Feature Article - June 2019
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Aquatics

A Look at Trends in Aquatic Facilities


Pools & Budgets

From 2017 to 2018, and from 2018 to 2020, respondents whose facilities include aquatics reported greater increases to their overall operating expenses, compared with respondents whose facilities do not include aquatic elements. From 2017 to 2018, aquatic respondents' overall operating expenses grew by 4.8 percent, from an average of $2,310,000 to $2,420,000, while those without aquatics reported a 13.7 percent decrease to overall operating expenses, from $1,240,000 in 2017 to $1,070,000 in 2018.

Looking forward, aquatic respondents projected that their overall operating costs would grow by 3.7 percent, from $2,420,000 in 2018 to $2,510,000 in 2020. This compares with a 2.8 percent increase for those without aquatics, from $1,070,000 in 2018 to $1,100,000 in 2020.

Interestingly, while overall operating expenses increased for aquatic respondents from 2017 to 2018, their operating expenses for aquatics only decreased by 6.1 percent, from an average of $490,000 in 2017 to $460,000 in 2018. From 2018 to 2020, aquatic operating expenses are projected to grow 13 percent, to an average of $520,000. (See Figure 37.)

Respondents from Ys reported the highest average aquatic operating expense for 2018, at $580,000. They were followed by rec centers ($500,000), parks ($480,000), colleges ($480,000), schools ($440,000), and health clubs ($400,000). Respondents from camps have the lowest average aquatic operating expenses by far, averaging $120,000 in 2018.

From 2018 to 2020, respondents from schools reported the highest expected growth rate for aquatic operating expenses. School respondents with aquatics anticipate that their aquatic operating expenses will grow by 50 percent, to an average of $660,000 in 2020. Others who are expecting aquatic operating expenses to grow by at least 10 percent from 2018 to 2020 include: rec centers (up 18 percent, to $590,000); Ys (up 13.8 percent, to $660,000); and colleges (up 12.5 percent, to $540,000). More modest increases were expected among other facility types, with camps and parks both projecting an increase of 8.3 percent (to $130,000 and $520,000, respectively), and health clubs projecting a 5 percent increase, to an average of $420,000 in 2020.

More than three in 10 (31.5 percent) aquatic respondents said their aquatics revenues increased from 2017 to 2018, up from 27.1 percent who reported an increase from 2016 to 2017. At the same time, the percentage of aquatic respondents who saw a drop in revenues fell slightly, from 12.1 percent reporting a decrease from 2016 to 2017 to 11.6 percent who said revenues decreased from 2017 to 2018.

Looking forward, the percentage of aquatic respondents who expect their aquatic revenues to grow year-over-year holds fairly steady, with 31.2 percent expecting aquatic revenues to increase in 2019, and 32.6 percent expecting an increase in 2020. At the same time, 6.5 percent are expecting revenues to fall in 2019, while just 4 percent projected a decline in revenues in 2020.

From 2017 to 2018, aquatic respondents from health clubs were the most likely to report that their aquatic revenues had increased. Some 40.9 percent of health club respondents with aquatics said aquatic revenues increased from 2017 to 2018. They were followed by rec centers (35.8 percent reporting an increase), parks (35.7 percent), and Ys (32.1 percent). Camps were the least likely to report that aquatic revenues had increased from 2017 to 2018, with just 9.5 percent reporting an increase. Schools (16.7 percent) and colleges (24.5 percent) were also slightly less likely to see increases in aquatic revenues.