We’ve got some pool predictions to make. Skip the crystal ball, we’ve just seen a lot of forward-thinking aquatic actions this past year. Smart operators around the country are looking ahead and are using new tools and techniques to drive their aquatic operations. Here’s where they are going as we approach a new year.
Testing Goes Digital– We’ve seen the testing shift coming for some time, and it’s a dual-threat. New test kits are increasingly digitized and test record keeping is shifting away from paper. Both present opportunities for accuracy and record keeping. For years these technologies have seemed to exist on the fringe with early adopters seemingly few and far between. Paper records and dropper bottles have been too simple and effective to abandon.
The digital tipping point may no longer exist in the distant future. Younger generations of operators are comfortable with digital technology and pool pros responsible for multiple bodies of water are in need of better tracking systems and faster methods. Compliment that with big companies backing new technology launches in test kits and record keeping. In 2019 we think you’ll be more likely to pick up a tablet or digital test kit when monitoring your water than ever before.
Resources Abound– Pool shows, conferences and trade publications are nothing new in aquatics. What’s changing is the quality and consumption of the content. Want to take the next step in your professional development? Take a quick look at the program guide for any national aquatic trade show. Forget Chlorine 101, the educational tracts associated with these conferences have risen to master’s level content existing at the forefront of industry trends. This has been paralleled by increasingly in-depth articles, and research available in our written trade publications. And Podcasts… wow, have you listened lately? The Pool Chasers Podcast is a wonderful, new-media educational resource. Low and no-cost resources will continue to grow for aquatic professionals as the demand from smart operators continues to increase.
Getting Social– Scattered throughout the country are hundreds of aquatic roundtable groups, meeting regularly driving innovation and training. Nothing beats this type of collaboration, but social media comes close.
Facebook groups are fostering new connections. Instagram accounts are showcasing the work of a young, sharp, enthusiastic generation. If you’ve been hesitant to jump on board the social bandwagon don’t wait any longer. Take the plunge in the new year, even as a casual observer. You won’t believe what you’ve been missing.
Complimenting the Big 3– Want to run a financially solvent pool? Swim lessons, swim teams and camps should get you pretty close. What you choose to do next is what we’re really excited about. Fringe programming is taking off. Pool professionals in your area are catering to more demographics with innovative offerings, better designed facilities and new add-on play features that are bolstering bottom lines and increasing attendance industry wide.
Want to boost your programming but don’t know where to start? Judith Leblein Josephs released a new textbook this year covering all the bases (see Aquatic Center Marketing). You can also start with an audit of the park districts, community pools and swim clubs in your area. A quick review of their program guides will show you how you stack up against the market.
An Affection for Efficiency– Pool operators are going green. Energy efficient pumps, motors, heaters and lights pop up on every blueprint on every build. Chlorine generation through salt is no longer a residential technology only appropriate for smaller facilities. Chemical controller automation is more finite than ever. Utility consumption is down, and conservation efforts are up.
Our assumption isn’t that operators aren’t just trending towards being earth friendly and eco-conscious. It’s more likely that they’ve got their eye on the bottom line and new green technology is best justified by a quick return on investment. Informed buyers will continue to trend towards proven cost cutters and the environment will thank us.