Supplement Feature - February 2020
Find a printable version here

A Deep Dive Into Aquatic Facility Trends

By Emily Tipping

With more than a decade of industry-wide research under our belt, in 2018, Recreation Management launched our first Aquatic Trends Report. Last year, we expanded further on this concept, and created our first pull-out report on aquatic trends.

With their complex operations, unique challenges and programming and dedicated staff, swimming pools and other aquatic facilities provide a fertile field for study. We already provide a great deal of information on aquatic facilities—from budgets to construction plans and beyond—in our annual State of the Industry Report, which is published every June. This Aquatic Trends Report aims to dive a little deeper into the aquatic segment of the industry, whether that involves a park district pool or a privately owned waterpark, a college natatorium or a splash pad at a sleepaway camp.

Welcome to our Aquatic Trends Report. In these pages, we expand on the information covered in our annual State of the Industry Report to discuss more specific trends within the aquatics industry, from the biggest challenges to equipment and programming trends and more. This report does not replace the information covered in the State of the Industry Report. The June issue will still include aquatics information, including construction trends and more. But here, you'll find more detail about systems used for keeping pool water safe and clear, trends in resource conservation, pool features, programming, water safety, awareness of things like ADA guidelines and the Model Aquatic Health Code, and more.

Survey Methodology

This report is based on a survey conducted for Recreation Management by Signet Research Inc., an independent research company. An email was broadcast and respondents were invited to participate. From the launch of the survey

on Oct. 4, 2019, to the closing of the survey on Nov. 6, 2019, 713 completed surveys were received from respondents with aquatic facilities (out of 1,022 total returns). The findings of this survey may be accepted as accurate, at a 95 percent confidence level, within a sampling tolerance of approximately +/- 3.7 percent.

Let's start by covering some basic information to give you a better idea of just who is represented by the 713 survey respondents whose facilities included aquatic elements—anything from a hot tub or swimming pool to a full-blown aquatic park or waterpark with slides, rides, lazy rivers and more.

Respondents were found in all regions of the United States, with the greatest percentage reporting in from the Midwest. Nearly three in 10 (29.3%) respondents said they were from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota or Wisconsin. (See Figure 1.)

The next largest region was the West, with 22.2%. This includes Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

The South Atlantic region was home to 18.6% of survey respondents. This includes Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and West Virginia.

Some 16.9% of survey respondents said they were from the Northeastern states. This includes Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont.

The South Central region was represented by 12.9% of respondents. This region includes Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas.

Just 0.1% of respondents said they were from outside the United States.