Think of Bob Craycraft as a sort of missing link between resorts and aquatics. As the vice president, industry relations, at the American Resort Development Association, Craycraft has been the driving force in forging relationships and promoting knowledge of aquatics among the Washington, D.C.-based trade association’s membership, which includes vacation ownership and resort development operators.
“With the maturing of the vacation ownership industry, our resorts have had to become much more educated and engaged in aspects of operation that traditionally they outsourced or didn’t even offer, including food and beverage or concierge services and recreational amenities such as waterparks,” Craycraft says. “One of the biggest trends that we’ve seen in time-share resorts over the past decade is multigenerational travel, and given this trend, adding or upgrading aquatic amenities is a perfect fit for our industry. Pools and waterparks allow this multigenerational togetherness.”
Interestingly, Craycraft only became aware of the link between the two industries when he was asked to speak at an aquatics conference early last year. “That meeting was really when I got a sense that waterparks and aquatics are an important part of amenities package for guests,” he says.
Since then, he has attended several other aquatics industry events and has begun bringing what he’s learned back to ARDA membership.
“Part of what we do as a trade association is to try and build links so that our members are aware of other key industries and why being involved in them is so important,” Craycraft says. “So far, we’ve had a very strong response to information about the aquatics industry. There’s a real urgency among our members. I think they are seeing that today you cannot call yourself a resort if you’re offering something that looks like a traditional rectangular swimming pool.”