Resorts, Hotels, Cruise Lines Race To Become Pickleball Hosts
Pickleball's surge in popularity is inspiring the hospitality industry to accommodate players with new pickleball courts at hotels and motels, as well as resorts and cruise ships.
As hotels and resorts started getting more requests for pickleball facilities, they have started carving out space at their properties for the sport. Often they are built as an addition to more traditional sports facilities, such as tennis courts.
Tour companies have also started catering to picklers by organizing pickleball-focused trips to other countries, The Wall Street Journal reports. Resorts and hotels are creating amenities and events around the sport, such as lunch and wine to go with it, and cruise lines have added pickleball tournaments on board.
Pickleball requests by corporate groups have increased dramatically in recent years as well, Andrew Seidenberg, The Phoenician resort's head pickleball pro, told the WSJ. The Scottsdale, Arizona, resort has two pickleball courts and plans to add more.
More than 11,000 properties of all types around the country have certified as official pickleball venues, according to USA Pickleball.
The number of people playing grew by 85.7% in 2022, according to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association. Participation was up 158.6% over the last three years, the trade group reported.
The sport’s rise has been driven by three factors, Professional Pickleball Association CEO Connor Pardoe told Travel Weekly: Almost anyone can play pickleball, it is inexpensive and building a court isn't difficult or expensive, a fact that hospitality properties are keen to take advantage of.
Demand for pickleball facilities has also created an opportunity for retail owners to fill vacant anchor spaces with indoor courts as part of the retail industry's new focus on social experiences, such as virtual golf, breweries and indoor skydiving.