As we begin to think about getting back into the water, there are many things to consider as a consumer or manager of a pool or aquatics facility. Once we decide to open pools in our community, we need to figure why they are open and why others are not. All things being equal, if you are able to open your pool now, or potentially in the next three to six months, it will be imperative, like any other business, that your consumers know why you are open and what you offer to the community.
Through the years, I have found these four areas of strategic advantage — or what makes your pool “applicably unique” — a good place to start in creating a message that invites consumers and quality staff to your pool, versus the pool down the street:
How is the physical location being promoted as an advantage to those currently using the pool? How is it being presented to those in the building, facility or proximity, but not using the pool? Through easy access, membership, warm water, etc.? And for those in the area not using the pool, how is the location of your pool better than others — through bus routes, free parking or a member of the month parking spot?
Disney does it, and so do many others. Brag on your staff — show pictures of them at the front door, have the newspapers do an article on why staff choose to work at your pool, or invite members to a meet and greets. Create an environment you would want your grandparents to come to.
There are many ways to create stronger and more impactful safety messaging without disrupting company branding and marketing rules. You can add subtle stop signs near handles of pool doors, ensure there are handicap signs on specific showers stalls and teach staff where those are. The key is to review your aquatic facility from the perspective of meaningful messaging. What can you integrate that will cause people to stop, look, listen and be safer?
How is your pool presenting all of your PCSs? This is not about just swim lessons, water exercises and learn-to-swim classes — really target messaging and marketing related to pool usage. For example, if you have an amazing older adult program in the lap pool three mornings a week, coach your membership team to celebrate that. Think about what makes it great so when members or potential members ask about the program — it showcases all staff as experts and promoters of this specific PCS. It also confirms to all interested parties that three mornings a week, there is no lap swim, kids, etc., but rather, there’s an awesome older adult program.