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Swimming pools and aqua parks. Customer needs and challenges for aquatic facility owners

Z artykułu dowiesz się:

  • How popular swimming pools and aqua parks are in our country.
  • What challenges the managers of such facilities and customers face today. 
  • How Nazca solutions can support modern aquatic facilities.

Swimming pools and water parks are very popular on the national scene. However, the joy of swimming and recreation can sometimes be disturbed by incidents such as abnormal temperatures, safety hazards or problematic malfunctions. What do customers expect and how should the facility owners address these expectations?

Poles enjoy swimming

Sport is good for you and water is fun. Being active in a swimming pool boosts health in a fantastic way and shapes the human body from all angles.  

According to Deloitte’s „Sports Retail Study 2020. Findings from a Central European consumer survey”, a minimum of 76.2% of people in Poland practice at least one sport. Swimming, however, is declared by 38.9 percent of respondents.  Another study conducted by IBRiS for „Rzeczpospolita” revealed that 64.4% of the respondents can boast of being able to swim. This goes to show that we like contact with water. 

Not surprisingly, there is a growing pool and aqua park infrastructure in our country. Especially the latter, which combines sport and family entertainment, is gaining in importance. To what extent? 

Completed in 2020, Poland’s largest water park, Suntago Wodny Świat in Wręcza near Warsaw, is visited by around 15,000 people daily. The 320-metre space is equipped with 24 slides, not to mention other attractions. In another part of Poland, Aquapark Wrocław attracts as many as one million customers a year

The effect of large metropolises? Not necessarily, as smaller locations are doing just as well. For example, the Aquapark in Kutno attracts around 200,000 people a year. In total there are about 20 large facilities of this type in Poland and there is no indication of this trend dying down, even in the wake of the recent pandemic crisis. 

„Ordinary” indoor swimming pools are also in a good position, as we have over 700 pools in the country, of which as many as 12 are Olympic-sized

But what are the biggest challenges associated with being active in a swimming pool or aqua park? Can anything go wrong in such a prosperous and theoretically investor-safe facility? 

Sensory impressions may encourage or discourage 

It’s generally accepted that the optimum pool water temperature should hover around 26-30°C. But it is equally important how warm it is in the pool hall itself and in the changing rooms. Or how cold it is. When you’re wet and you’re wearing a damp swimming costume, you feel completely different than how you felt before you went for a swim. Do you get goosebumps just thinking about it? That’s it.

Children are especially affected by possible drops in temperature. A few years ago, the local media in Głogów received a plea from parents concerned about water temperatures being too low at one of the swimming pools. Comments under an online post confirmed the frustration: „And as far as I’m concerned it’s too cold in the changing rooms themselves…. I don’t even feel like changing my clothes…’, 'I also have a swimming card, I went once with my child, I am not going again! Health is more important! And they say the pool is great for health?!?!”

After such a negative experience, the customer will think twice about whether it is really worth choosing a particular facility. Therefore, it should be very important for facility managers to monitor various parameters. Not only those relating to temperature (water and air), but also humidity, water level or failure of particular subsystems. 

All of this can have an impact on the facility’s reputation and, consequently, the number of customers. Nazca offers insight into and the possibility to influence such data.  

Convenience and lack of technical issues in the changing room 

Most modern or renovated aquatic facilities are now equipped with modern lockers for storing personal belongings. However, every „pool-goer” finds it stressful when a locker cannot be opened or when a particular card is not compatible with the lock. This causes unnecessary anxiety and irritation. 

Hence, facility managers often opt for intelligent and, above all, reliable software that makes locker management easier and informs them in advance of possible anomalies, so that faulty equipment can be removed from service in good time. In this way, the problem disappears without burdening either the employee or the customer.    

Swimming pool safety is key

When you type the phrase „swimming pool” into a search engine, the first page very often contains articles describing the risks in such facilities. This is mainly about sanitary-epidemiological aspects, but not only. For instance, a system for monitoring irregularities is extremely important. So that it is possible to quickly respond to technical issues. 

Fire at the swimming pool? More plausible than you think

Pool water and fire? It hardly seems to go together. But such incidents do happen. For example, last year, when people had to be evacuated after a fire in the sauna area of the Aqua-Zdrój in Wałbrzych

There are many potential causes of fires in water sports and leisure facilities. Various flammable substances are stored there, such as water treatment agents, chemical cleaning agents or fuel containers for technical equipment or generators. A single spark will suffice to start a fire. Negligence in this area involves criminal responsibility and, obviously, high costs. 

Therefore, a fire alarm response system plays just as significant a role in a swimming pool as it does in any other facility that is frequented by many people on a daily basis. Support for this is provided by Nazca, with its functionality for monitoring the status of detectors, events, alarms, and with activating and deactivating options. 

Risks in the sauna 

Dangerous situations also occur in saunas, namely fainting accidents. People who suffer from heart or circulatory system conditions are particularly at risk. However, such a loss of consciousness is also a result of other factors: exhaustion, hangover, infections or menstruation. 

The fear of passing out can be an effective deterrent to using the facility. To prevent this, customers could be advised that there is an emergency button in the sauna in case of fainting. This functionality is included in Nazca. Ideally, it is combined with our RRS, or Room Reservation System, which allows individual sauna bookings. This definitely adds to the sense of comfort and security. 

Hazardous situations and the exit route 

Health and safety rules in public facilities such as swimming pools highlight the role of emergency exit signage. If there is an unusual event, for example a short circuit, and the main power supply is disconnected, people need to know where to head. Especially since in swimming pools and aqua parks movement is hampered anyway, for instance by wet floors. Imagine: you don’t know where to go, and you’re barely balancing on the edge of falling. 

It is therefore up to the facility owners to take care not only of traditional reflective signs, but also of emergency lighting. The condition of the lighting fixtures can be monitored by an intelligent building management system, such as the previously mentioned Nazca

The swimming pool as a closed system 

It is worth remembering that a swimming pool or aqua park is not just a pool filled with chlorinated water, tiled floors and changing rooms. It is first and foremost a functional, visually attractive and almost round-the-clock functioning space, which must ensure an adequate level of safety and (energy, technical) efficiency.  

It must be managed in such a way that customers do not complain about inconveniences, that dangerous situations are prevented and – importantly for the owners of the facility – that such a business is at all profitable.

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Anna Przywara Deputy Sales Director
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