Feature Article - June 2012
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2012 State of the Managed Recreation Industry

A Look at What's Happening in Recreation, Sports and Fitness Facilities

By Emily Tipping


Only around a third (31.3 percent) of respondents said their usage fees had increased from 2010 to 2011, and similar numbers indicated that their fees would be increasing in 2012 (33.4 percent) and in 2013 (36.7 percent). The majority of respondents said their fees remained the same in 2011 (65.5 percent) and would continue to hold steady in 2012 (64.6 percent) and 2013 (62.7 percent). (See Figure 15.)

Respondents from YMCAs were the most likely to report that they had increased their fees from 2010 to 2011, followed by camps and campgrounds. Some 43.9 percent of YMCAs and 39.4 percent of camps respondents said they had increased fees in this time period. These respondents were also the most likely to be anticipating fee increases over the next two years, with 50 percent of camps and 45.9 percent of YMCAs projecting a fee increase in 2012; and 50.7 percent of camps and 45.7 percent of YMCAs projecting an increase in 2013.

On the other hand, respondents from health and fitness clubs were the most likely to report that they had decreased their membership fees from 2010 to 2011, and were also the most likely to predict further decreases in 2012. That said, only 7.5 percent of health club respondents decreased their fees in 2011, and just 4.1 percent said they would decrease fees in 2012.

When it comes to the number of people using their facilities, more than half (51.6 percent) reported an increase from 2010 to 2011, and slightly more expect to see further increases in 2012 (54.4 percent) and 2013 (41.1 percent). A falling number of respondents are projecting usage of their facilities to fall over the same time frame, with 11.2 percent reporting a drop in usage in 2011, 6.6 percent projecting a decrease in 2012, and 3.5 percent projecting a decrease in 2013. (See Figure 16.)

Respondents from parks and recreation organizations as well as camp facilities were the most likely to have seen an increase in usage at their facilities from 2010 to 2011. Some 55.4 percent of parks respondents and 53.9 percent of camp respondents said they had seen an increase in that time period. From 2011 to 2012, YMCA respondents are most likely to be expecting an increase in usage, with 63.9 percent projecting. They are followed by camp respondents, 61.8 percent of whom expect an increase in usage in 2012. From 2012 to 2013, more than three-quarters (75.3 percent) of YMCA respondents expect usage of their facilities to increase. Respond- ents from health clubs also were more likely than others to be projecting an increase in usage in 2013, with 66.7 percent of these respondents indicating they expect an increase.

Interestingly, YMCAs and health clubs are the most likely to report decreasing usage before 2012 to 2013. Nearly one-third (30.6 percent) of health clubs and nearly a quarter (23.2 percent) of YMCAs said they had seen decreasing usage from 2010 to 2011. These respondents also were the most likely to be expecting further decreases in usage from 2011 to 2012, with 11.8 percent of health clubs and 11.3 percent of YMCAs reporting they expected usage to fall.