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


Facility Usage & Membership

As is generally the case, around six in 10 respondents said they currently charge a fee for membership or for using their facilities. Some 58.2 percent said they charge a fee, down slightly from 59.5 percent in 2018, and 60.1 percent in 2017. (See Figure 18.)

Respondents from Ys, health clubs and colleges were the most likely to report that they charge a fee for membership or for using their facilities. Some 95.9 percent of Y respondents, 81.3 percent of health club respondents and 68 percent of college respondents said they charge a fee for membership or use.

Conversely, schools were the least likely to charge a fee. Only 18.7 percent of school respondents said they charge a fee for using their facilities.

Of those respondents who currently charge a fee for membership, the percentage who have increased their fees has grown slightly, from 30.2 percent raising their fees in 2016 to 41 percent who anticipate a fee increase by 2020. From 2017 to 2018, around one-third (33.5 percent) of respondents said they raised their fees, while 65.7 percent said fees remained the same, and 0.8 percent decreased fees. (See Figure 19.)

Looking forward, the percentage of respondents who expect fees to increase rises, to 38 percent in 2019 and 41 percent in 2020. At the same time, the percentage of respondents who expect their fees to remain the same falls to 61.2 percent in 2019 and 58.3 percent in 2020. Not surprisingly, very few respondents anticipate a decrease in fees.

Among facilities that charge a fee for membership or usage, camps, Ys and health clubs were the most likely to report that they had raised their fees from 2017 to 2018, while schools and colleges were the least likely to have raised fees. Some 57.9 percent of camp respondents who charge a fee said they had raised that fee in 2018, up from 47.9 percent who had raised fees in 2017. They were followed by Ys (44.9 percent) and health clubs (43.2 percent). Just 20.8 percent of college respondents and 20 percent of school respondents who charge a fee said the fee had increased from 2017 to 2018.

The trend holds over the next two years, with camps continuing to be the most likely to plan fee increases, and colleges the least likely to do so. From 2018 to 2019, 71.1 percent of camp respondents said fees will increase, and 53.8 percent of these respondents expect an increase in 2020. Among respondents from colleges and universities, 22.7 percent said they plan to increase fees in 2019, while 22.4 percent expect an increase in 2020.