Feature Article - June 2018
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2018 State of the Managed Recreation Industry

A Look At What's Happening in Recreation, Sports & Fitness Facilities

By Emily Tipping


Looking forward, similar numbers plan to make no increase or decrease in their fees over the next two years, with 66.5 percent saying fees will remain the same in 2018, and 63.6 percent keeping fees the same in 2019.

Among facilities that charge a fee for membership or usage, those from camps, Ys and community centers were the most likely to report that they had raised their fees from 2016 to 2017, while school respondents were the least likely to have raised fees. Some 47.9 percent of camp respondents who charge a fee said they had raised that fee in 2017. They were followed by Ys (39.2 percent) and community centers (35.1 percent). Just 9.5 percent of school respondents who charge a fee said the fee had increased from 2016 to 2017.

The next two years will see similar trends, with camps continuing to be the most likely to plan fee increases, while schools are least likely to do so. From 2017 to 2018, 54 percent of camp respondents said fees will increase, and 48.9 percent of these respondents expect an increase in 2019. Among school respondents, 13.3 percent said they plan a fee increase for 2018, and 19.5 percent will increase fees in 2019.

In 2017, 55.8 percent of respondents said they expected usage of their facilities to increase from 2016 to 2017. Slightly fewer (50.7 percent) respondents to the 2018 survey indicated that such an increase had taken place. Another 40.8 percent said that the number of people using their facilities had remained the same, while 8.5 percent said the number of people using their facilities had decreased from 2016 to 2017. (See Figure 18.)


Looking forward, more than half of respondents expect to see further increases in the number of people using their facilities over the next two years, while the percentage of respondents expecting usage to decrease falls. From 2017 to 2018, 52.7 percent of respondents said they expect an increase in the number of people using their facilities, while 5 percent expect a decrease. And from 2018 to 2019, 52.6 percent of respondents said they expect an increase, while 3 percent projected a decrease.

Respondents from suburban communities were the most likely to report an increase in the number of people using their facilities from 2016 to 2017, while those from urban communities were the most likely to expect increases in 2018 and 2019. From 2016 to 2017, 53 percent of suburban communities said usage at their facilities had increased, compared with 51.4 percent of urban respondents and 47.7 percent of rural respondents. Looking forward, 57.3 percent of urban respondents said they expect an increase in 2018, while 56.2 percent expect an increase in 2019. Among suburban respondents, 54.6 percent expect increases in 2018 and 55.2 percent expect increases in 2019. Finally, 47.6 percent of rural respondents said they expect the number of people using their facilities to increase in 2018, and 47.4 percent expect an increase in 2019.

From 2016 to 2017, respondents from community centers, camps and parks were the most likely to report that the number of people using their facilities had increased, while those from schools were the least likely to see an increase. Some 61.7 percent of community center respondents said the number of people using their facilities had increased from 2016 to 2017. They were followed by camps (60 percent) and parks (56.4 percent). Less than one-third of schools (32.8 percent) said the number of people using their facilities increased in this time frame.

Looking forward, Ys, health clubs, camps, community centers and parks are most likely to project further increases, while schools continue to be least

likely to expect an increase. From 2017 to 2018, 64.6 percent of Ys are expecting increases, followed by camps (59.8 percent) and parks (58.3 percent), while just 32.8 percent of schools expect an increase. And from 2018 to 2019, 63.3 percent of health clubs expect to see usage of their facilities increase. They were followed by camps (61.8 percent) and community centers (59.2 percent), while just 31.1 percent of schools expect an increase that year.

Staffing

This year saw a fairly significant drop in the average number of people employed at the organizations covered by the survey. After several years of steady growth, to a high of 147.6 employees in 2017, the average number of employees dropped in 2018, to 115.6. This represents a decrease of 21.7 percent in the past year. On average, this year's survey respondents employ 28.2 full-time workers, 39.8 part-time employees, 44.8 seasonal workers, 43.2 volunteers, and 9.1 employees of some other designation. (See Figure 19.)

As usual, Ys employ far more people than any other facility type, with an average of 200.5 employees. They were followed by parks and recreation respondents, with an average of 126.2 employees, and colleges and universities, with 110.3. Health clubs and camps employ the fewest, with an average of 78.5 and 91.2 employees, respectively.