On the surface, pools and smartphones don’t mix. Swimmers shouldn’t bring them near the water and pool management should make sure that none of them enter the pool by mistake. It’s normal to see lounging patrons tapping away at their screens, but as soon as someone starts to get a little rowdy with electronics nearby, it’s time for pool management to step in.
This doesn’t mean that smartphones and pools are natural enemies, though. In fact, smartphones have become so advanced that they’ve changed the way consumers interact with nearly every industry on the planet. While swimmers can’t shop online for their swimming experience, smartphones are causing patrons to think and act differently around pools, and management needs to stay on top of the best ways to take advantage of this new trend.
What do they do?
You might be thinking, “What in the world does a smartphone have to do with pools?” and five years ago, you would’ve been right. But the fast-paced nature of the tech world has opened up possibilities where none existed before, and pools are one of those industries that are only just now hitting their stride with mobile technology.
Whether your patrons have Apple or Android devices, there are dozens of apps out there they can download for free or for a few bucks. Most of these apps offer similar basic functionalities: Swimmers can track their laps and overall times, calculate distance and pace, and share this information with friends. GoSwim, one of the most popular apps on the market today, lets users view instructional tutorials on new exercises and strokes. They can also stream live “Drill of the Week” videos from GoSwim.com
Not all of these apps are focused on swimmers themselves, though. Coaches can join in the fun as well. Swim Coach Plus allows coaches to capture high-quality videos of their students and then review the film in real-time or in slow motion. With instructional materials contained in the same app, coaches can do side-by-side comparisons of swimmers’ techniques with the textbook versions.
Why should you care?
Once swimmers get to your pool, they’ll probably put their phones away. But this doesn’t mean pool management can ignore the effect they might have on business.
For example, SwimRadar is an app that’s less focused on swimmers in the water than getting them there. Users can use the app to automatically locate nearby pools. It also includes ratings of the various facilities in the area, so if you’ve neglected mobile marketing for your pool, you may see your location with a low review that drives prospective swimmers elsewhere.
However, management can also use apps to turn their facilities into high-tech swimming pools. Meet Mobile is an app specifically designed for anybody in charge of a swim meet. Pool management can assume executive control of the app, which other users can log into as non-administrators. This allows you to record other swimmers’ times and release updates and information on later heats. You can even push results to the other users’ phones or to a remotely-connected display somewhere in your facility.
More apps are developed every day, so if you don’t find something on a smartphone that works for you, check back later. Your patrons are keeping one eye constantly trained on their mobile devices, and if you want to succeed with younger demographics that practically live off their phones, you just might have to as well.