The Sports Facility Owner’s Manual

When the ribbon is cut on a brand new sports or recreation facility, you will feel a gigantic weight lift from your shoulders. Construction, hiring staff, and other pre-opening services can be challenging. Seeing all those faces at your grand opening evokes a tremendous sense of accomplishment. Unfortunately, the weight of opening a facility is quickly replaced with another weighty proposition: making your facility successful. New questions emerge. How do I keep my facility full during non-peak times? How do I find and retain the best employees? How do I build a loyal customer base? How do I head off issues before they occur? What about emerging competitors?

Wouldn’t it be great if there was an owner’s manual for your sports facility?

While that doesn’t exactly exist, we’ve gathered a few expert tips from the sports venue experts at Sports Facilities Management. These tips provide a basis for achieving enduring success.

Understand the End User

Whether you own or maintain a sports tourism venue, recreation center, or anything in between, understanding your customer is critical. An acute understanding of their needs will allow you to build an environment that will ultimately appeal to them. For example, if you own or manage a sports tourism complex, it’s critical to understand the deciding factors that lead events rights holders to choose one venue over another. This requires you to not only understand their perspective on facility sizes and features, but to understand their customers as well. Events rights holders look to attract athletes, teams, leagues, and families. Your venue must feature the amenities that will attract them.

Check out The Evolution of the Soccer Mom to learn more about what draws consumers to facilities and events.

Create the Destination

With an understanding of your core and secondary consumers, you must create a destination that wows them. “Wow them” may seem like an extreme but it’s a crowded market. For example, your community fitness and recreation center must compete with Orangetheory, Lifetime Fitness, and the local CrossFit gym, among other competitors. Do your homework. Learn about the types of programs that your community would like to see. Also, learn about the type of amenities they would actually use. Look for gaps in the desires of this audience and what your competitors offer. If there aren’t any obvious gaps, all is not lost. Examine your competitors closely. Can you provide a similar offering but in a different way? Reviewing sports and recreation trends may provide a few great ideas that you can implement for success.

Hire the Best Team

This may seem obvious, but as the saying goes, “good help is hard to find.” When you are trying desperately to fill positions, it can be easy to select someone that fits some of the requirements. This often leads to a bad fit. A bad fit can lead to a less than optimal experience for customers, which can hurt your business. It’s best to go into hiring with a vision in mind. What’s the brand of your facility and how does that translate to how guests interact with employees? How does it translate to how employees interact with each other? What values are most important to you? Beyond that, hire employees with relevant experience who can confidently represent your venue at the highest level.

Proper Reporting

It’s not appealing, but reporting is paramount to your success. In order to gauge progress, diagnose issues, and make adjustments, seek monthly reporting from appropriate staff in the following areas: finance, marketing/business development, legal/risk management, human resources, and maintenance. Reporting in these areas will give you a good understanding of the health of your facility and allow you to make adjustments as needed. Additionally, it’s important to have established goals in these areas as well.

If you own or manage a sports or recreation venue and are looking for expert help in any area of sports facility management, contact the team at Sports Facilities Management. We have helped elite sports facilities throughout the United States reach their financial, economic impact, and community health goals. To learn more, contact us at 727-474-3845.