Feature Article - June 2008
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A Look at What's Happening in Recreation, Sports & Fitness Facilities

Creating new and innovative programs is a big part of attracting and retaining patrons, and that's what makes it the fifth top concern of respondents.

One respondent said "creating new innovative programming as we try to reach out to a broader range of customers was his chief issue." He added, "We have pretty well tapped out our existing customers with our existing programs. To get new customers, we need to add new programs."

Another said, "We have offered the same fitness and intramural sports for several years, and they have been a success. We fear there will be a recession in participation in the next few years if we don't get creative and/or add some new programming."

Other issues were also a concern for respondents, including safety and risk management and accessibility and liability. Others cited conservation and environmental issues, or problems associated with general fitness and wellness, as their top issues. (See Figure 24.)

One director of operations said, "Environmental and conservation issues are becoming increasingly important, and reducing the carbon footprint will become an important initiative moving forward."

Another respondent said, "We are losing too many people to diseases that are controllable with education and opportunity," citing fitness and wellness as the top issue.

The good news is that recreation, sports and fitness facilities are well poised to handle some of these issues, though many expect the faltering economy to put a hamper on their ability to do so. Keep reading to learn more about the trends in specific regions, community types and sectors within the industry.