Goals! Additional Findings From the Industry Report Survey

By now, you’ve hopefully taken in the results of our annual Industry Report survey. If not, you can check out the details here. But either way, we’ve got even more data for you here.

In addition to all the data we collect every year for this report, this year’s survey included an open-ended question asking respondents to tell us about their top goals for their facilities over the coming year. Their responses were wide-ranging, but a few trends were obvious.

First of all, while you might expect that increasing their revenues, raising funds and otherwise managing money might be the top focus, that was not the case this year. In fact, goals around revenues and funding the fifth most common type of ambition for this year’s respondents.

What was No. 1? Increasing the number of people using their facilities, by increasing participation, growing memberships and otherwise drawing more people. More than one-fifth (22.1%) of the respondents who answered this goals-related question said they were looking to grow participation or memberships at their facilities.

The second most common type of goal had to do with construction or renovation. Just under a fifth (19.2%) of respondents said their goal for the coming year was to get busy constructing new facilities, or renovating their existing ones. In addition, 7.7% of respondents said they were planning to upgrade their existing equipment in the coming year. Among the items that will be added or upgraded were: disc golf courses, dog parks and dog park equipment, videoboards, playgrounds, including accessible playgrounds, field lighting, pickleball courts (of course!), swimming pools, splash pads, pump tracks and skateparks, fieldhouses, rec centers, campgrounds, fitness equipment, trails, shade structures, security equipment, gym floors, HVAC systems, restrooms and more.

Staffing, though named as the top challenge by respondents asked about the main issues the industry is struggling with, was No. 3 when it comes to goals, with 16.2% of respondents calling out increasing their staff as a top goal for the coming year. This is in addition to the many respondents who said they were looking to become more efficient with their existing staff, as well as those who were aiming to improve training for their staff in the coming year. 

Adding to their programing lineup or growing their existing programs was a goal for 12.7% of the respondents.

Another 11.3% of respondents said they were looking to increase their revenues or get involved in raising funds in the coming year.

Looking to set a goal of your own? Here’s a selection of the top priorities named by our respondents:

  • Continue to exceed the community’s expectations.
  • One, create positive change in the lives of all that walk through the door. Two, create professional career opportunities. And three, add mindset as an area of focus for clients.
  • One, expand access to underserved areas of our community. Two, continue to conserve greenspace and dedicated open space in a high-growth region.
  • Active aging: trying to maximize the outside space and getting people involved in community activities walking, mindfulness, etc.
  • Continue shift to higher value premium memberships, retain key employees, grow training line of business profitably, grow member base and improve cost to revenue ratio.
  • Get more people outdoors and educate on how to preserve what we have in the outdoors.
  • Improve efficiency with short staff. Offer more programs with short staff. Entitlement attitudes of staff. Inflation challenges/cost of projects.
  • Increase participation and provide relevant programming opportunities as the world continues to climb out of the pandemic.
  • Maintain the best service we can with increased visits and difficulty staffing.
  • Keep up to date with fitness/program trends, ensure safety and security, strategize for the future.
  • Marketing and getting bodies to use the facilities, creating safe spaces for women to come in and workout since our population is majority men, and getting instructors who can offer creative programming.
  • Operate as efficiently as possible to keep costs down for programs and admissions.
  • Our top goals are to increase the number of programs offered at our facility, by creating additional opportunities for early childhood, youth, teens and adult programming. Another main goal we have is to increase the number of partnership groups we have.
  • Recruit new lifeguards. Complete pool bathhouse renovations. Complete plans to make pool facilities more accessible.
  • Strengthen organizational capacity. Provide high-quality programs. Drive revenue growth and increase efficiency. Maintain competitive wage structure. Define organizational culture.
  • Reinstate programming to a pre-pandemic level by successfully recruiting instructors; resolving aquatics staffing shortfalls for lifeguards and staffing with either successful recruiting or operational changes.
  • To continue to identify and engage underrepresented populations.
  • To encourage and enhance the well-being of all who visit our parks, and to give the best experience possible. Also to instill a sense of pride in our community for the gifts we have been given and to maintain those gifts for our children and their children.