Illustration by Tim Bobko
 

Our facility is the largest aquatics facility in North Carolina with 72,000 square feet and 1.1 million gallons of water covering three pools. It also boasts a classroom, conference area, stadium seating and a dry-land workout space. The facility is home to two well-respected competitive swim teams, outside private programs as well as programs. In other words, we’re very busy!

The facility’s goal is to have at least three recreational lanes available at all times. But that posed a persistent problem during peak hours.

Each morning, lifeguards mark the recreational lanes with orange cones. But when a massive amount of people are on the deck due to the programs, the orange cones can be hard to see, and they aren’t always placed together. So guests either had to ask guards which lanes were open or go back upstairs and wait in line to get an answer from the front desk — often to find that person didn’t know either. Of course, many guests chose option three and just guessed, which caused even more problems.

Fortunately, we came up with some simple solutions to solve our aquatic traffic jams. We placed free-standing whiteboards at each entrance to the main pool deck, which gave times, pool location and lane location. Daily lane schedules also were placed by each pool and by the lifeguard stand for easy access. Off-duty lifeguards were made available to help with any question or direction.

To make sure the upstairs front desk and downstairs guards were on the same page, we placed two-way radios in each of the pools as well as at the front desk. This helped the front desk, operating upstairs, convey the same information as the lifeguards, operating downstairs.

Having a lot of people in one space, regardless of its size, can be overwhelming. Some guests would rather come when we are not as busy. To help with planning, our Web site offers an event schedule that lets guests know what’s happening. But guests needed to know more and often were calling the front desk. So we added a current calendar to our Web site, which shows when swim teams have practice, special events and learn-to-swim classes, as well as which pool is open and for how long.

Now we have a lot less traffic congestion — and a lot more guest satisfaction.