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Tips for maintaining a clean facility this year, inside and out. 

A new year often comes with new members who are eager to start off on the right foot and step through your facility doors. With the possibility of gaining these new members, it’s crucial to ensure their experience and perception of your facility is top-notch, even before they step foot in your facility. 

“First impressions are everything and perception is reality,” said Kurt Hardin, the recreation maintenance supervisor at The REC of Grapevine in Grapevine, Texas. “If our members start their visit in a dirty, unkept parking lot, they will enter the facility with low expectations of housekeeping in general.” 

This is why Grapevine staff routinely walk the exterior of the facility, picking up trash and making sure everything looks its best. Landscaping, power washing and tree trimming add to the assurance the facility is well maintained. “We have built a culture of ownership among staff where it is common for employees who are walking to their shift to stop and pick up trash,” said Hardin. “Those small things are noticed by members and show we care.” 

Travis Young, the general director of Cabot Parks and Recreation in Cabot, Arkansas, added the outside appearance of a facility ultimately determines whether the public is comfortable entering its doors. “While we want our facilities to be cleaned from the inside out, the outside is the first thing guests see,” said Young. “We have implemented deeper annual cleanings of hard surfaces to help increase cleanliness at all levels for our facilities.” 

Once these new or returning members do enter your facility this year, cleanliness and sanitization expectations are expected to remain high. While this is often an area most facilities already strive to exceed at for their members, Young said this is something the pandemic made his team see differently. 

“The recent pandemic shed light on new ways to ensure public safety and we do not anticipate those changing, but rather we will remain at a new standard of sanitation,” he said. “We are all more aware of germs, and while we work hard daily to ensure the cleanliness of our facilities, we believe our members are a huge part of the success we have seen. The personal responsibility they have taken to clean equipment after working out, use our hand sanitizing stations and follow our safety guidelines has been instrumental during this time and will continue to be.” 

At The REC of Grapevine, Hardin also anticipates member expectations to remain the same as they have been throughout the pandemic. “Our members seem to notice and recognize our efforts and are generally satisfied with what we are doing to ensure cleanliness and safety,” he said. “We have two full-time porters in the facility during normal business hours. After the height of COVID-19, one of those positions was adjusted to be primarily sanitation to ensure the extra cleanliness of the facility. That person walks the building continuously and wipes down all commonly touched surfaces with Virex. Additionally, during our annual maintenance week — our week-long facility closure dedicated to repairs and cleaning — we prioritized sanitation.” 

Cabot Parks and Recreation also added positions to its team and extended hours to current positions to be sure it kept a rotation of team members sanitizing and cleaning during open hours. This includes frequently touched areas, fitness equipment, personal office spaces and restrooms at both indoor and outdoor facilities.

Overall, both Hardin and Young agreed facility cleanliness is all about the customer experience from beginning to end. One of the best ways to add to the customer experience is through effective communication. 

“We have taken time to speak directly on our social media platforms and through our monthly newsletter to explain what measures we are taking to ensure member safety at our facilities,” said Young. “We believe being transparent and open is the best policy. We also make sure to communicate member expectations while using our facilities and utilize appropriate signage throughout.” 

Photo courtesy of The REC of Grapevine.

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Brittany Howard

Brittany is the editor of Community Rec Magazine. Reach her at brittany@peakemedia.com.

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