Feature Article - June 2020
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2020 Report on the State of the Managed Recreation Industry

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

By Emily Tipping


Of those respondents who currently do charge a fee for membership or for using their facilities, the percentage who have increased their fees decreased slightly in 2019. While 33.5% of respondents who charge fees said they had increased the cost in 2018, 32.8% had done so in 2019. At the same time, the percentage who said fees had remained the same increased, from 65.7% in 2018 to 66% who kept fees steady in 2019. (See Figure 19.)

Looking forward, more respondents were expecting that they would increase their fees in 2020 and in 2021. Some 38.3% of those who charge a fee said that fee would be increased in 2020, while 35.4% said an increase would be made in 2021.

Among the facilities that charge a fee for membership or usage, those from camps, Ys and health clubs were the most likely to report that they had raised their fees from 2018 to 2019, while those from colleges were the least likely to have increased fees. Some 51.2% of camp respondents who charge a fee said they had raised that fee in 2019, down from 57.9% who reported raising fees in 2018. They were followed by Ys (47.5%, up from 44.9%) and health clubs (31.3%, down from 43.2%). Just 24.1% of college respondents said they had increased their fee from 2018 to 2019.

The same trend mostly holds true for the next two years, with camps continuing to be the most likely to plan fee increases. Some 56.1% of camp respondents who charge a fee said they would be increasing it in 2020, and 61% expected an increase in 2021. They were followed by Ys, where 54.3% were anticipating a fee increase in 2020 and 42.9% projected an increase in 2021.

More than half (52.2%) of respondents said that the number of people using their facilities had increased from 2018 to 2019, up from 50.5% reporting an increase from 2017 to 2018. At the same time, 38.9% reported no change in the number of people using their facilities, while 8.9% saw a decrease. (See Figure 20.)

Looking forward, the percentage of respondents who in January were expecting to see further increases in the number of people using their facilities grows slightly over the next two years, while the percentage expecting a drop in numbers falls. From 2019 to 2020, 53.2% of respondents said they expected the number of people using the facilities to increase, while 4% expected a decrease. And from 2020 to 2021, 54.7% of respondents were expecting an increase, with 2% projecting a decline in the number of people using their facilities.

From 2018 to 2019, respondents from rec centers and parks were the most likely to report that the number of people using their facilities had increased, while those from colleges were least likely to see an increase. Some 60% of rec center respondents and 58.7% of park respondents said the number of people using their facilities had grown from 2018 to 2019. At the same time, just over a third (35.5%) of college respondents reported an increase in 2019.

Looking forward, rec centers and parks remain more likely to report that they expected increases in 2020 and 2021, with 61.4% of rec centers and 57.3% of parks projecting an increase in 2020, and 65% of rec centers and 59.3% of parks anticipating an increase in 2021.