Plymouth, Minnesota
Not resolved

Beautiful pool complex, unbelievably horrible hygiene management. I am a regular lap swimmer. Very few members shower before using spas or pools. Street shoes are allowed, pretty much encouraged to be worn on the pool deck. Shortcut path to the locker room allows members wearing muddy boots to walk on the pool deck. Management regularly walks prospective members through the pool area with everyone wearing street shoes. Sweaty members walk from the toilet to the pool area without taking a shower! All this dirt ends up in the water and is very noticeable on the bottom of the pool.

I managed a very high end club pool in Chicago with celebrities and uber rich clients. I realize that it's not easy to enforce hygiene but I found out that a "culture" can be developed with a little effort that becomes somewhat self managed, and highly appreciated by patrons once you are over the implementation hump. Simple practices:

- Close the shortcut door that allows people to enter the locker rooms with street shoes. If a tour is necessary, have employee and guest wear disposable "booties" like a contractor would wear in your home. They will appreciate the cleanliness as they make the decision whether to join.

- Station a lifeguard or employee outside the locker room entrances and literally ask members that are "dry" if they mind returning and taking a shower. This has to be for EVERYONE - parents, kids, muscle men, celebrities, etc. Stress that LTF values hygiene. This sounds like it might be cost prohibitive. It's not. You can have a towel folding employee rotate into this role. Pool employees will actually have to do less cleaning of pool rings and floors. Also ask sauna users to shower (after sweating!) before entering spa. (Bonus, the regular violation of under 12 members in the spas can finally be policed!)

- The shower in the pool area is probably okay for rinsing off after a sauna but taking a shower with a swim suit on, is NOT hygienic. I'll refrain from explaining why...

- Summer outdoor pool. I realize this isn't easy. Some people likely don't even go in the water. Still, a cordoned off path in front of the bleachers and around the lap pool would be helpful. Then, encourage members to shower with signage. Summer mud isn't as bad as winter slush but the personal hygiene concerns remain.

- Supplement the efforts above with a quality communications plan. Signage, flyers and emails should be used to stress how LTF values hygienic use of their facilities for the safety of members! Simple flyers need to be posted in the locker rooms and pool area stressing that all pool users are required to take a nude, soapy shower.

Yes, initial months will take some effort. In my experience, after six months of existing members getting used to it and new members expecting this culture, you will see a huge change. Only the odd person will have to be reminded and I guarantee your cleaning effort will be dramatically reduced. You will be shocked how many members remind one another of the need to take a soapy shower.

Reason of review: Pool Hygiene.

Preferred solution: Enforce basic hygiene - showers and no street shoes on pool deck!.

Lifetime Fitness Pros: Facilities are beautiful, Staff is nice.

Lifetime Fitness Cons: Pool hygiene practices.

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