It’s well known that local government is already facing tough financial challenges, with Councils receiving dwindling funding from central government. Perceived ‘softer’ targets such as leisure services are often the first to be targeted, so councils really need to think creatively about how they can maximise their revenues.
And it was while I was pedaling furiously in a spinning class earlier that an opportunity occurred to me. I was spending a sunny evening in Darlington visiting on business, and had decided (as the sporty, and slightly nosey, person that I am) to attend the class at the local leisure centre just 10 minutes’ walk (if that) from my hotel.
I take my trainers everywhere, so a quick internet search revealed my options very easily. I could tell from the surprised reactions from the friendly leisure centre reception as I booked in that they clearly don’t get many visitors dropping by to use their facilities.
Granted, not everyone wants to do exercise, but as I looked at the rather bored people sat in my hotel bar, I couldn’t help thinking that there was an opportunity being missed here. Both for the hotel, which doesn’t have a gym or sports facilities, and the Council-run leisure centre just minutes away. Why don’t leisure centres in our local towns advertise their facilities to hotel guests? It’s a win-win situation, surely? The hotel is able to offer additional facilities to its guests, while the Council gets additional revenue from the visitor. And, of course, the visitor improves their health and wellbeing.