Innovation and better management of your recreation facilities is achieved through the sharing of knowledge and information. Recreation and aquatic facility managers developed Yardstick for the industry as a benchmarking tool to collect, share and compare vital information to measure current performance and drive future improvements.

Yardstick provides tools to collect and compare both management and user information.

  • The Benchmarks questionnaire collects a wide range of information to identify centre usage, costs, revenue, staff resource and pay rates, service delivery and asset management best practice
  • The User survey identifies what is important to your facilities users and how well you are meeting their expectations


  • Identify, plan and improve your strategic goals and direction
  • Undertake financial performance reviews and cost estimating
  • Prepare feasibility studies using real, up to date figures from comparable facilities
  • Compare individual recreation facilities against each other
  • Lobby for additional resources
  • Review entry fees
  • Review staff pay rates and resourcing levels
  • Drive asset management implementation and improvements
  • Develop city wide recreation facilities strategies and levels of service
  • Inform service delivery reviews
  • Compare locally, nationally and internationally
  • Prioritise areas for improvement
  • A network of recreation centres and managers learning and improving from shared information and common experience.


  • Understand your customers based on accurate reliable and independent user research
  • Identify and report on customer satisfaction based on industry benchmarks to provide meaningful performance assessment
  • Prioritise centre improvements and program delivery
  • Two research options to capture the views of your facility visitors
    1. Intercept survey of facility users
    2. Online self completion survey
  • Record user expectations and satisfaction to measure any gaps in levels of service
  • Include your own specific questions to address specific issues

How it works


User Surveys

Key Benefits

  • info

    Provides information for business reviews

  • moneybag

    Assists with annual and long-term budgeting

  • heartuser

    Helps to set levels of customer service

  • bill

    Provides factual information that drives asset management planning

  • rulerpencil

    Helps set, monitor, and report on meaningful performance measures

  • chats

    Enables interaction with users

  • bank

    Is an unbiased independent assessment

  • activity

    Provides long term trend data

  • “Yardstick provides an independent best practice performance review of our four Council managed swim centres and has provided us an opportunity to prioritise and sequence key improvements that will facilitate a culture of continuous improvement for each centre.”

    — Brad Sutton, Lake McQuarie City Council, Australia

  • “The facilities benchmarks survey has assisted with longitudinal data on our facilities performance. Having a consistent set of data over many years lets us see the patterns that might otherwise get lost in the day to day.”

    — Aaron Philips, Palmerston North City Council, New Zealand

  • “We use the Yardstick information as a guide on how our Hutt City Pools are comparing with other similar aquatic facilities, individually and as a organisation. We have also used the data for comparisons when we are investigating major redevelopments of our aquatic network. We find it a very useful tool.”

    — Stephen Keatley, Hutt City Council, New Zealand

  • “We gain value from Facilities benchmarking by being able to compare our offering to other similar sized facilities, and seeing how others are addressing topical issues.”

    — Gordon Bailey, Central Otago District Council, New Zealand

  • “Yardstick allows us to benchmark our management and costs against similar sized Councils. This assists us to focus on areas of improvement and supports us in discussions with Council and community of service levels, expectations and costs.”

    — Erik van der Spek, Waitaki Disrict Council, New Zealand

  • “Yardstick Facility User Surveys allow us to get reliable information on pool performance from the average pool user. This gives us a well-grounded understanding of customer satisfaction that we use for levels of service reviews and programme development.”

    — Aaron Philips, Palmerston North City Council, New Zealand

  • “Yardstick results are used internally as a management tool and allows General Managers and the Chief Executive access to verified nationally comparable information.”

    — Ian Soper, Gore District Council, New Zealand

On-line Tools

Benchmarks online questionnaire

  • Secure questionnaire available online for self completion
  • Add access for unlimited number of additional staff and restrict access to specific facilities if required
  • Detailed guidelines defining how each question should be answered, available from pop-up window right in the survey
  • Display previous years answers and notes at the click of a button
  • On site review by Yardstick auditors to ensure accuracy of information provided and credibility in the reported results
  • Information collected identifies: Planning, asset management and operational best practice; centre usage, costs and revenue, user fees, staff pay rates and resource levels, facility information to calculate performance metrics and identify peer groups
  • Provides industry wide key performance indicators
  • Country specific section updated annually based on member feedback

Benchmarks online reporting

  • All results available online
  • Detailed menus to quickly find the information you need
  • Select your own peer group of similar centres for more accurate comparison
  • Compares specific recreation facilities against each other

Individual performance report

  • Provides a simple and quick overview of key results and performance
  • Key results provided in summary graphs
  • Includes peer group option to compare against similar facilities
  • Quick comparison of facilities performance within same organisation
  • Management performance assessed and scored against industry best practice
  • Printable format to share with others.

User survey online reporting

  • Group and individual results
  • Importance and satisfaction of individual service elements
  • Overall recreation facility satisfaction
  • Benchmark with other organisations to provide relevance and industry reference point to provide meaningful performance assessment.
  • User survey reports now available on-line

The Facilities Yardstick program is currently operating in New Zealand, Australia and Canada.