities. What a lot of people don’t realise is that water-based training can really complement gym work. Pool and gym teams should be working together to create programmes which encourage members to train in both areas of the facility. Some facilities are beginning to offer specific fitness sessions in the pool, and it is looking like we are heading towards a more holistic approach to fitness. At Swimming Nature, we are currently creating a unique water-workout for adults that incorporates swimming drills, PB training and specific fitness elements. Not only does the client improve their swimming, they also get an effective, low-impact workout in the process.

Technology is starting to play a huge role in swimming, just as we are seeing elsewhere in fitness. Bespoke tracking technology will become prevalent and provide an array of data to help children and adults track their progress in the water. These advances in technology are allowing operators to create deeper and more meaningful relationships with their customers. We consider technology to be of such importance that we have made it an integral part of what we do. We operate an in-house technology business – Sporting Technology – which enables us to lead the market in innovation and consumer data collection.

However, to truly maximise on your pool space it’s a matter of choosing something that will add tangible value and differentiation to your facility. Swimming is about so much more than learning the strokes and going up and down the lanes. There are endless ways to offer “swimming” to your members. It’s worth investing the time to really research the numerous approaches to swimming tuition and coaching to find a solution that seamlessly fits, both operationally and strategically, to your business.

Deployed strategically, your pool is overflowing with possibilities and as an industry we need to start seeing the pool for what it’s capable of. It is much more than a place for members to learn swim skills. It is also a space for serious physical training and an opportunity to change the way we exercise. Most importantly, it is one of the most lucrative assets for operators to boost customer retention and long term revenue in a completely new way.