Borrowing from a tongue-in-cheek comment by boat lovers who reflect on the joys and pains of their boat ownership, residential pool owners can sometimes be overheard saying that “the best two days of my life are when I installed my pool, and the day I will fill it in.” Especially in areas that are blessed with just a few hot summer months, home owners find that their swimming pools’ benefits are shrinking noticeably as soon as their kids are asking for the car keys rather than for help with their homework.
The allure of pools in hotel properties, however, faces no such limitations. Year after year, season after season, millions of Americans choose the destinations of vacations, weekend trips and reunions not only based on the things they can do outside of the hotel, but also based on the things they can do inside of their “home away from home,” including the availability and condition of a hotel pool. Not just vacationers, but also business travelers appreciate pools for the ability to relax or exercise in a swimming pool before or after a long day of meetings.
The access to large and fun swimming pools has for a long time been associated with leisure and business travel in the US. From Florida to California, and from Illinois to Texas: Since the travel boom of the 1950s, photos of hotels often included the property’s swimming pool. Even today, hotels and management companies prominently feature their swimming pools on websites and brochures. Rightfully so: Pools are a major consideration when picking destinations, and they leave a lasting impression on those who use them.
In 2014, Hotels.com surveyed the 10 most popular hotel amenities among travelers. Not surprisingly, along with continental breakfast and free WiFi, the swimming pool made the TOP 10 list, ranking higher than the bar and even air conditioning. And a 2016 study of luxury travel by Resonance Consulting found that the swimming pool ranks third in most desired amenities behind internet and privacy. Even on the popular hotel review site TripAdvisor.com, the word ‘pool’ is mentioned in over 40% of reviews, compared to
approximately 25% for ‘lobby,’ ‘kitchen,’ and ‘bed.’ The word ‘bathroom’ is next, at 20%. And ‘landscaping’ barely registers at 1%.
While the swimming pool ranks so high in relative importance to guests, renovation spending on swimming pools and decks seems to rank differently.
A widely quoted 2015 Trend Analysis Report of the NYU School of Professional Studies forecasted a total renovation spend of $6.4 Billion and lists internet access, lobbies, restaurants and fitness centers among the priorities. Swimming pools are not mentioned in the report. According to Warren Feldman, CEO of