The great unwinding is here! According to an analysis published in August of 2023, the recreation industry’s global market size is projected to top $2 billion by 2027. Urban Air Adventure Park, Freedom Boat Club, X-Golf, and Board & Brush Creative Studio have all opened hundreds of franchises nationwide in recent years in response to the great urge to do something that has hit Americans.
This surge in recreational franchise investment won’t come as a surprise if you’ve been watching behaviors and trends. People are looking for ways to unwind, unplug, and stay active more than ever. That’s why this is such an exciting time to open a recreational franchise. However, successful recreational business ideas must align with the factors that motivate people to leave their houses to “play hard.” This article will cover exactly what those attributes look like in practice. Keep reading if you want to know why recreation is becoming such a serious business for millions of Americans.
Key Characteristics of a Thriving Recreational Franchise
Shredder Ski School isn’t a traditional recreational franchise because we provide indoor ski and snowboarding lessons for all ages instead of merely providing a space where people can do an activity. We’re excited to be part of the family entertainment and health market projected to reach $40 billion by 2025. However, our business plan dovetails tightly enough with traditional recreational business ideas to provide us with firsthand insight. As we’ve developed our own business model that caters to members looking for fun, fitness, and skill development, we’ve identified five key attributes that offer a promising business opportunity with low startup costs.
Attribute #1: Comprehensive Instruction Services
A great business idea can still fail if there’s a barrier to entry that customers feel strongly about. The average recreational franchise investment brand is expecting the customer to show up fully prepared. In reality, customers are often intimidated by the leisure activity being offered. A recreational franchise can’t just be a “place.” To succeed, a franchise must be an institution. This is why offering lessons and instruction for the promoted activity is essential!
Offering ski lessons is a great way to build an entirely new income stream. This strategy allows franchise owners to profit from the space they own or lease. Lessons also create great word-of-mouth marketing because people will likely ask your customers where they are taking classes. Finally, a recreational franchise investment idea that helps its customers build proficiency builds loyalty. Customers will always remember where they learned the skills needed to excel in a sport or activity!
Attribute #2: Private Events Opportunities
Most recreational centers are perfect event venues by default because of their open space and high capacity limits! It’s a shame when recreational business ideas don’t include plans for allowing club members or the public to host private parties and celebrations. Recreational franchise investments that don’t allow events are missing opportunities to bring in large revenue “lumps” every weekend. Opening up a space for birthday parties for kids is a classic way to introduce other parents to your business.
Attribute #3: Retail Store Convenience
Nobody needs gear like someone who just discovered a sport or hobby they love! The retail angle is vital to the success of all recreational business ideas because it’s one of the easiest revenue streams to nurture. An in-house shop allows members to pick up any gear they’ve forgotten, broken, or worn out without having to track down specialty retailers. New members may also be interested in getting fully outfitted with help from friendly in-shop experts after coming in to sign up.
Attribute #4: Hassle-Free Rental Services
Profitable outdoor business ideas should always consider the importance of providing rentals. Don’t assume that every member is going to go “all in” with purchasing gear. For some, the need to commit to gear when an activity is new is a deterrent. Here’s a look at the benefits of providing in-house rentals:
- People who are new to the sport or activity can get started without feeling like they’re making a big financial commitment.
- Members can pop in without bringing their own gear.
- Members can bring friends along for the day to let them try out the facility!
- Members who forget items at home can rent what they need for the day.
It’s important to remember that you’re not looking at an either/or situation with retail versus rentals. Smart recreational business ideas include both. After renting gear for the day, a first-time guest might feel inspired to pick up their own gear in anticipation of the next visit.
Attribute #5: Open Recreation Hours
There’s no denying that recreational business ideas that focus on providing lessons offer the biggest revenue potential. However, that doesn’t mean that a recreational franchise should stick to a lessons-only model. Offering open “gym” hours is a great way to keep customers engaged and committed. Open recreation hours give customers who are enrolled in lessons time to practice and refine their skills.
This unstructured time can be especially important for franchises catering to kids because parents are often looking for ways to keep kids engaged on weekends, during summer, or after school. Franchises focusing heavily on recreation for kids or families can even consider bringing in additional revenue through daytime camps or special programs.
Shredder Ski School’s All-Inclusive Recreational Business Experience
While Shredder Ski School is widely known as the nation’s leading franchise for indoor ski and snowboarding lessons for all ages, our business is five recreational business ideas in one. Shredder combines lessons, retail, rentals, birthday parties/events, and open play to give families so many reasons to unwind with us!
As a result, we’re the name to know for taking those first “baby steps” onto the slopes in a safe, monitored indoor environment. Many recreational franchise investment options only focus on tapping into the big trend of the moment. The problem with that is that trends come and go. That’s why many popular recreational franchise investments fail to attract customers and fizzle out once a new trend moves in.
At Shredder Ski School, we offer a state-of-the-art, kid-friendly indoor space where families can continue the tradition of enjoying timeless winter sports! Since 2012, Shredder has been a trusted and recognized brand name! Our year-round indoor business model with multiple revenue streams insulates franchise owners against fads and seasonal lulls.