Feature Article - June 2019
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2019 State of the Managed Recreation Industry

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

By Emily Tipping


Challenges & Issues of Concern

Finding ways to pay for the programs, services and facilities they offer is generally the top concern for most survey respondents, but other issues also create unique challenges for facility managers.

Equipment and facility maintenance has been the top concern among respondents for a number of years, and continues to hold that place in 2019, though slightly fewer respondents named it a top concern this year than in 2018. In 2019, 55.8 percent of respondents said equipment and facility is a top concern, down from 57.9 percent in 2018. (See Figure 33.)

Staffing is the second most common concern, and one of the few areas cited by more respondents as a top concern in 2019. Some 53.2 percent of respondents said staffing is a top issue for them, compared to 51.3 percent in 2018. It was followed by: marketing and increasing participation (40.4 percent named this a top concern); creating new and innovative programming (32.2 percent); and safety and risk management (31.9 percent).

In addition to staffing, there was an increase in the number of respondents who listed the following as top concerns: fitness and wellness for older adults (15.6 percent in 2019 vs. 14.4 percent in 2018); and social equity and access (8.4 percent in 2019 vs. 7.7 percent in 2018).

For the first time in the 2019 Industry Report survey, we asked respondents about various initiatives their facilities and organizations might be involved in, from wellness initiatives to outreach to underserved populations, climate resilience and more. Here are the top initiatives respondents' organizations are involved in:

  1. Wellness initiatives (56.6 percent)
  2. Inclusion initiatives for those with physical disabilities (45 percent)
  3. Outreach to economically disadvantaged populations (42.1 percent)
  4. Outreach to underserved populations (41.4 percent)
  5. Inclusion initiatives for those with develop-mental disabilities (40.9 percent)
  6. Outreach to minority populations (36.2 percent)
  7. Resource conservation and green initiatives (32.8 percent)
  8. Initiatives to connect people with nature (32 percent)
  9. Initiatives to reduce hunger/improve nutrition (18.7 percent)
  10. Disaster recovery assistance (13.2 percent)