Generating new revenue at your aquatics facility is a hard task. Or is it? By simply thinking outside the “pool,” the world opens up to many untapped opportunities.

Here’s a look at three areas that can generate new revenue.

Special programming

When it comes to special programming and events, the goal is to create a memorable experience that sets you apart from everyone else in town. For example, did you know Santa can swim? Instead of just having Santa visit for a holiday party, hire a swimming Santa who will hop in the water and pose for photos in the pool with the kiddos.

Birthday splash parties are another way to generate revenue. Parents will gladly pay for value and convenience, so make sure the cost to the customer is packed with value. A package that includes themed decorations, room rental, food and swimming will practically sell itself.

Scout merit badge programs also are wildly popular. Design a special aquatic program that meets all the badge requirements of the Boy and/or Girl Scouts. Usually in under an hour, the Scout has earned a new badge and your facility is bringing in new dollars.

Specialized aquatic fitness classes are another option to boost revenue, and make a tremendous difference in the community.

One idea might be to create pocket water fitness classes for groups such as cancer survivors or new and expectant mothers. These individuals may be facing significant physical changes that could make it uncomfortable to be around others when in swimsuits. Specialized classes offer a supportive and safe environment that will help foster a healthy mind and body.

You might also consider offering kayak clubs or scuba classes.These activities can take up a considerable amount of programming space, so you’ll want to look at scheduling them during slow times, such as on Sunday mornings before the pool is open for general swimming. The clubs pay a premium for space and your profit margins increase due to low staffing requirements. 

Beyond the specialized options, think about becoming a hub for general health, fitness and safety by offering a mix of dry options. Use classroom or deck space — and consider partnering with your local American Red Cross to provide community classes such as pet CPR, baby-sitting and first aid. Once the people are at your facility, it’s the perfect opportunity to showcase your aquatic offerings.

Finally, tap into the power of free “teaser classes.”Parents waiting for kids in swim lessons are a great audience. When they want to learn more, provide help registering them for the next regular class session.

Partnerships and sponsorships

Create simple, inexpensive business partnerships and sponsorships for your camps, classes and operations. 

It’s likely that an entity such as a local bank would jump at the chance to sponsor swim lessons for $1 or $2 per child. This type of sponsorship helps keep the fees reasonable for customers, and your bottom line will see a big increase.

You could also seek sponsorships for lifeguard uniforms. For a fee, place a tasteful and appropriately sized sponsorship logo with a tag such as “Helping to keep our kids safe — XYZ Bank.”

Beverage vendors are a great asset to any special event. Most have in-house print shops that can create professionally designed signs and banners for your programs — leaving you with more dollars to spend adding value to the occasion. 

Donations and in-kind support

Donations and in-kind support can provide valuable revenue, but like partnerships, these are two-way ventures. Free passes to the pool are always a hot item, but make sure free passes are just that, free. Stipulations of a “buy one, get one free” (BOGO) or limiting when recipients can redeem the ticket likely will devalue the incentive.

One great way to utilize donations is to visit local classrooms and present on water safety topics, then hand out free tickets to come to the pool. Look at your donations as an opportunity to gain new customers and generate new dollars. When people use the free pass to come to the pool, you can further encourage them to visit concessions, sign up for a class or purchase a birthday party package. 

Overall, when looking for new ways to generate dollars for your swimming pool, embrace change and diversity; keep watch for trends; don’t be afraid to make some waves; and remember these quick tips:

  • Programming must be high quality and value-packed. Strive to make your classes and events memorable.
  • Look for innovative ways to add value. What would you want if you were a customer at your pool?
  • Create public awareness through donations and partnerships.Use creative ways to get folks through the doors, and then show them everything your facility has to offer.