Feature Article - June 2017
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State of the INDUSTRY

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

By Emily Tipping


Facility Usage & Membership

The percentage of respondents who charge a fee for membership or for using their facilities has grown slightly over the past four years. Some 60.1 percent of this year's survey respondents said they charge a membership/usage fee (see Figure 16), compared with 59.7 percent last year, 58.4 percent in 2015, and 55.7 percent in 2014.

Respondents from Ys, health clubs and community sports and recreation centers were the most likely to charge a fee for membership or usage of their facilities. Some 99.2 percent of Y respondents, 86.8 percent of health club respondents and 71.9 percent of community center respondents said that they charge a fee for usage of their facilities.

Conversely, schools, parks and colleges were less likely to charge such a fee. Some 20.9 percent of schools, 58.7 percent of parks and 59.3 percent of colleges said they charge a membership/usage fee. Camps fell in the middle, with 64 percent indicating that they charge a fee.

The majority of respondents who charge a fee for membership said they plan to keep those fees the same from 2015 to 2018. While 67.5 percent said their fees remained unchanged from 2015 to 2016, 64.1 percent have no plans to change their fees in 2017, and 60.2 percent will not change their fees in 2018. Around three in 10 (30.2 percent) said their fees had increased in 2016. A growing number expect fees to increase further in 2017 (34.5 percent) and 2018 (38.7 percent). (See Figure 17.)


Of those facilities that charge a fee for membership or usage, those from camps, Ys, health clubs and community centers were the most likely to report that they had raised their fees from 2015 to 2016, while those from schools were least likely to have raised fees in that time frame. Some 43.5 percent of camp respondents who charge a fee said they had raised that fee in 2016 (down from 53.7 percent of camp respondents who raised fees in 2015). They were followed by Ys (36.7 percent), health clubs (33.3 percent) and community centers (33 percent). Just 13.9 percent of school respondents said they had raised their fees in 2016.

Looking forward, camps continue to be the most likely to report that they are planning future increases to fees, with 50 percent indicating they would be raising their fees in 2017, and 52.9 percent planning such an increase in 2018. They were followed by community centers, 43.5 percent of whom plan an increase for 2017 and 40.2 percent of whom plan to increase fees in 2016; and by Ys (42.9 percent and 40 percent, respectively).

In 2016, 54.6 percent of respondents said they expected usage of their facilities to increase from 2015 to 2016. Slightly fewer (53.5 percent) of 2017 respondents indicated that such an increase had taken place. Another 38.8 percent said the number of people using their facilities had remained the same, while 7.7 percent said they'd seen a drop in the number of people using their facilities from 2015 to 2016. (See Figure 18.)


Looking forward, more than half of respondents expect to see further increases in the number of people using their facilities, while the number of respondents expecting usage to decrease falls. From 2016 to 2017, 55.8 percent of respondents said they expect usage to increase, while 4.5 percent are expecting a decrease. And from 2017 to 2018, 55.3 percent projected an increase, while 2.6 percent are expecting a decrease.