Public venues were upended when COVID-19 hit in 2020. Commercial pools were no exception. The pandemic sent aquatic facility managers scrambling to find ways to maintain their shuttered pools and spas as well as those with limited use.
Fourteen months later things are looking up, but with different challenges ahead according to Westlake Water Treatment Products sales manager Randy Walton. “From the start of the pandemic, we organized a monthly ‘State-of-the-Business’ network call. This involved phone calls to our Accu-Tab system specialist network to keep close tabs on the commercial pool business climate,” he said. “Our goal was to understand what our specialists and end-use customers were experiencing so we could share timely information in the face of a downturn, and be prepared for the upswing when it began.
“Everything we are hearing now signals a vigorous rebound in 2021 as facilities continue to open. We expect a two-year growth path back to the 2019 highs, but most of that business will come back this year,” according to Walton.
In addition to Accu-Tab customer checks, the business conducted a focus group with a handful of aquatic facility managers to get even closer to the front line of activity.
What to Expect Next?
Not surprisingly, the biggest changes involve more stringent requirements around facility cleanliness. This has forced aquatic operators to increase cleaning, institute social-distancing practices and limiting occupancy to ensure guest safety and comfort in and around the pool. These new requirements come on top of operators’ responsibilities for monitoring and maintaining equipment and chemicals that keep the water in top condition.
Income that didn’t flow in from summer camp pool rentals, lessons and parties in 2020, coupled with an uncertain path forward last fall, put added strains on budgets making it difficult to add staff for the 2021 season.
Many new and retrofit aquatics projects were put on-hold in 2020. Fortunately, few appear to have been cancelled which should bode well over the next several years for commercial aquatics expansion.
Low Maintenance Matters
Budget constraints, added responsibilities and no additional manpower will put a
strain on many aquatics venues. This, in turn, will put a high-value on low-maintenance equipment and chemicals. The less time an operator needs to spend in the pump room calibrating and cleaning equipment or monitoring water balance and chlorine readings will mean more time devoted to new poolside requirements like sanitizing deck equipment, making sure chairs are six feet apart, keeping attendance within guidelines and more.
Planning ahead, aquatic operators should consider adding new and more efficient low maintenance products like Accu-Tab chlorination and Acid-Rite pH balancing systems, which typically require maintenance once a year and are sound steps to increase pump room efficiency and reliability. Not only do these systems provide dependable and proven methods for chlorination and water balance, but they are also demonstrated safer alternatives to liquid chlorine and muriatic acid.
To learn more about the benefits of the Accu-Tab and Acid-Rite systems contact an Accu-Tab specialist today.